Brand Image

Does your brand image create a promise to customers, that you consistently deliver on?
A.   Brand image is not something we have considered.
B.   Our brand image is a promise … that we don’t deliver on.
C.   Our brand image creates expectations … but the customer experience is left to chance.
D.   Our brand image creates a promise to customers, that we consistently deliver on, always supported by ‘reasons-to-believe’.
E.   Our brand image creates a promise to customers, that we deliver on, pretty much most of the time.
    [A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3 & E=4]
a
Why is this question important?

“Losers make promises they often break. Winners make commitments they always keep”
Denis Waitley

“Your life works to the degree you keep your agreements”
Werner Erhard

“If you believe in unlimited quality and act in all your business dealings with total integrity, the rest will take care of itself”
Frank Perdue

“The person who is slowest in making a promise is most faithful in its performance”
Jean Jacques Rousseau

The extent to which your brand meets the expectation of your customers, will define the true value by which your brand is measured.

Promises actually matter to most consumers. If you don’t deliver what you promise to existing customers and potential customers, it won’t be long until you lose their custom.

This is true of every service, every product.

Promises

Implied promises, though often unnoticed or taken for granted, can be every bit as powerful as expressed promises. When the end result comes up short of the advertised or implied promise, don’t you think customers will get wise to this, and maybe even feel deceived, cheated, cynical?

So ask yourself if there is some part of your branding, marketing or visual messaging that over-promises and under-delivers? Is this ultimately not undermining your efforts to ‘build the brand’?

The importance of keeping your promises in business.

It’s important to provide your customers with a satisfactory service from the beginning. Things like showing up on time for a meeting can help create a favourable impression on the customer, whereas showing up late to a meeting may lead to distrust from the outset.

Knowledge of the job in question also helps builds confidence with the customer. When a customer is looking to be reassured about their confidence in your business it is important to be honest and transparent, rather than providing a fancy spiel that leaves the customer more confused than they were at the start.

Knowing the processes for the job or service provided, so a suitable timeframe can be offered for completion will help towards customer reassurance. Customers like to know what is going on; they do not take kindly to being fobbed off or given a load of excuses, or being left stranded or abandoned in the middle of the process.

Of course there will be situation when things don’t go according to plan and the best policy is to be upfront and come clean. Explain to your customers what the problem is, and what you plan on doing about it, or the processes you have put in place to rectify the situation. Ignoring the customer or not informing them of such developments will undermine their trust in you and your business, leading to resentment and bad referrals.

It is a shame that so many businesses have these problems. It is a result of lack of planning, working out adequate processes, creating suitable schedules and having an appropriate customer communication strategy in place.

How to avoid broken promises.

Every single day in the business world, promises are made to customer, some explicit and others implied, but each of these equally affects the success of failure of your business.  A history of keeping promises generates customer confidence and loyalty. A history of broken promises will undermine your reputation.

Over-commitment is an easy trap to fall into. It’s important to develop the habit of taking time to consider your workload before you make any promises to meet new obligations.

Sometimes customers will pressure a business to agree to a deadline that simply is not feasible, at least not without dropping other previous commitments. It’s important to be able to say “no” in these situations. It’s imperative not to commit to a promise that cannot be kept. It may be worth asking, “Am I making this promise based on the fact that I know I can deliver, or am I simply trying to secure the business?”

It is more efficient to retain customers than gain new ones. A dissatisfied and angry customer telling their colleagues of the sub-standard service they received can have serious negative effects on a business.

Good organisation and administrative habits usually lead to keeping commitments. If a sloppy system or poor habits are causing you to break your commitments , resolve to improve your processes -  and then follow through.