November 2010

Shannon Wells

Better Business | by Neil Ducoff


Keep Your Promise to Customers

These days, terms like brand promise, exceeding customer expectations and the customer is always right are so overused that their message is barely audible above the daily activities at your business.

Of course, you and the rest of your team know how essential it is to deliver amazing customer experiences all day, every day.

In fact, strategically placed at the core of your business plan is a promise you’ve made to your customer. That promise is something special and unique that only your business can deliver. That promise says your business is committed to delivering an extreme value with extraordinary consistency. It doesn’t really matter what your price point is or what segment of the market you cater to, it only matters that you deliver on your promise to the customer to be your best.

The question I pose to you is simple. Is your business keeping its promise to your customers? It’s a simple yes or no answer. Most of the time, is not an acceptable answer because it’s a compromise to your promise. Actually, the reality at your business may be that some people believe in and deliver on the promise, but the rest of your team delivers something less. That’s breaking your promise. That’s compromise.

Here are strategies to help you keep your promise to the customer:

• You Need to Commit First. If your business has compromised on its promise, as the leader you watched it happen. It will take a major initiative and a lot of pushing to get your entire team up to speed. You must be resolute.

• Define Your Promise. Define every aspect of your promise. What does it look like, feel like and sound like from a customer perspective?

• Skill Certify EVERYONE: Build skill certification training modules that address phone skills, greetings, consultations, client interaction, service closing procedures, client assistance procedures, problem solving, closure and any other procedures used in your business. Whatever the skill or process, certify everyone on how to do it all perfectly.

• Across the Board Accountability. It is imperative that leadership implements a no-compromise strategy in this area. If you break your promise to your customers, you’ve compromised your integrity as a reputable business.

All too often, customers are at the receiving end of indifference and apathy. Sadly, too many customers expect inconsistent services and broken promises. The best business managers invest the time and energy to master the disciplines of customer service and respect. By doing so, the no-compromise winners stand out like shining stars in a sea of mediocrity. Can you deliver on your promise?

Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching salon specializing in the salon and spa industry. Ducoff is the author of Fast Forward, and his new book, No-Compromise Leadership, is available at For a signed copy, go to You can email Neil at