If you’re a Canadian and are old enough to remember Eaton’s, Canada’s one-time retail giant, then you might recall the phrase, “Goods Satisfactory or Money Refunded.”
Receiving satisfactory goods or your money back is a policy that has been embraced by many businesses for years. What store have you been to that doesn’t allow for merchandise to be returned for a refund, an exchange, or at least a credit granted?
With few exceptions all retailers offer refunds, but what about the selling of services?
It is much easier to return merchandise that is mass produced and can be resold. Service solutions can’t be rewrapped and returned in their original packaging. By their very nature services tend to be customized to meets the needs of each and every buyer. Money back guarantees for the service seller are a tricky thing.
So if you do offer service guarantees what then are your options?
In their article, “Designing Service Guarantees – Is Full Satisfaction the Best You Can Guarantee? (Journal of Services Marketing),” Jochen Wirtz and Doreen Kum consider four distinct categories of service guarantees:
- Single-attribute specific guarantee – one key attribute of the service is covered by the guarantee.
Example: “Any pizza will be delivered to your door within 30 minutes of ordering or it’s free.
- Multi-attribute specific guarantee – A few important attributes of the service are covered by the guarantee.
Example:A hotel: “Our quality commitment to you is to provide:a friendly, efficient check-in; a clean, comfortable room, where everything works; a friendly, efficient check-out. If this commitment isn’t met, we will give you $20 in cash.”
- Full-satisfaction guarantee – All aspects of the service are covered by the guarantee. There are no exceptions.
Example: Lands’ End’s guarantee: “ If you are not completely satisfied with any item you buy from us, at any time during your use of it, return it and we will refund your full purchase price. We mean every word of it. Whatever. Whenever. Always. But to make sure this is perfectly clear, we’ve decided to simplify it further.GUARANTEED. Period.”
- Combined Guarantee – All aspects of the service are covered by the full-satisfaction promise of the guarantee. Explicit minimum performance standards on important attributes are included in the guarantee to reduce uncertainty.
Example: Datapro Information Services guarantees: “to deliver the report on time, to high quality standards, and to the contents outlined in this proposal. Should we fail to deliver according to this guarantee, or should you be dissatisfied with any aspect of our work, you can deduct any amount from the final payment which is deemed as fair.”
As you can see guarantees #1 and #3 are more related to products, while #2 and #4 are more service related.
But how common are money back guarantees for the selling of services?
I can’t speak for other service sellers, but we offer such a guarantee:
MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: We are so confident that we can save you money and make your business more efficient that we offer an unprecedented MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. If after using our services for 60 days you are not convinced that our unique approach is saving you money and making your business more efficient we will refund 100% of your fees no questions asked.
You can also view our guarantee at our website
So do you offer guarantees for your customers and if so what sort of guarantee do you offer? Is it for services or products or both?