A while back I went searching for a solution to cool our warehouse. We’re in Florida. Afternoon temperatures are in the mid to upper 90’s, and humidity is frequently higher than 70%. It gets HOT down here! We go into the warehouse to put out orders and the sweat starts to pour!
In my online hunt I found an item that’s called an “evaporative cooler” (a.k.a. swamp cooler). Evaporative coolers are intended for outdoor environments. These are also very energy efficient. And in optimal conditions it can drop the temperature by 20 degrees. Sounds perfect? Almost.
Here’s where it gets sticky. Swamp coolers work best in locations where there is low humidity. If we were in Arizona, this would be a no brainer. But with our Florida humidity, there’s a BIG question mark whether a swamp cooler will work or not. In fact some say it’ll make things worse. No one seemed to be conclusive whether a swamp cooler will work in Florida, some people even said it could make things worse.
I called a company that seemed to be experts with evaporative coolers. The man I spoke with was very helpful and knowledgable. He gave me suggestions on how to work with a swamp cooler to make it work best here in Florida. Cool! Well at this point I was ready to whip out my credit card and make a purchase, but then I asked one last question and that nixed the deal.
“If I order this machine and it doesn’t work for us in Florida, can it be returned?” This poor salesman who had been so incredibly knowledgable and helpful now stammered a little and dropped the bomb on his sale. “No sir, we can not take it back if it doesn’t work for you”, he said. I thanked him for the time he had spent with me and for the good information he had given me and hung up the phone.
Next thing I did was to head over to another website where I could in fact return the unit if it didn’t work out for our needs. That is where the purchase was made. The first salesman who was tremendously knowledgable and friendly lost a sale on one single point – he had no provision to guarantee that I’d be satisfied.
Well what can we take away from this little story? Simple. If the first merchant had agreed to take the unit back if I wasn’t satisfied – he would have made the sale. Same rule applies in our industry. A strong guarantee is GOLD! A rock solid no hassle guarantee takes the fear out of doing business with your company. No hassles makes the cash register sing! If the customer isn’t satisfied, give back their money and move on.
Now you may be thinking – oh yeah Rick that’s brilliant, I’ll clean some loser’s carpet and they’ll take me to the cleaners. Sure, that can happen. There will always be some exceptions, and every once in a while you may lose one. But I’ll tell you truthfully, it’s seldom if ever going to happen. I’m speaking from personal experience here. We’ve had a STRONG guarantee in our cleaning business and in our supply business for years. And we’ve seen that the overwhelming majority of people are decent. They’re not out looking to take advantage of anyone.
What a strong guarantee brings to your company is far greater than what it will cost you. Let’s assume that you have to eat a couple of sales in the course of a year. Let’s assume that you lose $500, or even $1,000 honoring guarantees. Big deal! The increased sales you’ll receive by featuring a strong guarantee will more than make up for any losses. Your gain will be exponential.
My advice is to put together a solid total satisfaction guarantee. Spread the word about it. And then watch how it affects your bottom line as customers come to recognize that you’re going to take care of them and that they have no need to feel nervous doing business with your company.