Home > Ideas > Over Commit, Under Perform!

Over Commit, Under Perform!

You think I said that the wrong round? No! That’s precisely what I wanted to say.

Yesterday, I visited the office of a Share Brokering Company – my friend used to work with them in the past and had made me open a trading account. To help him achieve his numbers I had obliged although there was already an account, opened much earlier with another Company, through which most of my securities transactions were being done. After the markets turned volatile I had stopped dabbling in shares; didn’t wish to get burnt.

While completing the joining formalities my friend had specifically mentioned that there would be no joining fee and that I would be charged only when there is a purchase or sale of shares. But I decided to close the account because it was not being used and I felt there would be some annual fee for maintaining the account. Why waste good money on a dead account?

Yesterday’s visit was to complete the Account Closing formalities. The Executive walked up to me, handed over couple of blank forms and said – “Sir! Please sign here …. and here. I will do the needful, but our rules are that all outstanding amounts need to be settled before the account is closed.”

I said that there were no transactions in this account so far, how could there be an outstanding.

He said – “Sir! The Joining Fee has not been paid so far.”

Wow! That was a bit thick …. but I did not wish to disturb my friend because he wasn’t working with them any longer and the amount to be paid was just couple of hundred rupees.

I mentioned the discrepancy to them, but the staff there did not wish to oblige because in any case I was severing the relationship. What would they gain by supporting me?

We now get to the really interesting bit. I asked – “Cash or cheque?” and pulled out my wallet and cheque-book.

He said – “We don’t accept cash. It has to be by cheque, that too from the bank account that has been mapped to this trading account,”

I did not a cheque leaf for that account. He said – “Don’t worry, Sir! I can send a person to your office. Just carry the cheque with you tomorrow and l shall send someone across to pick it up.”

I was happy to hear that – it saved me the bother of making a 2nd journey.

To speed up the process I had offered to pay by credit card, Net Banking or by cheque from another bank account – they would have none of it – payment had to be from the “mapped account”.

A reminder was set on my phone to place the cheque book in my bag and another to call the Executive the next morning.

I called the man this morning and said – “Please send your representative – the cheque is ready.”

He is surprised to hear from me – there is a surprised, “Oh! Please wait!”.

Some muffled discussions off the phone and then – “Sir! Will you be passing our office anytime today? Even tomorrow is okay. The thing is that the person we used to send for such work is not available for a while now”

“What the ….” – wasn’t he aware of this yesterday? Did he have to earn an additional negative point for his organisation in this already murky period when Stock trading companies were awash in red?

Is there is a need to explain further.

In our enthusiasm to please people we often go way beyond need and expectation. When you commit just check the following:

–          Does your process permit it?

–          Are you geared up to handle it?

–          Are the others involved in the process aware of it?

–           Do you have the empowerment to make such commitments?

–          What is the consequence of failing to honor a commitment?

This Executive could have told me yesterday – “Sir! There will not be any additional levy on your account for the next 1 or 2 months if you don’t trade; so please drop the cheque the next time you visit this part of town.” Situation closed!

It’s best to do a bit less but do it completely and the customer more often than not does not expect that much – they would be happy with a lot less if it is done right. And the same holds true for friends and family too!

Just to clear any remaining doubt …. Under commit and over perform. 🙂


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  1. Raaj Aravind
    March 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Jayan… One would normally expect that “over commit and under perform” is more the exception that the rule (but then you wouldn’t have been writing this article) but the truth is that we see this all the time.

    Everywhere we go, everyone we deal with on a daily basis, is on a ‘target’ – there seem to be no escaping this.

    We as consumers just have to learn to anticipate such behavior and as situations develop, deal with it.

    Every once in a while, when someone chooses to ignore this ‘fashion’, we gravitate towards them and feel good for a while, till the next moment we have to run into another person with a ‘target’.

    • JayadevM
      March 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm


      True! You get over commitment and under performance most times.

      It could be lack of awareness (which is a lesser evil) or lack of concern (more difficult to cure).

      It can be the result of organisation’s culture too.

  2. Rs Jayanthasri
    March 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I so agree with you on this one Jay as I have quite recently walked in those shoes down the very same street! The market today is crowded with young guys who just want to get their monthly targets fixed and after that the hell with you! To start an account or for that matter anything – is such a dream and at your doorstep but the moment you decide to part ways, your world comes crumbling down and you are left peddling from one department to the other ! It’s a shame that companies and corporate are not looking into this in a serious way as they are creating a customer base (at least the dissatisfied ones) that end up hating the company!

    • JayadevM
      March 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm

      Its a matter of culture and attitude. Many among us seem disinclined to do it right the first time – there seems to be a distinct lack of concern all around us, that too in difficult times.

      It’s time for the leadership to step in and removes the ills in the system.

      As customers we have a role to play too – raise the bar and be more demanding.

      Thank you for leaving that note, Rajeev.

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