Under Promise and Over Deliver. Always.

I was reminded this week of a principle that is paramount in the delivery of World Class Customer Service.

It’s the principle to Under Promise and Over Deliver.

I’m not sure whether the employees of the firm that delivered this experience to me this time were aware of their use and execution of the principle.

I’m thinking maybe they just lucked in and got it right with me purely by accident.

Here’s what happened:

You see, I’m one of these people who likes to live on the edge, when it comes to deadlines and schedules.

I have an uncanny knack of leaving things, most things, to the very last minute, and then experiencing a mad, mad rush as the deadline rapidly approaches.

I do this often. Too often.

I’ve been known to regularly be still packing my suitcase as the taxi is waiting to take me to the airport.

Sometimes even, I’m still in the bathroom as the taxi arrives.

It’s a horrid affliction.

I dislike how I always do this to myself.

Despite the fact that when it comes to air travel, I am always at the airport with more than enough time to spare. Always.

I just can’t seem to transfer that prematurity and preparation for airports across to other key areas in my life.

For some reason…..

Anyway, in this recent incident, or event last week, as usual, I started again to stretch the boundaries of preparation.

My friends will be aware, that yesterday was my wife’s birthday.

And as far as Birthday’s go, this year’s Birthday was a big one.

And like all other years, the celebrations and lunches have stretched and spread across a number of days.

But this year it’s a significant Birthday.

A number ending in zero.

A multiple of ten…

Now, last Christmas, unlike most, I was well prepared with gifts. Great gifts. Well prepared in advance.

However, this Birthday, this year, I was not so well prepared.

You see, being a significant celebration, I wanted to find her something unique. Something that would surprise her, but also NOT be just one of those gifts, that blend into the multitude of “nice gifts”, that really don’t hit the mark.

Fortunately for me the thought, the idea, the notion of the correct gift came to me with just enough time to take quick and necessary action to meet the impending deadline.

But I needed the planets to line up.

I thought a great gift idea would be to present my wife with some canvasses of photos of her four boys.

Now these aren’t normal boys. These are her four pets.

These are cattle.


These are her four steers that she bought over a year ago in a very lean, undernourished state.

And who with time, have grown, both in girth and in personality, to their own betterment, because they now have names, and are destined to never ever go off to market….


So the collection of photos of the four boys was difficult enough.

I’m wondering if any of my readers have tried to download photos discretely from their spouse’s phone, without being caught or found out?

Let’s just say, to cut a long story short, it was a case of Mission Accomplished!

So I headed, with flash drive in hand, to our local office supply store to have my treasured photos converted to large canvasses.

And here’s where the Under Promise occurred.

Big time!!

And I’m not sure whether it was part of their technique, or whether the staff here were just really being difficult, but they succeeded in making me believe that I would be extremely lucky and very fortunate to be able to collect just one of my five canvasses before Jayne’s Birthday, so that I could have them wrapped and ready for her big day.

You know the drill at these places…you sit in front of a photo kiosk-style machine and work your way through the order process. And for me, with five canvasses, this took some time.

So it’s about forty-five minutes prior to closing time at 9:00p.m. Friday night.

And when I take my order slip up to the counter to pay, I lead with my bleeding heart story….

“Is there any way that you can have this order ready for me for Sunday morning? It’s a Birthday present…” I said.

“No way.”

“That’s a big order”

“Five pictures?”

“These can take an hour each to make”

“It really depends on how busy we are”

“Weekends are very busy here”

“We have other orders too”

“I can’t promise anything”

And I said:

“I’m willing to pay extra”

And they said:

“We might be lucky to have *SOME* canvasses ready by Monday morning”

[Monday morning is the actual Birthday!!!]

I’m thinking, I’ve lucked out here.

I’m planning damage control.

In my mind.

I’m trying to work out my contingency plans.

Plan B. Plan C. And beyond.

I’m into survival mode….

For a poor husband, I left that office supply store on that Friday night with no hope whatsoever that my gift canvasses would be ready for collection before Monday afternoon.

Way too late considering we were doing a family Birthday lunch, Monday lunchtime.

So as I’ve pre-empted earlier, there is a happy ending to this story. To my surprise, the office supplier SMS’d me Sunday afternoon that my order was ready for collection.


And so I was able to visit there and collect my valuable canvasses, take them home and wrap them.

And I did good.

For the birthday.


I’m not convinced that our office supply store was practicing the Under Promise and Over Deliver Principle on purpose….

I don’t believe at all that it’s an office Principle they try to live out and deliver.

I think for me, I lucked in for the same reason that my golf balls headed for the woods rebound back out onto the fairways.

I think it was just a case of “Good Clean Living” being rewarded.

From a higher power…..

Anyway, the upshot was, that the canvasses of the four boys were a total surprise to my wife, and were well received.

Good was seen to be done…


In business, in all business, we need to be looking for ways that we can under promise and over deliver.

Because when done correctly, it’s a win for our business, and a great feeling for our customers and clients as well.

It’s the opportunity to provide hope

It’s the opportunity to make them feel something special….

And though I didn’t really get that “feel special” feeling at the picture pick up, I did feel lucky.

Of sorts.

It’s something we can all look for. Something we can all work on, in our own businesses…

A way of Over Delivering.

A way of making someone feel lucky.

A way of helping them enjoy something special…


The Principle to Under Promise and Over Deliver is just one of the many protocols and procedures you will learn about in The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me at david@theupe.com

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