Great Expectations

In an effort to gain our attention and ultimately win our business or support, there’s a whole lot of over-promising going on as of late.         

Amazon, the online behemoth that has gone from a company repeatedly mocked and laughed at for losing an astonishing amount of money quarter after quarter, year after year, has now become the most valuable company on the planet. Their Prime delivery sounds great; click a button and your order will appear on your doorstep in 2 days, just like magic. Unless it doesn’t. Then you just have to wait and assume it’ll be there on the 3rd day. Or maybe the 4th. And because it’s free shipping, don’t expect any kind of refund.         

UPS, even with its ability to operate with efficiency and speed, over-promises from time to time, too. There have been numerous occasions, once just this week, when the online tracker said my package would be delivered by 10:30 am on a Tuesday but instead showed up on Wednesday. It happens, and had it not been a laptop that I needed to perform my job, it wouldn’t have mattered nearly as much.

I’ve used Instacart 4 times so far and while I love the idea of having my groceries delivered to my house, 2 of those times they were delivered late. An entire day late. First world problems, I realize, yes. But it’s still a service that the consumer, in this case me, pays for and it’s a promise, either specifically stated or implied, that sets up an expectation. The specific day isn’t nearly as important as the expectation of a specific day.         

The thing with over-promising though is that it’s only temporary. Eventually it’s seen for what it really is: A sales pitch. A gimmick. A sound bite or boast that never really had any chance of becoming a reality in the first place. But it drew us in and got our attention. And our business.         

A better approach is to openly state that expectations won’t always be met, because of weather, because of unexpectedly high volume, etc… But that doesn’t exactly make you want to spend lots of money, does it? It lacks that “Wow!” factor that people demand in this “Veruca Salt” world we now live in. So the expectation is set, realizing that it’s impossible to always live up to it.           

So will this strategy work, despite the inconsistencies and broken promises? Maybe in the short to mid-term, until people eventually catch on. Or a more likely scenario…until someone else comes along that promises the same thing…but actually delivers.


2 thoughts on “Great Expectations

  1. Great piece. I usually tell people it is only a senseless fellow that will be mocking a toddler who is learning how to walk. Focus, consistency and persistence is the key deal here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting. Always appreciated!


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