Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Under Promise, Over Deliver

You’ve probably heard this many times: Under promise, over deliver. This is one of the mantras sold to companies to improve customer satisfaction. This is the service strategy to wow your customers. But I’ll tell you, it doesn’t always work, and sometimes it does get annoying. Why not just deliver as promised? This would be good enough for me.

You might have read about my car accident last week. I sent in my car on 23 April, and Borneo Motors estimated my car would be ready by today (29 April). It seems like quite long to repair very little damage. But the staff explained there were quite a number of things to be done (including the administrative procedures with insurer). Ok fine, I have a courtesy car, isn’t too much of an inconvenience. So I planned my activities and schedules through the weekend on the assumption I would be driving the (admittedly not as nice) courtesy car. I had to update car park management people, so that the season pass would be transferred to the courtesy car. (Nowadays, with ERP-like gantries for car park, you can’t cheat by simply transferring the decal.)

Then, on 25 April, Borneo Motors called to inform me my car was ready for collection. Two days after sending in, 4 days ahead of expected completion. Under promise, over deliver. I should be elated. But, ahem, it upset my schedule, I had to pick up the car, transfer all the barang barang, update car park management people again, etc. Yes, I was still happy to get my car back earlier, but not so much for the hassle of having to swap cars at short notice. Perhaps it would have been better if Borneo Motors could have given advance notice that they were expecting the repair to be completed sooner than originally advised? Then, of course, it prompted me to wonder why, if the repair could be completed so quickly, was I given such a long time estimate?

Debbie Jenkins¬†shares the same thoughts with me. The next time if I visit Borneo Motors (touch wood), and if they tell me a repair (touch more wood) will take 6 days, I’m probably going to complain about why it takes so long.

Then, I chanced upon another under promise, over deliver, experience again over the week end. I ordered a new MacBook from the Apple Store. That was a Saturday. I don’t expect them to work on Saturdays. So when I was presented an estimated schedule to ship the product on 28 or 29 April, with delivery by 30 April, I was sufficiently satisfied. Fast enough. Besides, I wasn’t free on 28 April to receive delivery.

Well guess what? Apple Store shipped the product on 28 April, and the courier was actually ready to deliver on 28 April. The problem is, I wasn’t in (at the delivery address). So I had to ask the delivery rescheduled. Not a big hassle, no doubt. I must say the Apple customer service staff are very pleasant, very pleasantly different in style from others I’ve experienced.

I’m not quite complaining of course, but just wanted to say that I would have been perfectly happy with delivery as promised.

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