You can talk all day about delivering a great service and offering consumers peace of mind, but what about actually guaranteeing what you are offering?
Many companies get away with using cliched terms like “quality guaranteed” or “satisfaction guaranteed” but these are just plain boring and do very little to get your customers excited or curious to purchase.
When you offer an Outrageous Guarantee however, suddenly consumers are forced to stand up and take notice and it instantly separates you from your competition.
Face it, there are hundreds if not thousands of companies out there who are probably competing for your customers business, but by offering your customers a guarantee unlike any other, you can instantly remove any risks or fears associated with their purchase.
If crafted tactfully, guarantees actually have the ability to sell your product and get consumers talking about your brand and your services.
For example, lets say you run a house painting business. In general, your customers would want to be assured that:
- Your company will use high quality paints that won’t peel and will look professional
- Your company will paint within the lines and will not miss spots
- Your company will complete the job on time
- Your company will take precautions to not get paint on your furniture and household items
- Your company will air out the house or take steps to reduce the toxic paint smell
- Your company will cater to them if they change their mind about the colour they originally chose
Based on these six important factors when it comes to house painting, you could craft an outrageous guarantee that goes something like:
“We guarantee that our paint job will be professional, neat and detailed and if you don’t like the colour we are happy to change it for a reduced cost. We also guarantee that our workmen will leave your house looking spotlessly clean and that we will not get paint on your valued possessions, carpet or furniture. We also guarantee to have your house completely painted in just 2 weeks. If you are not absolutely delighted with our service, we insist that you tell us and we will refund double your money back.”
Yes, you read that right, this guarantee offers complete satisfaction or a refund of “double your money back” as well as a discount and re-do if the customer doesn’t like the colour that they originally chose.
Sounds outrageous, maybe even detrimental to your business?
Before you reject this idea lets take a look at some facts and statistics.
Facts and Statistics About Offering Outrageous Guarantees
- Companies that offered an outrageous guarantee experienced a 25 percent increase in business in the first year
- An average of 1-2 percent of customers will take you up on your guarantee only
- Companies that offer an outrageous guarantee are more likely to have customers return again and again
- Customers appreciate outrageous guarantees and feel more loyal to companies that offer them
- Outrageous Guarantees will not hurt an ethical business
Most businesses out there are ethical and aim to please their customers regardless of their guarantee, so by stating your guarantee and making it noticeable for customers, it helps your brand to have a clear marketing advantage.
Statistics also show that most customers are honest and won’t abuse guarantees if they received the service that they were promised.
Sure, we won’t deny that some customers may abuse your outrageous guarantee but if it results in an increase in business, then the odd customer that does abuse it may be well worth the risk.
Offering a strong terms of service also helps your brand to offer a better customer experience and attracts customers that are serious and interested in what you have to offer.
Let’s take a look at these outrageous guarantees from some top brands.
Outrageous Guarantees from Top Brands and Products
1.) The Maryland National Bank offers this outrageous guarantee:
“If you ever find an account error, we will make it right, right away…refund any fees incurred and send letters of apology to anyone inconvenienced….and even pay you $10”
After just four months of introducing this outrageous guarantee, nearly 250,000 million customers signed up. Of these customers that signed up, less than 150 claimed their $10 inconvenience fee.
2.) The First Hampton Inn offers this outrageous guarantee:
“Friendly service, clean rooms and comfortable surroundings every time. If you are not satisfied, we don’t expect you to pay.”
Over the years, Hampton Inn has researched that 2 percent of their customers stay with them specifically because they offer this type of guarantee. They also found that customer loyalty was strengthened and that visitors were likely to return again. Furthermore, after introducing this guarantee, they also noticed an improvement in employee retention rates.
3.) The Mission Oaks Hospital offers this outrageous guarantee:
“No waiting. If you have to wait more than 5 minutes for emergency room care, the accounting department will refund 25 percent of your bill.”
After offering this guarantee the hospital experienced a 25 percent increase in business and found that less than 2 out of 1000 customers claimed the refund.
4.) Benjamin Franklin Plumbing offers this outrageous guarantee:
“If there is any delay, it is you we pay. If we are not on time, we pay you $5.00 each minute late up to $300.”
This plumbing company was able to identify one the main fears or issues when it comes to hiring service personnel and was able to make a guarantee out of it that offers customers a serious benefit. Since launching this benefit the company has increased customer retention and has also become known for their guarantee.
5.) Green Training USA offers this outrageous guarantee:
“If you don’t pass your certification exam the first time- no worries! You can retake the Green Training USA online class for free.”
This guarantee offers hundreds of dollars worth of value to the customer and gives them the peace of mind that even if they fail the first time that they won’t have to fork out money again. The benefit of this guarantee too is that it helps to retain customers and increase customer loyalty. In fact, after offering this guarantee, those who failed were more likely to use Green Training USA again then feel tempted to seek out the company’s competition.
As you can see from these offered guarantees the only time that they would ever become an issue is if the company was not performing at their highest capacity.
To avoid any issues, for your guarantees to be effective you must ensure that:
- Your managers and executives are behind the guarantee
- Your staff are trained on protocols and guarantees that are being offered
- Your goals need to be clear and well thought out
- Your staff need to be empowered to do the right thing
- Your processes need to be simple and easy to follow
- Your guarantees have real, working solutions
As you can see, these steps are relatively easy to adopt and chances are your company is probably already adopting them and just not taking advantage of them.
So, through all of what you have learned so far you are probably wondering about price guarantees and offering the lowest price available out there.
Many brands have had success with offering low price guarantees for similar products however, you could land yourself into some trouble by competing on price.
Why You Shouldn’t Compete on Price
Competing on price not only lowers your motivation to deliver on quality but it may also be detrimental to your business in the long run, especially if you are competing with big brands like Coles, Costco or McDonalds.
Offering a cheaper product or service also lowers your brands perceived value and stops you from attracting higher end clients that are more likely to spend.
In fact, there are many statistics out there that support charging higher prices in order to establish your brand as an authority and to make customers feel as if they are getting a higher quality service.
For most small to medium sized businesses, competing on price is also likely to get your brand washed away in a sea of competition as often you can’t afford to buy in bulk like the big companies can.
Clients who are willing to spend more and are of a higher socio-economic status are also less likely to cause your company issues or grievances and are also less likely to abuse your outrageous guarantee.
Instead of reducing your price to attract clients, think about increasing the value you are offering instead. This includes-
- Adding bonuses
- Adding services
- Customising the solution
- Offering enhanced results
- Increasing the quality
And of course crafting an outrageous guarantee that removes any risk associated with your product or service.
How to Craft a Outrageous Guarantee
Your Outrageous Guarantee will of course depend on what line of business your company is in, but here is a quick guide to help you get started.
Step 1: Know your Customer
In order to appeal to your customers you have to know them and what will appeal to them. This involves researching what the needs, wants and desires of your customers are. To get started think about-
- The average age of your customers
- The majority gender
- What they may do for a living
- Their average income
- What they like to do in their spare time
- Where they may frequent on weekends
- Their hobbies or interests
Once you have determined these traits about your demographic it is time to dig a little deeper into their fears.
Step 2: Identify Fears that Block them from Purchasing
When you understand your demographic you are in a better position to understand what their greatest fears are when it comes to purchasing your product.
In the example mentioned earlier, if you run a house painting business you may identify your customers biggest fears as-
- Not having the job completed on time
- Having the job look sloppy and unprofessional
- Getting paint on the furniture or carpet
- Not liking the colour that they originally chose
There are always blocks or reservations when it comes to purchasing, so take the time to think about what these may be for your brand. It may even help to make a list of 10 or so blocks.
To get you started, usually the biggest blocks when it comes to making a purchase includes-
- Having your customers feel as if they are making the wrong decision
- Having your customers feel as if they are going to lose money
- Having your customers feel as if they will not receive what they paid for
- Having your customers feel that they will not be satisfied with the finished product or service
Step 3: Work on Removing or Counteracting These Blocks
Once you have identified the 10 main blocks or fears that your customers may have, further narrow down your list to 4 or 5 of the most important. This list will then be your main selling point when it comes to writing your outrageous guarantee.
Of these 4-5 blocks, work on coming up with a solution for each that will help your customers feel at ease with their decision.
Using the same house painting example you may have something that looks like this:
Fear 1: Furniture and carpet may get paint on it
Solution: Offering free dust covers and blankets that are used before any work is started
Fear 2: Not having the job completed on time
Solution: Increasing the number of painters on the job or offering a refund
Fear 3: Not painting in the lines giving the work an unprofessional finish
Solution: Using painters tape and keeping water or paint remover nearby incase of accidents
Fear 4: Not liking the finished colour choice
Solution: Offering a re-do option or keeping the customer informed every step of the way
These solutions all seem run of the mill for most painting companies, but when you are able to identify them as solutions and services you instantly heighten the perceived value of your business and give your company leverage.
Step 4: Making Your Guarantee Outrageous
Once you have been able to narrow down and create solutions for your customers biggest fears, the next step is to work with these in order to create an outrageous guarantee.
This involves offering a return to the customer for not being able to hold up your end of the deal.
So, for example if you do get paint on a customers carpet by accident you could offer them:
- A discount on their paint job
- A refund on their paint job
- Money for the value of their product that was damaged and the inconvenience caused
The more you can offer them the better, but of course it will be up to your business to determine just how outrageous you can get.
When thinking about what guarantee you are going to offer, it may also help to think about your demographic and what their needs are and what they would benefit most from.
For example, if the furniture you ruined was more than the paint job itself, it may be worth offering them money for the value of their product rather than just a discount as this would mean more to the customer.
Factors that help to take your guarantee from blah to outrageous also include-
- Giving your customer more value than when they started working with you by offering double their money back or something similar.
- Ensuring your customer makes no monetary loss on the transaction by offering them a full refund or compensation certificate.
- Ensuring your customer is compensated for other factors like time and effort by offering them money or discounts for being late or having to go through additional steps to get the job completed.
- Taking problem areas and making them a benefit such as offering discounts, additional services or exchanges.
There is no limit to how outrageous your guarantees can get so be creative and work on making them appealing and something to talk about.
Once you have determined the outrageous component you can begin writing out your guarantee in order to make it a selling point for consumers.
Writing and Marketing Your Outrageous Guarantees
Once you have determined your outrageous guarantees it is important to put them all together in an easy to understand sentence or paragraph for your customers to understand.
Here are a few pointers you may want to remember when writing your guarantee:
1.Diffuse the “what if” objection
What if I don’t like the colour I have chosen once it is on my wall?
Phrasing your guarantee as a solution to a “What If” question is a great way to get your customers to stand up and take notice.
The brand Valspar Paint uses the “what if objection” to craft their guarantee by offering customers the option to get a rebate if they decide the paint colour that they have chosen is no longer working for them.
On the company website, the brand states- “At Valspar we believe the right colour is powerful. So if you don’t love the colour you buy, here is how to get another one on us…”
The website page then takes them through a simple four step process to getting a rebate for the colour that they no longer want.
2. Standing Out from the Crowd
The reason outrageous guarantees work is that they get potential customers to step up and take notice. Consider this-
“If you are not satisfied with the quality of your pizza please return it for a full refund”
Compared with –
“Not happy with your pizza? Not only will we offer you a full refund but we will also give you $10 cash back.”
As you can see, the second option is far more gutsy and instantly gets the attention of your audience.
3. Don’t Fill Your Guarantee With Legal Jargon
The best guarantees are short, to the point and are not stuffed with legal terms that alienate your customers from understanding them.
Depending on what services your company offers, avoid using legal jargon and aim to keep your guarantee straightforward and easy to understand.
If you have to use legal terminology for whatever reason, try to keep it as simple and straight forward and as accessible as possible.
4. Add Value to Objections
Adding value to the things that your customers may object to is also a great way to market your guarantee effectively. These objects may include-
- Can I change my mind?
- Can I effectively use this product?
- Can I try before I buy or make a long term commitment?
If your customers don’t get the value they are looking for from your brand, offering them something of value instead of or in conjunction with a refund may be a better way to approach it.
For example, if your house painting company doesn’t finish the job on time not only can you offer them a refund but perhaps also a gift certificate for a local restaurant or cinema tickets that they can use as a way to counteract any inconvenience caused.
5. Don’t Ask Questions Guarantee
Offering a guarantee shouldn’t come with a lot of loop holes and hoops to jump through as this negates the value of offering a a guarantee in the first place.
This is why you should think about offering your customers a “no questions asked guarantee” that allows them to receive a refund or benefit without too many questions being asked.
Of course, you may have to be clever in the way that you word this or offer a time limit to it like – “If you are not happy, return the product within 7 days no questions asked.”
If you are offering a service instead of a product, you may have to be more careful when crafting a “no questions asked” guarantee as it may be too easy for customers to take advantage of otherwise.
A strong and outrageous guarantee can:
- Help your customers to feel less threatened about making a purchase
- Reduce the chance of your customers talking themselves out of purchasing your product or service
- Help your customers feel motivated to buy now rather than later
- Help you nail your competition by offering something different and of more value
- Help you to make a positive ROI
All of these factors can help your brand to increase profits and sales and to also improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Will you work on crafting an outrageous guarantee?
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