Do you pride yourself on delivering exactly what your customers pay for?
Or are you one of those people that really likes to go the extra mile? Do you pride yourself instead on delivering something more than the customer is paying for?
Do you believe that over-delivering, or over-servicing as we might call it, is a good business strategy? Because I know that lots of people growing a business believe that if you constantly deliver something that little bit more than the customer expects, then that will really satisfy them.
They might shout about you, they might buy more from you, they might stick around for longer.
There’s no end of evidence that retaining customers longer is one of the big secrets to profitable business. So, over-delivering can seem like a very sensible strategy. But I’m going to be a little controversial today, and give you three reasons why over-delivering might actually be damaging your business.
1) You’re damaging the relationship with your customer
The first reason is that by over-delivering regularly, you may actually damage the relationship with the customer.
If you want a relationship with a customer that’s a true partnership, where they respect you, they appreciate you, and they value you; then it’s important that they see you as being on the same level as them.
But what can happen if you constantly over-deliver, is that you tip that balance and shift things so that the customer essentially becomes more important in the relationship than you are.
Inadvertently, you create the scenario whereby the customer holds more of the power, and you’ve somehow become slightly subservient. So your relationship becomes more of an old fashioned customer and supplier relationship, rather than a genuine partnership; which is what you’re most likely to be striving for.
You almost have to view these relationships as being like a parent and child. And it’s you as the supplier who is actually the parent.
You’re the person delivering the service, and therefore, you’re the person with the power to say, “This is where the boundary is. Yes, this is what you have paid for,” or more importantly, “No, this is more than you have paid for.”
You might choose to say, “Yes, I’ll do it on this occasion, but next time I would have to charge you.” It’s through taking that slightly more parental role that you can maintain that real relationship of a partnership.
2) You’re overwhelming them
The second reason, and one that many people miss this, is that by over-delivering, you run the risk of over-facing or overwhelming your customers.
I know that this is something that I used to do a lot when I first set up my business. I felt like I had to constantly prove my value and would think “the customer must leave feeling that they’ve got value from every single coaching session.”
So I would be constantly striving to find them three, four, or even five things that they would be going away with as their commitments. Because that way I would have given them very clear value.
But the reality was that often they were snowed under already, and they would have been over the moon to find one decent thing to work on.
My own insecurity as a new coach meant that I was more focused on me proving my value, than on really understanding what value looked like to the customer.
So be wary that you’re not over-delivering and overwhelming your customer. Its far more common than you think!
3) You’re damaging your own business
The third reason, and probably the most crucial of all, is that by regularly and consistently over-delivering, there’s a very solid chance that you’re damaging your own business. You may well be turning what should be profitable work into an enormous time stealer.
If you’re giving away far too much time to your customer so that you leave yourself short of time, the things that you are likely to trim and cut back are the times that you should be spending working on your own business and working on things like your marketing and your own plans for growth.
So those are the three reasons why over-delivering could really be a negative thing to do, and a bad business strategy, rather than a positive business strategy. Beware about damaging the relationship with the customer, be wary of over-facing them, and be careful that you aren’t damaging your own business in the process.
If this resonates with you then I would love to hear your comments in the section below or please send me any questions you have by email. And if there’s somebody else out there who you know massively goes over the top with their service, and they’re constantly over-delivering, then please share this with them, and hopefully we can help them too.