From one of the best business minds ever … Tom Peters. I’m a huge fan of Tom Peters but I never have followed this advice. Not because I don’t trust or admire his judgement – but because I’m bored by the notion of “underpromising”.
The “Underpromise and overdeliver” principle suggests it’s better not to promise something to your customer that you cannot keep than to under promise and to surprise your customer with good service.
I’ll admit, I’m torn on this advice but I tend to agree with this post by Chris Reaburn Service Rant: Underpromise, Overdeliver …
“Underpromise / overdeliver originated as a way for managers to advise their reports to manage expectations as an internal CYA, ensuring neither they nor their bosses would ever have to face the embarrassment of a missed commitment – a self-protective, “how to fulfill what is asked without failing / casting a negative light on our silo.”
The problem is that the first part of the equation gets fulfilled. Under committing is easy – it just means that you don’t promise to do as much as you know you’re capable of. But faced with someone not complaining about the level of care they receive, they forget to over deliver. Conserve resources. Get satisfied (lazy) delivering what is “good enough”. Ride the self-created perception of satisfaction rather than putting forth the extra effort to delight & surpass what the customer is expecting.”