67% just will not return

QUESTION – how do I maximise repeat business and referral rates?

THOUGHT – deliver everything that you promised

The feeling of being ‘short-changed’ is not a good one. It is certainly not conducive to maximising the lifetime value of a customer by way of repeat sales or referrals.

The fact is, ‘short-changing’ (on the product delivered rather than cash) is all too common. In my experience, businesses delivering on all that they promise are the exception rather than the rule.
This is perplexing given that research indicates that 67% of people have changed supplier or vendor on the basis that they felt the supplier or vendor did not deliver as promised.

Delivering as promised is not just about value for money. It is also about credibility. As such, it increased the tendency to buy again and the propensity to believe future promises.

A couple of years ago, Myer’s ‘Christmas slogan’ was the word – ‘Wonderful’. As it happens, I did make a purchase at Myer that year. While I was happy enough with the purchase, nothing about the purchase or the purchase process was anything close to ‘wonderful’. It was a case of promising the world and delivering an atlas.

I take two lessons from this experience.

Firstly, in order to deliver as promised – do not to raise expectations too high or above your capacity to deliver. Secondly, delivering on the promise involves much more than the actual product. It also includes the:

  • Quality of the customer experience
  • Level of customer engagement
  • Standard of after sales service

Indeed, maximising repeat business and referral rates requires that all promises – articulated and implied, legal and moral, are delivered. It is important to:

  • Be cognizant of customer expectations
  • Follow up customers to gauge satisfaction levels

Customer expectations tell you what the customers think the promises are. In practical terms, they are what the customer says they are.

The extent to which customer expectations are being met, and the extent to which your business is seen as delivering on its promises, need to be closely monitored.


Deliver as promised and recognise this as one of the most critical factors in determining whether a customer will repeat buy or refer.

Undertake research to ensure that you understand customer expectations, the promises they think you are making, and the extent to which you are seen to be delivering.


Super Office, Shaun Buck, Saasquatch, Hubspot, ShareSomeFriends, Journal of Marketing, Nielsen, Texas Technical University, INC and Customer Experience Insight

MORE THOUGHTS – www.djohncarlsonesq.com 

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