“Put Some Teeth in Your Guarantee”

A well-crafted guarantee can boost everything from subscription rolls to Web revenues, so make the most of yours by applying these principles:

  • Honor it. Always. Under no circumstances should you ever "argue" your guarantee with a customer.
  • Make it unconditional. Use phrases like "if for any reason you are not satisfied," "no questions asked" and "full refund." There’s a lot to gain, little to lose; less than 1% of customers take advantage of a guarantee.
  • Make it noticeable. Put it in store windows. Print it on receipts. Mention it in advertising.
  • Make it tangible. Offer a refund or credit — something your customer can "touch." Here’s a bad example: "If you spend 60 seconds in our store, you’ll become a customer. I guarantee it." So what happens if you don’t become a customer?
  • Make it last. Is the guarantee forever or just for 30 days? The longer the guarantee span, the more credibility you’ll enjoy. In any case, make it clear.
  • Make it hit home. Reminding your employees that they’re responsible for the customer’s complete satisfaction — to the point of having to give money back — is a powerful motivator. Tip: Tracking "guarantee refunds" is a measurable customer-service standard.

Here’s an outstanding example of a "guarantee with teeth," written by the National Institute of Business Management for one of its newsletters:

Money-Back Guarantee

You are protected at all times by our 100% Money-Back Guarantee. You must be completely satisfied, or you may cancel your subscription and receive a full refund — not a prorated refund, but every penny you paid. NO HASSLES. NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

Writer: LeAnn Zotta is a strategic-marketing consultant in Yartsmouthport, Mass.