Every company has basic promises they make to their customers.
These aren’t measures of extraordinary delight. They aren’t the stuff of legend. A basic promise won’t garner your company a viral YouTube video or a million Facebook likes.
Here are some examples:
- Your hotel room should always be clean when you arrive.
- Your new computer should work right out of the box.
- The cable repair technician should arrive on time.
Failure to deliver on a basic promise leaves customers bewildered. How could a company fail on something it’s supposed to do each and every time?
There are a few reasons.
One explanation is its acceptable to companies. If a basic promise is kept 9 out of 10 times, will fixing that last problem be economically viable? A lot of corporate executives don’t think so, so they don’t commit the resources to fixing it.
Another explanation is a lack of accountability. If something is broken, and nobody does anything to fix it, it will probably stay broken. The laws of inertia work in customer service too.
A leadership disconnect is another culprit. Leaders think things are peachy. Frontline employees know they aren’t. The two don’t talk.
Many companies break their basic promises as a matter of routine. It shouldn’t be that way.
Forget innovation. Forget new technology. Forget that cool new marketing campaign. Forget it all until you can get the basics right 99.9 percent of the time. (And then, feel really, really bad about that .1 percent and work like hell to fix it.)
A basic promise is just that. Basic. If you can’t get the basics right, what business are you really in?