When Does a Guarantee Really Mean a Guarantee?

By John Formica

I was outside the other day with my wife admiring her wonderful vegetable garden. She needed a small area of the garden soil leveled so I went to my shed to retrieve a rake.  I noticed that my metal part of the rake was loose. It was obviously broken and very frustrating as each time I tried to use it the metal rake would separate from the handle. I guess it is what you would come to expect from using an old rake which was given to me by my dad a long, long time ago.

My wife noticed that my rake was made by Craftsman, which is a product line from Sears.  She suggested that I return it to a Sears because of their “Lifetime Guarantee” on all Craftsman products.  I remembered their guarantee, but this was a very old wooden rake. It was at least 40 years old. Surely, Sears would probably have some policy in place that would void the guarantee. My wife suggested that we try anyway and took the broken rake to our nearest Sears Department store.

Well lo and behold she returned with a shiny new rake! I couldn’t believe it! Not only did they stand by their guarantee, they gave her a much better rake than what we had and without any questions asked. A NO HASSLE GUARANTEE!  In fact, before she could say anything, the clerk knew exactly what she wanted and didn’t even have to get a supervisor’s permission to do it. It was magical!

How many businesses do you think would do what Sears did? How many would unconditionally stand by their product? What was my impression of Sears? Did they stand by their Craftsman product?  They not only provide a quality product, but they certainly uphold their guarantee.

Here is the Sears Craftsman guarantee policy.

  • The warranty covers manual (non-power) tools for the life of the tool (not just the life of the original owner).
  • Fully transferable. If you sell the tool, the warranty goes with it.
  • No receipt/proof of purchase required.  You only have to bring back the pieces.
  • No hassle / no questions asked. It doesn’t matter if you broke the tool doing something with it you shouldn’t have been doing.  If you have the pieces, you can get a new tool.
  • On-the-spot trade in. You don’t have to “send it to the factory.”  You can walk into any Sears, find the tool, and make the trade instantly.
  • Free upgrades to newer models. If the broken tool is discontinued, you get the latest model of that tool instead at no additional cost.

Wow! Now that is what you call a guarantee! Does your guarantee policy look like this one? I am sure there are probably a few Sears customers who abuse their guarantee, but who do you think you will remember when the time comes to purchase another tool or garden product? Which hardware company do you think you will recommend to a friend?

When I am consulting with various businesses, I often ask them if they offer a guarantee. Many don’t, mostly because they are afraid and claim that customers abuse the policy and take advantage of them. Businesses feel that if they gave away free products on a return, they would be losing money all the time. I certainly understand their concerns. However, there are a few things businesses must realize.

First of all, only 2% of customers will probably abuse the policy. That means 98% won’t. As a business, are you going to make decisions based on 2% of your customers and frustrate the other 98%? You can’t control the 2% but you can control the other 98% and provide your business a great opportunity to create a loyal customer and positive reputation. Offering a guarantee and fully standing by it tells your customers that you provide a quality product, stand by it and assure the customer that you will do whatever is needed to keep them happy and satisfied. Does your competition do that?

When you provide a guarantee and stand behind it, you are telling your customers that you care about them and that they made the right choice to do business with you. Which business would you prefer to patronize? One that has a difficult and challenge guarantee or the one whose policy is no questions asked and hassle-free? Hassle-free guarantees will result in happier customers, repeat business, more referrals, increased business, a positive customer experience and reputation. This is what will separate your business from the competition. It is just another way you can make the customer experience in your business a little more Magical!

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Learn how to make your business magical from John Formica on eWomenSuccessInstitute! Click here for details.


 

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