If you want satisfied customers, one way to achieve that is by setting the right expectations. Few things are more annoying to a customer than to be promised expectations—delivery time or product quality—that cannot be met.

The old golden rule is, under-promise and over-deliver. But of course in the real world that can sometimes be easier said than done. However, it’s still a good strategy to work by and then when an occasional unforeseen situation arises leaving you unable to meet the promised expectation, have a strategy for dealing with it. If you do it right you’ll still have a satisfied customer.

And the under-promise and over-deliver rule should be applicable in all areas of your business where interaction with customers occurs. For instance, on your website’s contact page, if you promise that a response can be expected within a certain period of time, make sure that you beat that promise. And don’t make promises in areas where you don’t have full control over circumstances such as say, shipping dates. If the shipper messes up, you, the one who made the promise, are going to disappoint the customer.

Customers are fickle. Disappointing them with unmet promises can be bad for repeat business or even word-of-mouth promotion.

Under-promise and over-deliver.