Why 'Underpromise and Overdeliver' Is Terrible Advice

The Inc, 2014-06-02

Common Knowledge

  • You will delight your customers by underpromising and overdelivering, i.e. going above and beyond what the customers expect.


  • Test: underdeliver, deliver to the letter, overdeliver on promises.

  • Overdelivering produces little meaningful increase in gratitude or appreciation.

  • A promise is a contract; you expect what was promised to you and nothing more (otherwise you would’ve asked for more).

  • Delivering to the letter is essential for maintaining reputation [MK: which is more important for the word of mouth than delight].

  • Generosity is not as important as fairness.

  • [MK: generosity advertised via the word of mouth leads to unrealistic expectations by new and existing customers.]