What makes a guarantee extraordinary? Well first let’s look at conventional guarantees. A conventional guarantee is designed to alleviate loss to the customer, in the case of a product or service, within certain limits. Straight forward. And the kind of guarantee most businesses offer.
But an EXTRAORDINARY guarantee promises exceptional, uncompromising quality and customer satisfaction and stands behind that promise with a ‘payout’ intended to regain the customer’s goodwill, with few strings attached.
Historically, guarantees made their debut about the middle of the nineteenth century. Though quite simple in essence, by offering a hand written guarantee with items sold in their stores, two of the first business owners to offer them in the United States, won tens of thousands of customers as a result and were soon among the richest people in the nation. Apart from the fact that people began to understand that a guarantee assured them of having any faulty transaction reversed in their favour, there was a something more about such a guarantee. And that was simply the power of the unspoken message sent to their customers about the way such a company did business. If they were prepared to rise to so high a standard with their guarantees, they must be very confident of their product and/or ability and it must be a good measure of how they conducted business in every way. From a fairly obligatory kind of gesture, a guarantee started to be seen as an immensely powerful marketing tool.
So the risk of doing business was reversed for the customer and the reputation of the company prepared to go out on such a perceived “limb” for their customers soared to new heights! AND something else; by making their guarantees so much more lofty and bold, the companies offering them, created new challenges for THEMSELVES and consequently were forced to raise the bar in terms of every aspect of their own business. In many cases, businesses were and continue to be transformed by taking this action.
Better to raise the bar than try to resurrect a company which has already sunk to dismal depths
Why Offer and Extraordinary Guarantee?
An extraordinary guarantee sends the clear message that the company making it is committed to QUALITY. It promises the customer that they will not be disappointed and that security often inspires a normally hesitating customer to take action and BUY! And it sets the company way apart from its competitors.
Some Extraordinary Guarantees.
In his book Extraordinary Guarantees, Christopher W.L. Hart, gives some examples of extraordinary guarantees:
The First National Bank of Chicago offered a $250 repayment to customers dissatisfied with their loan application process
- PRISM Pest Control who serve the restaurant and hotel niche, offer that if a customer sees a pest they’ll pay for their meal and another, pay for their accommodation at the hotel on that and one other occasion, refund the complete premium for the year and pay the their client (restaurateur or hotelier) $5,000 extra!
- L.L.Bean says “Everything we sell is backed by a 100% unconditional guarantee. We do not want you to have anything you buy from us at any time, for any reason it proves otherwise”
- Allied Van Lines guaranteed to move customers on schedule or pay $100 each day of delay
Many such guarantees are unconditional and hold themselves to the highest possible standard; that of the customer!
What is YOUR guarantee? Is it bold? Is it conditional? Will it stand out from the limp guarantees offered by most other companies?
The amazing thing is most companies which DO offer compelling and extraordinary guarantees, will tell you that only rarely, if EVER do they get asked to honour the guarantee. Even then, they have taken such a huge slice of market share BECAUSE of the guarantee, they simply smile and comply!