Are You Giving Your Customers Tricks or Treats?


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With a birthday the week of Halloween, you can believe that I have lots of memories of Tricks and Treats over the years… (we won’t mention how many years… that would be too SCARY!!)

So what are YOU giving customers these days? Tricks or Treats?!? What in the world do I mean? Well, it would seem that a very simple way to distance yourself from competitors would be to do what you promised. Whether you are talking about shareholder returns or returned phone calls, doing what is promised is a simple yet rare commodity in today’s business world. The old axiom under promise and OVER deliver can be your success strategy.

Let’s look at a few examples at various levels of the organization!


The phone rings at 9:00 a.m. A customer has a question about a statement he just received in the mail. The customer service representative knows it will take a few minutes to check with the billing department and tells the customer that he will call him ‘right back’.

What is YOUR definition of ‘right back’? The answer to that question probably depends a lot on your individual personality. If you are a relaxed and calm person, you might allow 10 – 15 minutes. If you are a Type A, like me, that phone better be ringing in the next two minutes!

Think about what happens after the promise to call the customer ‘right back’ is made. Does the world stop turning? Absolutely not! It is likely that the phone rings with more callers demanding service and co-workers and supervisors who need your help – RIGHT NOW! All of a sudden, the service rep looks up at the clock which now reads 9:50. His face suddenly resembles that of a ghost on Halloween as he lets out a ghoulish sound. ‘Oh my gosh…I haven’t called Mr. Smith back yet!’ No matter what solution is offered in response to Mr. Smith’s problem or question, he is not a happy camper. He has waited almost an hour to be called ‘right back’.

Think of how different the reaction had the service rep offered, ‘Mr. Smith, may I call you back by about 11:00 today?’ Now when the phone rings at 9:30, the customer looks up at the clock and thinks, ‘they called me back early!’


You tell your staff that you should have new computers by January 1st. Feb 1st rolls around and still no computers. Talk around the water cooler is that hell may freeze over before the new computers are installed. You hear one employee comment to the other that this should be no surprise, as the promised raises haven’t happened either!

Why over promise and under deliver when you can under promise and OVER DELIVER with such positive results? Think about how the practice of under promising and over delivering can have major impact in your organization. Make it the topic of the next staff meeting or customer service briefing. It will be a real TREAT for customers and employees alike!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Teresa Allen
Teresa Allen is a nationally recognized customer service speaker and customer service author. Allen is owner of Common Sense Solutions, a national training and consulting firm focused on bringing common sense to business and life. Allen is author of Common Sense Service: Close Encounters on the Front Lines and is co-author of The Service Path: Your Roadmap for Building Strong Customer Loyalty.


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