I Took a Risk When I Overpromised

Sometimes setting the bar high forces you out of your comfort zone.

Anna Burgess Yang

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a majestic lioness in a savanna, pop art
Image created via Midjourney

One of the cardinal rules of customer support: never overpromise.

I learned this very early in my career. If you overpromise, you break trust — something that can be very hard to earn back. Better to consistently keep expectations realistic and delight the customer by delivering on time and as promised.

I knew that… and yet I made the mistake of overpromising. Not a little overpromise either…. a BIG overpromise.

I was working at a fintech and the customer (a community bank) called to tell me about an upcoming project. The project was something my team regularly did, and it was complex. It was tied to a much larger initiative at the bank — one that cost millions of dollars and had a very precise delivery timeline. If things didn’t go as planned, the bank could lose access to my company’s product for a period of time.

Usually, my company required a minimum 8-week turnaround for projects like that. I asked the customer for their planned launch date.

3 weeks.

I wanted to please the customer.

My head began spinning because I knew that failure to deliver in 3 weeks would have a…

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Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur. Niche freelance writer. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. • https://start.annabyang.com/