When a company makes a promise to its customers (via its website, via marketing, via policies or contracts) AND fulfills it – it builds trust. Makes sense right? You make a promise and the customer hopes you will live up to it. When you do fulfill your promises, it satisfies the customers and it may even make them more loyal.

Here are 2 examples of companies living up to promises. See what you can glean from these leaders:

1) JetBlue– Do you remember the JetBlue Customer Bill of Rights?  They created The Bill Customer Bill of Rights a few years ago after the big snafu that left customers stranded on runways during a snow storm.

Customer Trust

Good news: JetBlue are serious about adhering to their Bill of Rights. I experienced that first hand during a flight from Boston to LA. Before the flight departed, we were informed that we would have to stop in Denver to refuel because of strong headwinds that were forecast for the trip. The plane simply couldn’t hold enough fuel to make the full trip. The refuel stop lasted an hour in total and so we arrived late to Los Angeles.

Shortly after that flight I received this email message: We’re sorry that you did not experience the high standard of service we aim to provide every JetBlue customer. Please accept our sincere apologies and this flight credit for the inconvenience you recently experienced with us.

Every passenger received that message as well as a $25 credit. Before the flight took off, a JetBlue flight attendant announced that they were waiving the fee for all their premium in-flight movie options. Awesome! They really lived up to the promises they make to their customers. Result? I love JetBlue even more than before. I bet this message and flight credit will melt even some of the grumbling passengers on board who were mad about the refueling stop. (Um, we can’t fly without fuel !).

2)– The online retailer has a price-matching guarantee when you place a pre-order. If they lower the price after you purchase an item, they issue you a credit. That happened to my husband. He pre-ordered a new CD and after he paid for it the price dropped $1. Amazon let us know of the price change and processed the $1 credit to our credit card.

No doubt, the idea of processing small credits on this scale could drive some finance professionals nuts. (Considering the cost to Amazon of processing the credit and all.) But think about the signal it gives to customers. The message is “we care” – about customers, about their finances, and we value them as a long-term customer. It is a nice message that shows the value of a customer relationship. And it stands out during a time when the majority of companies don’t make customers feel valued.

When you have trust in a relationship, the relationship is likely to last longer. Your customers will be surprised when you keep promises because it is rare to truly feel valued as a customer (not just valued for transactions).

What can you do? How can you use these ideas?

  • Make a list of all the promises you have made to customers – in sales meetings, in contracts, in communications, via customer service. Check and make sure you have processes in place to live up to those promises. Make sure someone is accountable for enforcing those promises and correcting them when they haven’t been met.
  • Tell customers when you are honoring a promise you have made – they will appreciate it and likely be more grateful (and loyal) for it.