The Topsy-Turvy World Of Guarantees
In the world of guarantees there are almost as many variations as there are companies offering them. Each one giving their own interpretation, resulting in something that appears to protect the interest of the company rather than ensuring the customer who has just handed over their hard earned cash.
Don’t we just love it when we make a purchase, either for goods or services and the purchase comes with a water tight guarantee? However, quiet often, as we read through the guarantee and come to ‘Terms and Conditions’ or the ‘Disclaimer Clause,’ our sense of satisfaction is soon dampened. Carefully folding the guarantee, before attaching the receipt and filing it away, we secretly hope that the goods will provide us with a life of trouble free satisfaction and that we will have no reason to cash in on the feeble promise.
Now I’m not saying that either Terms and Conditions or Disclaimers are not important. In many cases they are included for Health and Safety reasons or to enable us to get the most benefit from our purchase. When this the case they should be used with the end benefit in mind, that is to bring a benefit to the customer rather than as a means to dilute a previous statement made under the guise of a guarantee.
In retail today, many of our assistants have lost the desire and hence the ability to serve. By serve I mean that at the point of customer contact, they do the best and be the best that they can. This means having a genuine interest in the customer, possessing a good knowledge of the product or service they provide and representing the company in the best possible light. This may appear like a tall order, however with the correct training and motivation, and having a good system in place, this procedure quiet easily becomes a habit.
How often have we walked into a premise with the intention of making a purchase, only to find nobody around to help or give advice? We can see company representatives, we know they are there, but they are otherwise pre-occupied. Many casually drink coffee, giving out a message, don’t disturb I’m on break. Others constantly check mobiles, too busy to make eye contact. And yet others are so busy running around they haven’t got time to stop. If this is the image we get when we are about to hand over our money, it is certain that we will receive the same image, should we ever have the need to return an item or express our dis-satisfaction about a particular service.
Expressing dis-satisfaction under the terms of a guarantee should be a straight forward and somewhat pleasant task. Sadly this is not always the case. As we make our complaint to a sometimes uncomfortable frowning representative, who quiet often questions us at length, with a what, when how curiosity, we are met with a ‘I’ll see what I can do’ After following them with our eyes, as they go from one person to the next, before finally doing a disappearing act, they emerge in what seems to be an hour later. This time with an upbeat tonality they announce that award winning one liner with roll of the tongue speed ‘Ms Jones normally deals with that, and before you can say … ‘May I …’ you are informed that Ms Jones is away for two weeks. Actually if you get this far you are lucky, on occasion I’ve been met with…. ‘gotta send it back’.
Fortunately there is a greater understanding of guarantees and their positive role in business today. Customers can now, more than ever before, buy with a greater sense of confidence. For businesses, it can be a benchmark by which standards are measured. This, when used as part of an overall strategy can benefit both consumers and businesses. However, the guarantee should be short, simple, and easy to understand. With the exception of one or two clauses referring to improper use, and health and safety references, they are best presented when they don’t contain conflicting references designed to dilute the guarantee.
In conclusion, as mentioned there are many meanings and interpretations attached to guarantees. My favourite, listed in the Cambridge Online Dictionary, states as follows - Guarantee: N Something valuable that you give to someone temporarily while you do what you promised to do for them, and they will keep if you fail to do it. I also like the definition listed in Business Directory.com as – Guarantee: Written undertaking that something is of a specified benefit, content, or quality, or that it will provide satisfaction or will perform a duty or obligation in a specified manner.
How does your guarantee measure up? Click and discover for yourself - http://orancleaning.co.uk/warranty/index.php