Part Three in the “Ruby Service Pyramid” series.

If, like us here at Ruby, you’ve decided the way to grow your business is through providing legendary service, you know you must absolutely follow through on your commitments. Doing what you say you will do (or DWYSYWD), while such a fundamentally basic principle, seems to be so lacking in today’s climate, that simply adhering to it can make you stand out from the crowd.

In our Ruby Service Pyramid, DWYSYWD is at the base, just above “Have the Right Infrastructure.”

The Ruby Service Pyramid created by Jill Nelson

We know that if we aren’t delivering consistent, reliable service, little flourishes of thoughtfulness aren’t going to win any loyal fans. Thus, we call DWYSYWD our table stakes. We don’t get to play the rest of the customer experience game without it.

Here are our favorite Do What You Say You Will Do tips:

Timing, Quality, and Accuracy: Three Opportunities for Commitment.

Whatever your product or service, customers want to know when it will be provided, how valuable the product or service is, and how close what you promise them matches what they receive. Be mindful of these three areas and be very clear on communicating what customers may expect. Know your own limitations, and make commitments you know you can keep.

Hedging Doesn’t Count. Commit to Something!

I know, the easiest way to always DWYSYWD is to make no commitments at all! Heard any of these before? “I don’t know when it’ll be ready,” “I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this statement,” or my personal favorite, “As is, no warranty.” But these statements don’t count. Figure out what you CAN commit to and put it out there. At Ruby, answering every single business day call by a live, friendly person is something that almost no other service does, but we put that stake in the ground and have stuck to it from Day One.

Be Increasingly Bold in Your Commitments.

To me, the poster child for DWYSYWD is Fed-Ex. It is a marvel to me that I can have a package picked up at 3pm in Portland today, and have it arrive in Orlando by 8am tomorrow. And yet, if I choose “first overnight,” I have absolute confidence the package will make it. They didn’t always offer this crazy offering. They took their standard promise, and made it even bolder. By making and delivering audacious promises, you set yourself apart. What is one bold promise that you can make?

Create Systems to Increase Consistency.

Our wonderful virtual receptionists come to work every day ready to give their most outstanding efforts. But, as members of the human race, it’s inevitable that from time to time, a mistake or two will slip through. To combat mistakes, we turn to technology, our reliable although less personable partner. In 2011, we launched our unique ROS software, the culmination of two years of feedback from everyone on how technology could improve our consistency and accuracy. Mistakes went down, productivity went up, and receptionists are now better equipped to answer callers’ questions. Improving accuracy with technology is also a great way to improve your bottom line, as the time spent fixing mistakes can be costly.

When You Miss the Mark, Overcompensate.

In the unfortunate circumstance where you aren’t able to deliver on your promises, what you choose to do about it can help maintain your clients’ confidence. First, own it. Come right out and say, “I know I made this commitment to you and we did not deliver.” Second, apologize sincerely. And third, compensate with a gesture of such significance that the client’s only logical conclusion is that this kind of miss must be completely out of the ordinary, because you would go broke if you made these kind of gestures on a regular basis. Refund charges. Offer additional services at no charge. Send flowers. Do something. Make the client understand that what happened simply does not reflect business as usual.

Have any DWYSYWD stories or tips? Tweet us at @callruby; we want to hear from you!