Which comes first?

I was ironing the kids’ school clothes recently and had Casino Royale on in the background. Usually, I tune out commercials pretty well, but all of a sudden, I heard one that heartily touted a company’s two-hour service window. No, it was more than that. The entire commercial laser-focused on this company’s ability to meet service times with their high-tech command center, a deep commitment to punctuality and a stealthy team of colleagues that talk to each other constantly like military forces.
I actually snickered out loud and thought a certain cable company could definitely learn from this business. But my smugness was quickly extinguished and transitioned into awe when I realized it WAS this certain cable company being highlighted in the commercial. Now, that is some audacity.
If you asked me which brand failed me most on a regular basis in terms of customer service, punctuality, communication and service recovery, it would be this company. Yet, on a Sunday afternoon, I am smacked in the face with the irony of this commercial. And that just made me mad.
Why? It’s bad enough when a behemoth of a company can’t get customer service right. Shame on them. But it’s unforgiveable for this company to then think they can trick consumers into believing a brand promise that absolutely isn’t delivered operationally.
I’ve worked with a few companies in the past that were eager to make a big and bad brand promise before they were ready to deliver. It’s not that they had ill intentions at all; there were many things in motion to help them get there and deliver. But our team cautioned them: They just weren’t ready yet. Thank goodness, they listened.
If you make a brand promise – whether it’s “leading-edge,” “luxurious,” “easy,” or “family-oriented,” you have to be ready at that moment to ensure that’s what customers get every single time. If your customers don’t get that, you’ll most likely lose them forever. Plus, they’ll feel tricked and be mad enough to tell other folks about it (like me on this blog about a certain cable company – except they’ll use the company’s name).
So the next time you’re ready to send out a news release, produce a commercial or share something via social media, please take pause and ask yourself if you’re ready to deliver on that brand promise.