Let's assume you have a brilliant product or service, and you want to make it an absolute no brainer for people to buy it. What can you do? One of the best things you can do is to take away all the risk for the purchaser and give a guarantee.
People these days are worried about being ripped off and want some reassurance that you will not do that to them. By offering a guarantee you reassure them of your good intentions and in doing so, you will reduce their resistance to buying your goods or services.
All businesses can offer voluntary guarantees in addition to those required by law no matter if they are selling goods or services. You just need to be a bit creative. You can offer:
* Money back guarantees - where you refund the purchase price for whatever reason
* Time guarantees - where you guarantee a person to be on time or a job to be completed on time
* Satisfaction guarantee - where you guarantee people will be happy with your product
* Results guarantee - where you guarantee a particular result will be obtained (e.g.: page 1 on Google for 50% of your keywords within 12 months)
* Product guarantee - where you guarantee the particular qualities of a product (e.g.: won't go hard in the tube)
* Price guarantee - where you guarantee a particular price point (often used if someone sees the same product elsewhere advertised at a lower price)
* Service guarantees - where you guarantee a particular standard of service
Here are my top 10 tips for guarantees:
1. The longer the better! In most parts of the world, people are entitled to a refund within 30 days of purchase. The fascinating thing is that the longer the guarantee the less likely it is that someone will return it. If you only give a 30 day guarantee you place urgency on the person to use it/test it and then get back to you if they are unhappy, you are triggering increased returns. By extending the guarantee period you will surprisingly reduce your return rate. The longer the guarantee = the stronger the guarantee.
2. Go beyond the norm for your industry. Remember when cars used to have a 12 month warranty and then one company suddenly offered a 3 year warranty - what happened to their sales? Go beyond the norm in your industry for your guarantee and test the results.
3. Give 100% back. If you are going to give a guarantee then give every cent back to the consumer. Don't hold back handling fees or other fees and charges. Give the lot back! You will end up with happier customers and less returns.
4. Take out the fine print. If you offer conditional guarantees you will create bad blood with your customers. Take out all the "subject to" and "if you tell the person at the time of the event" type of words. It is best to offer an unconditional guarantee for the most power and yes that means if they don't like the colour of your shirt they can ask for a refund.
5. Take out the hype. In the past few years some people have been offering "triple your money back", "$100 for your trouble" type of guarantees. People see them for the hype they are and steer away from them, particularly in the Australian culture. If your product is as good as you say it is, a straight money back guarantee is enough.
6. They make you cringe. The best guarantees will make you feel a slight cringe in your stomach as a business owner. You may feel worried there will be hordes of people lining up to get their money back. The truth is you will get a few returns, but the good will you will generate is priceless. If your guarantee doesn't make you slightly cringe you need to stretch it.
7. Focus on the positives. Write your guarantee in a positive way "if you are not overjoyed with our XYZ product for any reason simply returns it for a full refund".
8. Act quickly. If you get a refund request, then you need to action it within 24 hours if possible. The longer you delay, the unhappier the person will become and the greater the problem you are creating for your business.
9. Don't take it personally. Treat all refund requests as merely feedback that you need to listen to rather than a personal attack and treat the person making the request as a valued client rather than a problem. By not taking it personally you have the opportunity to build relations rather than break them down.
10. Honour your commitments. With all voluntary guarantees you need to honour their terms and conditions. By stating a voluntary guarantee you have created a contract with the person and you could be up for penalties if you don't honour your commitments.
If you want to learn more about your legal obligations for warranties and refunds in Australia visit the ACCC website.