In the past few weeks, I’ve received several emails saying something like this:

“I need to cancel our meeting today – we’re eight staff short due to COVID and things are chaotic here.”

It’s everywhere. Domestic airlines cutting capacity by a third, hospitality owners unable to open their doors or operate at full capacity at the busiest time of year, empty shelves as supply-chain issues worsen, phones going unanswered in call centres… Everywhere you look, businesses are begging for forgiveness in advance due to staff shortages.

This is a time to tell the truth. When it’s all said and done, in any business, you’re in the game of keeping promises. So, when you tell a customer that you’ll call them back later that day, do you? If you’re unable to, due to staff shortages or high customer demand, then you need to re-evaluate what you’ promise and perhaps promise less. Remember the old saying; under promise and over deliver!

In service, you’re under scrutiny, and honouring your promises (no matter how small) can earn you an enviable reputation for being reliable and trustworthy. Don’t be a promise-breaker! The easiest way to deepen relationships is to do what you said you would.

“Be Honest. Be open. Make your customers feel special by trusting them with the truth”

— Jaquie Scammell

Question

What would happen if you re-evaluated your promises to customers right now, to temporarily suit the reality of service levels?

Practice

For the next twenty-four hours, pay close attention to the promises you make….and consider whether they need to change?

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