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Can spoiling your new customers actually damage your business? Part 1

Image Quote Giving your allWhen we checked in to our expensive hotel in Cornwall last winter, we were delighted to receive a complimentary upgrade to a superb room with by far the best sea view in the building.

It reminded me of a time on a cross-Atlantic flight, when I was upgraded to first class — my first experience of a sleeper bed and champagne on tap. A Hollywood diva might not have received a more attentive service!

At a one-off event such as a flight, you might just count yourself lucky rather than expecting even more. But receiving a luxury service more than once, that you haven’t paid for, is an altogether different story. Once you’re starting to get used to luxury, managing your expectations may not be so easy.

For example, at the end of our above-mentioned holiday in Cornwall, we decided to stay on because of a storm that was causing widespread flooding and travel disruption. We would have happily paid more for the room we had been upgraded to, but all the nice rooms were fully booked. And so, rather reluctantly, we accepted a pokey, noisy room with no view — supposedly at the rate we had originally booked. It now felt like such a let-down!

Too much (spoiling) doesn’t work!

Have you ever felt tempted to offer more of your time than your (new) customer was expecting or paying for? Perhaps it felt like a welcomed gesture of goodwill?

It did to me, especially in the early days of my coaching business. I didn’t know then what made a new customers happy and also, at which point they were quite satisfied with the outcomes we had achieved.

It may sound a little strange but as not all the results in my line of work are tangible and measurable, I often didn’t dare ask in an attempt to tone down my German directness (as opposed to feeling afraid of the answer).

But when it comes to over-delivering, fear can impact women quite a lot whether it shows itself as a lack confidence in our own expertise, a desire to please or not feeling quite good enough.

To add to my ignorance, I even thought that as my first customers had been appreciating my over-delivery, I had identified a useful unique selling point. Oh dear.

But luckily (and in my defence) I quickly learned these three important lessons:

  1. Whilst my clients were always delighted with our work, my over-delivery was blurring my boundaries which only caused confusion.
  2. This confusion then prevented the word-of-mouth publicity I needed to grow my business.
  3. And most importantly: over-delivering made me undervalue myself and my expertise which was definitely not the right way to exceed customer expectations!

Why over-delivering may lose you customers

Whatever your deeper reasons for wanting to give customers more of your time, once you have provided a luxury level of service with lots of added value, it’s not easy to bring it down again to a ‘normal’  level. Yet this is something you may have to do when you suddenly get busy and have fewer hours in the day.

Then you simply can’t sustain the level of service your customers have become accustomed to. And to make matters worse, suddenly you might find yourself resenting their high expectations of you, when you’ve simply got to accept the fact that you can’t deliver for the same price in a shorter time frame, or at a lower price point.

Trying to do it anyway is too risky unless you want your customers to end up feeling short-changed and unhappy!

I hope I have been able to convince you that this is not always the best way forward? And if you agree with me, you may wish to come back for part 2 of this article. I will be offering you six tips to help you manage new customers’ expectations and keep them happy… without the slightest need for over-delivery!

About Ute Wieczorek-King: 

Ute is a UK-based German business mentor who inspires passionate midlife women to achieve business success by simplifying and staying focused on what really matters. If you’d like to take your small venture from good to great, why not  download Ute’s free “Passion to Profit ebook or read her motivational business tips on Facebook

Ute