I recently had 2 experiences, one good and one bad, which highlight a very important customer satisfaction technique – Under Promise and Over Deliver.

The Bad Story:

I made an online purchase based on a sales page that described what I would be getting. The delivery was done on line, so I received the materials I ordered immediately.

After unzipping the files, I realized that some of the elements that advertised were missing. I assumed I had a delivery problem (the package of materials I received online was missing something). So I wrote the help desk. Soon after I received a reply that there was no error in the  packaging and what I was expecting was not in the package I was sent.

I promptly wrote back pointing out that the advertising for what I purchased clearly described these components.

The answer I received to this complaint was ‘Thank you for your feedback”.

It was a small purchase. The rest of the materials were excellent yet the interaction with support made me feel like I had been cheated. I felt lied to. I asked for and got my money back! I will never buy from that vendor again! It wasn’t even the size of the sale because it was small. It was the attitude of the vendor that just didn’t care. This vendor should have taken some action.. either change the sales letter to remove the promise for the components that were missing  or provided the  full package of products as  promised.

The Good Story:

I am having some home renovations done. Most people have horror stories with contractors that don`t show up when expected or don’t return calls. I have had the reverse situation. The contractor spent time up front discussing what would be done and the sequence of events. On the first day, which is the most stressful, he had a team of people arrive at specific times and leave before the next wave  of skilled workers showed up. The work scheduled for that day was completed in less time than expected , a few extras were included at no charge and and the premises were cleaned up before the contractor left.

Was I satisfied?  You bet. Would I do business with this contractor again? Yes I would and I would recommend him to everyone who asks about my renovation.


To achieve high levels of customer satisfaction, it is far better to set appropriate expectations, even set expectations lower than your ability to deliver and then over achieve. When you deliver better service or a bonus your customer is not expecting, you created a ‘delighted’ customer who will return for more business or recommend you to their friends.


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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