“100% satisfaction guaranteed.” “Unconditional guarantee.” “Money-back guarantee.” “Lifetime guarantee.” “30-day free trial.”

No matter how it’s written, the guarantee is an essential element for eliminating the risk factor among consumers. Whether they’re buying from your catalog that they received in the mail or from your Web site, they want to know that yours is a trustworthy company. And, that buying from you is a safe venture.

For those of you in the mail-order business you know consumers want to receive a quality product that delivers the benefits mentioned in your advertising. And, if it doesn’t meet their expectations (for any reason), they want to feel confident that they can return it for a refund, exchange or replacement – whatever it takes to keep them happy (and coming back for more).

“The guarantee is perception’s best friend,” said Freeman Gosden, Jr. In Direct Marketing Successs, he wrote, “Guaranteeing your product or service guarantees the perception that eliminates fear of wrong size, color, or the possibility that the product won’t work. That is why unconditional guarantees tend to increase response rates even further. The unconditional guarantee takes the remaining doubt out of the prospect’s mind.”

Even if you’re in retail sales, you understand that the same holds true. Although customers can see, feel and touch your product, when they get it home it may not look as good as they thought it would. The shoes may not match the dress she already owns. . . the lighting fixture may not complement the furnishings. . . and on, and on.

Four Keys to Writing a Great Guarantee

How do you ensure that your guarantee is ‘one of the best?’ How do you establish an outstanding position? When writing your guarantee, consider Cary Kimble’s Four Keys To A Great Guarantee:

1. It should be easy to understand and communicate.
2. It should be meaningful.
3. It should be easy and painless to invoke.
4. It should be easy and quick to collect on.

In addition to these keys keep in mind that, “Part of the process of designing a great guarantee,” small business owner and author Christopher Hart advised, “should be designing and communicating payout procedures that indicate the company is serious. A customer who has to work hard to collect on a guarantee, or who is made to feel guilty, will not leave the experience feeling more loyal. When that happens, the business has lost twice: the short-term loss of money and quite possibly the long-term loss of a customer.”

Satisfaction Guaranteed AND Complimentary Shipping

For example, Zappos.com not only offers guaranteed satisfaction, they provide for free shipping when you return an item. Here’s how it reads on their Web site: “If you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, you can return your order to the warehouse for a full refund. We believe that in order to have the best possible online shopping experience, our customers should not have to pay for domestic return shipping. So if for whatever reason you’re not happy with your purchase, just go through our easy self-service return process to print out a free return label – your domestic shipping costs are prepaid.

What Do Customers Want?

Customers want to know that doing business with you is simple and straightforward. Service them better – before, during and after a sale – by keeping in mind that they want:

  • To be treated courteously.
  • Your product/service to meet their expectations.
  • To be successful.
  • Help with their problems.
  • To be treated as individuals with unique needs.
  • You to respect their time.
  • Someone who’s on their side.

Do your best to take care of, service and respect your customers and they’ll keep coming back for more. Having their wants and needs in mind and following the 4 keys to a great guarantee will help you not only write and develop an outstanding guarantee, but establish successful, long-lasting relationships with your customers.

What your are thoughts? Please share them in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you.

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A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs, business owners and freelancers to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires her clients to communicate their marketing message in a way that captivates and converts their prospects into loyal customers - even if they have been struggling with how to transform their ideas into words in the past.