One of the setbacks a new business cannot afford is poor customer satisfaction & more importantly messing up the very first order of the customer. I see this happen a lot with startups, some do this because they don’t have enough experience & make promises relying on other services without having a backup provider or a backup plan in the first place, others are just irresponsible or unorganized. Generally, whatever it is that you’re doing, you will most likely need to provide a delivery deadline for the product or service you are providing. When estimating a deadline, always give yourself a solid cushion in case things go wrong, which will happen at some point. Keep in mind, if you provide a deadline & you deliver earlier than promised, you look good. This early deadline should be your real deadline, the deadline you give to your customers is for the case when things go wrong. Depending on the service or product you are providing, your customers are likely to make arrangements or estimate their deadlines depending on yours. You being on time means them being on time. This will not only insure your customer’s satisfaction with your company, but will also keep you out of any possible lawsuits that can follow the holdup. To ensure that you never deliver late, there is only one solution; promise deadlines longer than it take you to deliver the product or service. Obviously, how much cushion you can give yourself depends on the type of business you are, however, for the most business types, a pretty solid gap is possible. If you are running an actual timed delivery service, your options are obviously limited, compared to other type of business, however you can still insure yourself by providing a timeframe, instead of a set time (ex. Instead of promising delivery at 12:15PM, which would be customer’s preferred time, you can have a 12:00-12:30 timeframe). A rule of thumb here is if you are on time 100 times & you are late once, that one time is the only one that is going to be remembered, that’s just the way the world works.
Poor customer satisfaction hurts your business in several ways:
- Direct loss: loosing the customer
- Indirect loss: unhappy customers spread poor reputation about your company. This in turn hurts your marketing campaigns; bad reviews about your service are taken much seriously than the good reviews. The effectiveness of you marketing efforts & the amount of business gained by the money spent on marketing decreases significantly with negative reviews; as a result you need to spend much more money & time on marketing.
- Loss of reference: customer referrals are the best converting leads in business. A satisfied customer is likely to become a referral for your business.
- Possible lawsuit: due to the loss a company may suffer due to your service being late, they may file a lawsuit against you. As a startup the last thing you want to do is spend your money & time in courtrooms & settlements. In any case, it’s a good idea to provide a waiver with your services to avoid unnecessary consequences. A small fee for a short consultation with a lawyer in the beginning will save you a lot of time & money in the long run.