How “Under-Promise And Over-Deliver” Hurts Your Business

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There’s a saying I hear from managed service providers a lot when it comes to their services – if you’ve been in the service business for any length of time, chances are great that you’ve heard it too (you’ve probably been taught to do it.)

The saying, taken from Thomas Peters’ Formula For Success is “Under-Promise and Over-Deliver” and it was originally intended to instruct people to stop making promises they can’t keep, and to over-deliver on the ones they made.

That’s sound advice, but over time the meaning seems to have changed, and the phrase “Under-Promise and Over-Deliver” now seems to mean that you get the customer to set their expectation bar a little lower by not promising your “best” service, and you impress them by beating their expectations – you give them better service than they were expecting.

I’ve seen it with service contracts, estimated project times, quote turnaround times – you name it.

The thought is that your customer will be so impressed with your service that she will rave about you, and business will come in because of it.

You may think this sounds good, but in the long run it actually hurts your business.

In this post I talk about why.

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