5 Keys to a Rock Solid Guarantee

Guarantee2 If you’ve been following our very insightful conversation about whether or not you should offer a guarantee to your clients/customers, you might have decided it’s for you.

If so — here are 5 keys to a rock solid guarantee:

Only promise what you can deliver.
  In the comments section David Reich tells the story of a client who wanted him to promise a Business Week cover. He wisely and ethically refused. 

Be straightforward. A guarantee that requires 3 paragraphs of disclaimers is going to be viewed accurately.  You don’t really intend to ever honor it.

No legalese. Use plain old English. 

Prep your staff. Make it very clear how you’d like your team to respond if a customer invokes the guarantee.  Give them the tools, the procedure and the permission to honor your promise.

No questions, no hesitation, no excuses.
   Just do as you promised.  Apologize.  And ask for another chance.

No one pleases their clients 100% of the time.   Why not give your customers a way to express their discontent (better to tell you than 20 of their friends) and give you a chance to make it right?

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3 comments on “5 Keys to a Rock Solid Guarantee

  1. Andrew Clark says:

    Okay, I agree with the “theory” of guaranteeing your work. It’s implicit in all of the work we do as marketing and communications professionals. If we can’t (at least) imply a guarantee, then where’s the confidence in your product/service?. It’s the work that I do that creates my brand/reputation. But it’s never the guarantee that should be the deal-breaker. The guarantee should be “written into your brand” so-to-speak.

    I’ve heard pro and con arguments on guarantees ranging form trustworthiness to deception. I’ve even heard guarantees that simply state that the “agency” won’t guarantee the success of the project… Now there’s confidence-building for ya’.

    If my bid is held up over guarantees or the client expecting success at any cost, then I normally steer away from that particular client. A guarantee can be a double-edge sword. On one side, cutting through apprehension and comforting the client while on the other, slicing through your ability to service the client with true, focused communications and results-driven production. It takes a lot of work from both parties to get to the point that you guarantee specific results…

    I was watching TV last night and ran across a classic Chris Farley scene from Tommy Boy. When confronted with the client’s need for a guarantee, Tommy’s response was (in summary), “Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for right now, for your sake, for your daughter’s sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality item from me.”

    The key in Tommy’s uncontrolled oral aspiration was “quality.” If you provide “quality service” that results in “quality product” you should expect “quality results.” There’s your guarantee – based on and supported with true brand discipline and commitment to the client…

  2. Andrew,

    So, are you are agreeing with Dan who in essence said…yes have one but keep it in your head until you need it.”

    I suppose it very much depends on the products or services you sell. Much easier to launch a guarantee if you make widgets.

    You gotta love the philosopher Tommy Boy! 🙂


  3. Lewis,

    How or where do you present this guarantee to the client? Is it in writing or just verbally expressed?


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