Why businesses need to deliver on their promises

Davina Bamber
Davina Bamber
November 13th 2019 - 4 Minute Read

It sounds simple doesn’t it?  If you say you’re going to do something then do it.  But I’m sure you can all fairly quickly recall a situation when this didn’t happen.  And how did you feel? Disappointed? Angry? Let down? Annoyed? Inconvenienced? All of these and more I’m betting.  And nobody really wants to make someone feel like that or feel like it themselves.


Before setting up my business, in my eighteen years of employment I spent the majority of it in customer facing roles.  As a young sixteen year old I quickly realised that the customer was king! Fast forward to my ten years at Volkswagen and my world revolved around the customer – “an excellent customer experience every time with nothing left to chance”.  It was something that sometimes proved to be a challenge but always proved to be rewarding.  


It’s fairly obvious the impact on your customer’s happiness if you don’t deliver on what you’ve said you’re going to.  But have you taken this further and thought about the impact this will have on your workplace culture and employee happiness


Let’s look at workplace culture first.  Workplace culture is the character and personality of your organisation and part of this is made up by the behaviours and attitudes of the people in it.  So if you promise on something and fail to deliver, your culture is one of “maybe they will and maybe they won’t” right? Do you want a workplace culture that is known for “sometimes delivering”?  Do you want it to become the norm that you sometimes underachieve? I doubt it.

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And what about your employees?  If your business has a lackadaisical approach to promises how do you think that will impact your employees?  I’m very fortunate that in my career I have worked with professional companies who kept their word and made me feel valued as an employee.  However, very early in my career I worked for a large high street company who consistently went back on their word, changed the goalposts and promised the earth but delivered little.  How did this make me feel? It made me question my worth in the company, I distrusted what I was told and when I was given targets I had little motivation to push for them as I knew the goalposts would be moved once I achieved the target.  And what was the consequence of this? I left the company, and three years later the company ceased trading.


Now we’ve looked at workplace culture and employee happiness, let’s think about what impact these two aspects have on your customer’s happinessHow often have you been to a company where it’s obvious the staff are not happy and will occasionally be transparent enough to hint towards that fact?  This can have a direct impact on your bottom line because if your staff aren’t engaged then in return your customers won’t buy in to your brand and will probably go elsewhere.  How many times has an energised employee persuaded you to part with your money when you probably could have got it cheaper elsewhere but you bought from them because of the outstanding customer service?  This is what many customers subconsciously buy into and will be more likely to return again whilst also recommending your company to their friends.


So what happens if you fail to do what you say? How does this impact your customers, your workplace culture and your employees?

  • Distrust is built and reliability is questioned.  Do you trust people who don’t keep their word? If someone lets you down can you rely on them?
  • Respect is quickly lost.  If someone gives you their word and it doesn’t mean anything to them, respect decreases.  Only say yes when you mean yes.  
  • One bad experience and you’re likely to lose a customer for life.


And how do you feel if you’re the one to let someone down?  For me, my word is something that I don’t take lightly. It’s a matter of integrity and I would not feel good about myself if I did not keep my word.  If I were to let someone down I would be letting myself down.

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So how do I always do what I say I’m going to do?

  • Manage expectations realistically.  It is pointless to promise on an unachievable request.  A customer may be disappointed to hear that their need is not attainable at that time but they will be even more disappointed if you promise and then fail to deliver.
  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish.  There is only so much that can be done in a day!  Do not over promise on time scales, you will get more respect by being honest about your schedule.
  • If you have committed to something and find, due to reasons beyond your control, that you can’t fulfil your original promise, the key is immediate communication.  All of the best companies out there have problems and things that go wrong, it’s how they handle those problems that keep the staff engaged and keep the customers coming back.
  • Sometimes it’s ok to say no.  Do not take on too much if it’s going to impact on all of your projects.  And say no if it’s work outside of your comfort zone. Rather than just a no though, try and suggest an alternative to show that you are still willing to take your time to help.


So don’t let people down, do what you say you’re going to do.  And if you don’t have the time or resource to do what you said you were going to do, well, you now know a woman who can!


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Davina Bamber

I enjoy working on a wide range of projects enabling individuals and businesses to have an easy and reliable way to relieve pressure on their workload.

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