The two most dangerous words in business are “satisfaction” and “guaranteed”. If you put them together you have a potentially very destructive policy. Using them lightly can be about the same as digging your own grave. Your epitaph would read something along the lines of “They guaranteed it. They couldn’t deliver”.
As a business owner you are basically promising that your product or service is so good that if your customer is in any way dissatisfied they are entitled to complete retribution. It doesn’t even matter if the product or service actually worked. The dinner plate may have been cooked exactly to order, met every expectation, but the service may have spoiled the experience. Or, maybe the patron had to wait, in their mind, too long.
One Bad Experience Can Cost Even A Loyal Customer
My wife and I went to a Tex-Mex grill last weekend. We’ve been there dozens of times. We both get the same item every single time because we’ve tried everything else and we both order what we know we like the most. We arrived before the dinner rush and there was only one or two parties ahead of us in line. It seemed to take a few extra minutes before the customer ahead of us was serviced. When it was finally our turn to order we stood there for a while before a worker came over with a to-go order for the other employees to fill. The two employees that would’ve taken our orders then proceeded to make the entres on the order. No other workers were notified to help us while the to-go order was being processed. On top of that, there was quite a bit of confusion as they tried to interpret the individual orders on the paper – extra cheese, light on the beans, guacamole on the side, etc. It wasn’t until that order was almost completed when extra workers finally arrived to asked us what we wanted.
“Ok”, I thought. “I’ll let this one slide.” I ordered my usual sweet-pork salad. Yes, I want beans. Yes, I want rice. I took my eye off my order for 10 seconds to handle my restless 2-year-old behind me and next thing I know my salad has guacamole, salsa, chips, cilantro and cheese.
“Hey, is that my salad right there?”, I asked.
“Sorry, I don’t want any of that stuff on my salad. I didn’t ask for any of it. I only want chips.”
“Oh, wow. I’m sorry.”
My wife order her favorite soup. The worker started to put the individual ingredients into the bowl before pouring the broth. After realizing there was no broth, she asked another worker where the supply was (How did she not know herself?). She checked where she was instructed, but yielding no broth. She asked another co-worker, who said they had run out of chicken broth the night before.
It wasn’t like they just ran out an hour earlier. How were the workers not informed that a major food item is not available since the night before?
We eventually got our correct orders and the food was actually fantastic. Everything was spot on, except the service. That experience made me not want to come back to one of the very few Mexican restaurants I actually enjoy. Will I completely quit going there? No. Will I go on strike for while? Certainly. Next time I might even try the competitor’s location, who they have even filed lawsuits against on accusations of recipe stealing. I came to the conclusion a few years ago I like one restaurant better, but maybe it’s time I give the other a second chance.
I’m sure if I would’ve taken time to complain to the manager on duty (or even the owner who I personally know), I could’ve been given my meal comped or a gift card with the price of my meal to use next time. I didn’t make an issue of it, but my wife and I both agreed that was the absolute worst experience we’ve ever had in that restaurant.
Making a satisfaction guarantee involves the customer’s entire purchasing process from start to finish. Not just the end result of your offering. Not just the customer service. Not one or two aspects alone. Satisfaction is the complete package, and it’s not a statement that should be treated lightly.
Business owners who really mean business add an additional phrase to the pot: “Money back”. Now those are fighting words. Nothing says you are more serious in every way than offering a money back guarantee. Basically, “If you’re not completely satisfied, we’re not going to hold you accountable. We’ll just give you your money back.”
Of course this all hinges on how confident you are in your business. If you want make sure you’re not having to honor a long line of guarantees, then make sure your product doesn’t…well…suck. Plain and simple.
Money Where Their Mouth Is
On Thursday, December 6, the Phoenix Suns will make an unprecedented guarantee to their fans that has never been made before in the NBA. As the Suns will square off against the Dallas Mavericks at US Airways Arena in Phoenix, the team’s upper management has guaranteed to every single fan in attendance that if they do not have any fun while at the game, they are guaranteed a full, 100% refund for the price of their tickets. No questions asked. No hassle.
Phoenix Suns’ “Satisfaction Guaranteed Night” on Dec 6, 2012.
It’s not a guarantee the team will win. There is no special price-based promo or giveaway at the door. Management is so convinced that its product, the players, has a high entertainment value, that they are willing to refund every single ticket on Thursday night if needs be.
For those that follow the NBA, you quickly realize that this is a very risky guarantee to make on the part of the organization. The Suns are not particularly a great team. They currently sit 13th in the Western Conference, almost last in their division, and will be a long shot to even make the playoffs at the end of the season. Steve Nash, the team’s most recognizable player over the past eight years is gone, along with all the other half-way recognizable names. The starting lineup looks more like the backup squad for many other teams. On top of all that, they enter Thursday nationally televised game on a 2-game losing streak.
To management, none of that matters. “Just because our players don’t have huge name recognition doesn’t mean we’re not fun to watch and can’t compete. Sure, people relate to star power, but we believe in the team aspect and we’re marketing this team as a team instead of a group of individuals”, Team President Jason Rowley told ESPN.
Now that’s business!
The Bulwark Way
Pest control can be an interesting industry. People pay us so they don’t see insects. If we’re doing our jobs correctly, then our customers go about their day like any other.
Pest control products have become so advanced in research and testing that virtually any pest problem can be contained within a matter of days. With proper attention, even the worst of problems can be completely exterminated. However, scorpions pose a particularly difficult problem because they are such great survivors in any environment. There are also a lot of misconceptions about how scorpions live and what products and methods are best to eliminate them.
Bulwark has endeavored to specialize in every bug our customers see, especially scorpions. We use the very finest products on the market to do this. For this reason, we are the only company in our service areas that offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee. We guarantee that are technicians will be able to completely eliminate your pest problem. Period.
We feel that with proper education and an adequate opportunity to service your home, we will be able to hold up our end of the bargain. There will be times our customers see an uprising in the pest population, such as right before their next scheduled service or immediately after because a new application of products re-flushes them from hiding. For that, Bulwark offers free call-backs in between scheduled services. We will continue to treat and retreat until the problem is fixed. If our customers still remain unsatisfied, we would reimburse their most recent service.
Why are we so confident in our service?
First of all, as mentioned above, we know that we are using the very best products available on the market. We’re using premium gasoline. No regular unleaded around here. Additionally, not only do we strive to hire the best technicians in our industry, but find ways to motivate them to give our customers first class treatment.
How confident are we in our service?
Very. Very. Confident. Enough to make a money-back, 100% satisfaction guarantee.