Why going the extra mile is a step too far
The modern business mantra of “under-promise, over-deliver” has been embraced by many an entrepreneur, but a new study suggests that it is bunkum.
The research, carried out by two American universities, found that simply keeping promises is actually better than exceeding them.
Researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of California, San Diego, conducted three experiments involving students buying concert tickets to test the theory.
The students had to rate their satisfaction levels based on the following outcomes: receiving better seats than they were promised, the seats they wanted, or worse seats.
As expected, they gave negative feedback when they received worse tickets than promised, saying that they were unlikely to use the same seller again in future.
The students were not, however, more positive when they received better tickets. In fact, the researchers found that they were somewhat more negative.
The study concluded: “When companies, friends or co-workers put forth the effort to keep a promise, their effort is likely to be rewarded. But when they expend extra effort in order to exceed those promises, their effort appears likely to be overlooked.”