2 Keys to Advancing your Career
Hopefully, at this stage of your career, you’ve discovered that the number one key to advancing your long-term career and your reputation is not friendliness, expertise, or even talent. While all those qualities are admirable, I would argue that your family, customers, and co-workers judge you on more than anything is reliability. In other words, you don’t make excuses, you simply deliver as promised – every time. That’s easy – until things go wrong.
When everything goes well, chances are your customers and co-workers are not delighted. They are merely getting what they expected so they are satisfied. That doesn’t mean they are loyal or that they’d recommend you. Or promote you or give you a raise. Over the longer term when things go wrong (as eventually they will), or seem hard or inconvenient – that’s when people see if you are actually trust-worthy.
Assuming you are reliable – (even when things go wrong), here’s a second key to boosting your reputation – exceeding expectations. The good news is this is often much easier than it sounds. A couple of examples:
- You think you can complete a customer request within the next 3 hours. You ask the customer when they need it by. They reply, “Within 3 days”. Your commitment, “You’ll have it within 24 hours.”
- A customer shipment arrives slightly damaged. Since shipping for this product is so expensive or slow, you’re prepared to give the customer up to 40% off for accepting the defect. Instead of offering that percentage, you apologize, state that you want to be fair and ask, “What do you think would be fair?” The customer says a 10% refund would be acceptable. You reply that in appreciation for their business and by way of apology you’ll double that amount and give them 20% off.
In both scenarios you are exceeding customer expectations, so they are likely delighted, feeling more loyal than before the foul-up, and more inclined to recommend you. And you are giving yourself more time and giving away less than what you were prepared to offer. The key is beginning by asking the customer what their expectations are, and then exceeding them.
How about you and your team members? Is there room for improvement in the way you’re establishing customer expectations and delivering on those promises?