Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep

Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep

When you say you’ll do something, do you do it? Are you open and honest when you communicate what you’re offering? Your word in business is crucial.

TRUST in a business relationship is also crazy important. When you say you’ll do something (or even imply you’ll do something) it’s your reputation that’s on the line and you need to follow through.

Let me give you an example:

My friend Debbie posted a curious image on Instagram about adulting. She said, “Adulting: buy more pillows, not clothes.” And shared a snazzy image of a beautiful box called Casper. Me being super curious, I had to know what this Casper thing was all about.

Adulting: buy more pillows, not clothes.

A post shared by DEBBIE LU (@debbieluwho) on

Turns out this company, Casper specializes in luxury sleep products. A king size pillow will cost you a hefty $120.

The average Walmart pillow will likely cost you under ten bucks.

After a couple of nights, I asked Debbie how she was liking her pillow and she replied, “I swear it was the best sleep I have ever had! The pillows were great!”

I am a sucker for a good night’s sleep; I enjoy good pillows and really nice cotton sheets.

So of course, off I went to check out the Casper website. When I landed on their site, something interesting happened. I was asked to complete a survey and in return, I’d receive $20 off my first purchase.

We’re talking $120 pillows here, right? Of course I’ll do your survey to save $20.

I finish the survey, screen capture my code in case it isn’t auto populated in the shopping cart and as quick as you can blink, I’ve added two pillows to my shopping cart. I enter the code and to my dismay, it does not work.

The error message says “Oops! Looks like the items in your cart don’t qualify for this promo.”

Wait a minute…

Is this a bait and switch tactic? The promo code did not specify that this coupon code was only good for specific items. I’m a little bit annoyed, and it’s not about the $20, it’s because I feel like I was duped. I spent time doing their survey and they promised a discount on my first order, so they need to pay up!

Here’s where things get interesting.

It’s a Sunday afternoon and off I go to Twitter to let @Casper know that my code didn’t work. Almost instantly, they follow me, reply to my message and ask me to explain what has gone wrong.

I send them my screen shots (I have proof they’ve duped me!) and explain what happened. They respond and tell me that it looks like the code applies to mattress purchases only but… they want to help. If I send the order number after, they will credit my account.

I’m thinking, no way! You’re not getting my business if you’re lying in your marketing.

In #business, your word is everything. Click To Tweet

I will say that again for extra special effect…

In business, your word is everything.

Next thing I know, they respond and tell me that they’re sending the details to their team to get this resolved because they agree, the promo should state what the offer is for. Turns out, there was nothing wrong with the offer; it’s the way it’s provisioned in the system!

They are appreciative of my help, and to compensate me for my time and effort, they give me a $50 code.

Off I go to buy my pillows.

Now, why am I sharing this with you?

1.) Your word is everything. Don’t say you will do something and not follow through. When you do that, you’re destroying your reputation.

2.) When you make a mistake, own up to it and do more than the minimum to make it right. They admitted their mistake and then more than doubled the discount for me… They also took the time to explain what happened, they responded quickly, they were nice and they acknowledged what happened was wrong. As a consumer, I felt understood. Do your customers feel understood when they present you with a problem?

3.) They delivered a stellar product. The pillows are amazing and are completely worth the investment. Had they not rectified the situation, I wouldn’t have purchased on principle but now, I’m considering my next mattress from them too.

Your word, your response, and the quality of your product or service matters.

When you do great work, people like Debbie talk about you, and then people like friends of Debbie check you out, and when all goes well, those friends buy.

This is a CLASSIC example of word of mouth marketing, created by a consumer who demonstrated social proof and a love of the product she purchased.

Make your business worthy of being talked about too for all the right reasons.

Think about a time that you bought something because of word of mouth marketing… What was it? Think about how you can create an experience for your customer that makes them want to talk about you.

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