lawrence_mcglown“I define ‘execute as promise’ as the ability of an organization to meet or exceed customer expectations in every interaction, every single interaction.” -Lawrence McGlown,  CEO of getSayDo and Managing Director of The McGlown Group

Companies are born and companies die each day. A key attribute to whether a company will thrive or fail is its ability to execute as promised. Why is executing as promised so important? Simply because when a business does what it says it will do, it earns the trust (and repeat business) of its clients.

When Lawrence addressed May’s Smartups group he asked this question, “Do you agree with this statement: Most of the vendors I work with consistently execute as promised?”  Out of the group of 40 people, 1 member raised their hand. So obviously most B2B businesses are falling behind in some way.

Barriers to Executing as Promised


This first major barrier to executing as promised that Lawrence explained is employee disengagement.  Research found that for companies both large and small, over 70% of employees are disengaged. “When you think about employees that actually touch customers, half of them don’t know what their company stands for, and to make matters worse, they don’t know what it is that makes their business different.”

And if employees don’t understand what their company stands for, it’s challenging for them to see how they individually can help the business.

And it’s not only customer-facing employees that need to know what’s special about your business. If your management and finance teams don’t understand your company’s mission and objectives, they won’t be willing to invest the money or time needed to support your company and your customers in those objectives.

Another barrier to executing as promised is that businesses are losing trust.  In fact, “85% of executives around the world say that trust in business has deteriorated.” How has trust deteriorated? By businesses not doing what they said they would do the first time. They didn’t deliver on their promises.

Perhaps a customer had a great connection with the company when they first set up their account, but then during the third and fourth interactions they met some employees who weren’t passionate about their business and didn’t deliver a superior interaction. Now that customer’s view of the company has declined as well as their trust.  So how does a company gain the client’s trust?

The Solution: Listen

According to Edelman, the number one rebuilder of trust is increasing employees’ ability to listen. When employees can listen to customers then they can become more aligned with the customers’ needs and desire. They can understand when certain processes break down and work on ways to fix it.

Perhaps your company already sends out a customer satisfaction survey every year. You’re listening to your customers. What more could be needed? Lawrence argues that getting customer feedback once a year isn’t enough since many interactions occur during the year and data can become outdated. In addition, many customer surveys can be cumbersome and have a low rate of return.

Lawrence and his partner, Michael Manross, created a listening portal, getSayDo, to make it easy for customers to provide simple, anonymous, real-time feedback to companies.  Users rate companies on six attributes by using a sliding scale of different colored faces, from red to green. The process is quick and easy.

Since companies can’t log in and respond to the feedback in getSayDo, their only option is to listen and act as they try to improve their score. By having customers rate six different parts of the interaction, businesses can learn what they need to focus on in order to determine what their customers need.

Set Up A Listening Program

We have all been there, when it comes to a vendor not fulfilling on their promise. In my own experience I initially worked with a marketing automation vendor. We had a lot of issues in the initial launch of the software that weren’t communicated before hand. As a customer I started providing them a lot of feedback of what I wanted to see. Because of the feedback, they invited me to their innovators program where I could offer them more structured feedback.

As a customer I now felt listened to, and that my recommendations were being heard. They also let me in on all of their early software releases to get my feedback. A year and a half later and my relationship with the vendor is better than ever.

So no matter if you use getSayDo or build your own customer feedback loop, the important thing is to do it. Because if you aren’t listening, you will never be able to execute as promised.