Keeping Promises Strengthens Your Differentiation

Bob Schultek

Bob Schultek

The ever evolving technology that we rely upon every day seduces us with its productivity benefits.  To respond with urgency and compete effectively, we need to leverage the technology available to us.  On the other hand, technology’s seductive influence accelerates commoditization, challenging us to continuously strengthen our differentiation and consistently act in accordance with our unique offering.

Your unique offering is actually a promise to leverage your competitive advantage to produce strategic value for your customers’ business:

“When you entrust your business to us, we commit to deliver this for you.”

Fulfilling your promise demonstrates your commitment to your customer, creating a compelling differentiation that encourages your customer to continue relying on your relationship.

No operation is perfect; even the most committed organization make mistakes.  However, a broken promise provides an opportunity to prove your commitment and further strengthen your uniqueness.  Promptly accept responsibility, specify a corrective action, and over communicate with the customer until your promise is fulfilled.  A key customer once told me, “You guys became my sole supplier the day you missed that critical shipment but acted with urgency to make it right for me.”

What makes your promise unique is that it provides distinctive quantifiable AND emotional benefits for your customers.  The emotional advantage that each customer gains from engaging with your business is itself exclusive.  When you connect with customers in a personal, memorable way, each customer experiences this differently.  They interpret your actions through the prism of their own past experiences and they retain the memory of their experience with you long after the specific action that created the experience has faded.  The strongest emotional bonds occur when your customers realize that you are continuously committing your unique offering and your organization, to achieve their goals.

This demonstration of commitment to customers – to fulfilling your unique promise to them – produces benefits within your organization too.  If your personnel are passionate about your business, then pairing commitment with passion replenishes the energy needed to steadily strengthen your competencies and distinctiveness. While passion can preserve focus and keep the heart fires burning, it is commitment that sustains passion over time, enabling you to grow by consistently delivering your unique Promise.

How do you ensure that everyone who interacts with your customers understands your unique promise and how to make that promise real for  every customer every day?

 How do your personnel act when a promise is broken?