If You Can’t Honor Your Word, Don’t Make A Commitment

Some people take so many things for granted when it comes to business. First of all,  if any one decided to do business with you, its because they have built some level of trust, confidence and to some extent relationship with you. Honoring your word is a key test of a person’s reputation or commitment.

When you say yes, it means you have verbally accepted a proposal to honor your word with the delivery of a service or product. It’s important that before you say yes, you think through the request hard and long so that you don’t end up messing up your hard earned reputation.

Scenario 1:

David, a young man in the print industry is an example I would like to to share today. Our first meet up was via the computer. I had googled print companies in Ghana and chanced by his company  www.customandprint.com

I thought that his concept was interesting and for a minute didn’t think that it was a company in Ghana as people around here are still getting used to doing things online. But his business model was awesome, I loved it  because it offered convenience and no time wasting and so I tried my first order.

David personally delivered my first t-shirts when the courier company failed to pick up my order from his office. Showing up at my residence and he had worn my trust. He said he would deliver and he had honored his word. David assured me that if I had any challenge with the order, he would personally pick it up and replace it at no charge to me. Well, a few days later, I noticed a challenge, gave him a call, showed him the evidence and in no time, he drove personally to pick up the product for a replacement like he said he would.

What this had done for me as a client is strengthen my trust for him and his company and increased his reputation as a service provider. It has harnessed our relationship and its what will make me a loyal customer.

Scenario 2

Jeremy and I have known  each other for some years, although not perfect, had delivered on most occasions until now. Complacency is something that we have to be mindful of if we are running a business. We must be even more mindful when our customer base increases. This is a good reason to be more creative and find new ways of delivering on our word. Many customers means, you have to stop thinking as a sole proprietor and seek partnerships or joint venture else, you end up taking on too much and destroying your hard earned reputation.

Jeremy is overwhelmed, he has taken on too much that he can handle and this is affecting his delivery. He has began making excuses.

Excuses, can be a way of  reducing our reputation. Customers like people that always find a way to solve a challenge instead of giving reasons why something can’t be done or having a narrow approach to solving a challenge.

I had given Jeremy an opportunity to earn, he had said yes, began the delivery process but jumped ship when he hit a road block. Instead of looking at how to deal with this challenge, he decided to find the easy way out without thinking of the long term effects.

Sometimes we all do this, we allow our emotions to have  the best part of us  especially while engaged in the delivery process as service providers. What happened to the customer is right all the time? Whilst some people would argue this, I think that the statement helps service provider to always give off their best. So let’s just say that you as a service provider is right and the customer is wrong.

How do you communicate this information in a way that is a win win. I have observed that hearing the customers complaints or challenge is a way of improving our own skill sets and strengthening our brand. If a customer makes an observation, its because its a challenge.

So after agreeing on delivering the service and only honoring his word for a few days instead of what was intended, Jeremy refuses to answer his phone or return my calls after several attempts. I got very frustrated, angry and disappointed for this kind of treatment. I felt that he had disrespected me. Instead of going on to fix the challenge, he was very adamant and kept on defending his own position and why he did what he did.

Who amongst these two would you continue to do business with?