If you made a resolution by the dawn of January 1’s early light, it was likely a self-improvement promise. To walk another mile a day, or hit the gym twice a week. To cut the caffeine, learn to love green tea, and bypass the fast food. These promises to ourselves usually come after some overindulging prompts us to start a new, healthy habit. If we’re vigilant, we’ll carry through for at least a few weeks. If we’re really determined, we’ll turn a resolution into a regimen.
Did you make any similar promises in business? Even the most successful among us—you know who you are, lucky you!—can always improve the bottom line. The simplest way is communication. Customers love to know you’re not only listening to what they say but looking at what you can do about it. The promise by auto-email to ‘get back to you within 48 hours’ is standard communication-speak for most companies now. Customers who are really frustrated will continue to simmer for those 48 hours, and be ready to unload anew when they finally hear from you.
But what if you ditch the standard pitch? Instead of the random blanket promise to “get back to you,” freshen up the wording, and the emotion behind it. Promise to examine their concerns, address their individual ideas. Remember on the show “Frasier” when Kelsey Grammar’s character would sincerely say “I’m listening” to his radio callers—while doing something else? Not multi-tasking, just Frasier-tasking. Good for sit-com laughs but not for business.
If you promise customers a new level of attention, not just to the details in your day-to-day dealings, but in their concerns and suggestions, you’ll open a dialogue that adds weight to your promises. And if you’re honest about what you’re promising—that a concern will be addressed and there will be follow-up, no matter the outcome—the customer will be inclined to make his or her own promise to you. The promise of continued business.