Auto Service World
Feature   November 1, 2002   by Gordon Cameron and Ken Keis

Marketing for Results: The Unsurpassed Guarantee: The One You Never Should Have to Use!

As consultants, we travel, staying with various hotel chains. One venue we prefer is Delta Hotels. Better beds, better food, friendlier staff?Not necessarily. We like their special pledge to customers...

As consultants, we travel, staying with various hotel chains. One venue we prefer is Delta Hotels. Better beds, better food, friendlier staff?

Not necessarily. We like their special pledge to customers-they guarantee our wake-up call will arrive within 5 minutes of the requested time, and check-in will take less than 2 minutes. If they don’t deliver on those promises, our room is free.

Do we choose Delta because we might get a free room? No. Here’s why: we appreciate the reciprocal understanding they have created with their customers.

1. When you travel, the last thing you want to do is wait 20 minutes to check in after being on an airplane for 5 hours. Being served in a timely matter is critical.

2. With strange hotels and time-zone changes, the business traveller fears missing a wake-up call, and being late for a business meeting.

If Delta Hotels are willing to guarantee a service point to such an extent, we know they must have those service procedures “perfected.” Because of their assurances, the possible horror stories that business travellers fear most become non-issues for us. What a brilliant concept!

Simply put, an Unsurpassed Guarantee:

explains what the company won’t do, and

promises what the company will do.

An Unsurpassed Guarantee is designed never to be used. Any business that offers such a guarantee must have flawless internal processes in place, and the customers know it. If by some fluke they do fail, the payout to the customer is quick, with few strings attached.

Many managers complain about the cost of an Unsurpassed Guarantee; the cost of “making good” shows on the Profit and Loss Statement, and managers are accountable for that. But if your business refuses to establish and support reasonable service guarantees, the consequences will be dissatisfied customers who stop doing business with you – which will have an even greater negative impact on P and L.

It’s much easier to sweep poor service under the rug if you don’t have a guarantee that dissatisfied customers can and will act upon. Research proves, however, that a relationship with a customer is actually stronger if you fail – and make amends promptly – than if you don’t fail in the first place.

What are your company’s guarantees?

Are they designed to keep you competitive in the marketplace? Do they put you ahead of your competitors?

Do you wish to lead your organization to break through barriers and focus efforts on things that need fixing? If you do want to move your business toward Unsurpassed Guarantees, first identify your motives.

If you are using the guarantee as a marketing tool, we suggest that’s the wrong reason.

If you have a genuine desire to improve your business practices – and build customer loyalty and retention – then go for it!

Getting There

1. Start by defining all your current and existing guarantees.

2. Analyze if and how the guarantees are communicated to customers, and how often the guarantees are activated.

3. Decide what your guarantees are supposed to accomplish, and determine if they are serving your goals. Many guarantees are “Wimps”-they sound good, but their restrictions and “fine print” render them worthless to the customer.

4. Identify the areas of customer dissatisfaction and express them as a guarantee. Add a payoff that will motivate specific departments to sit up and address its customer-service challenges – and act to rectify them.

5. Test each guarantee, informally and selectively, before you announce it to your customers. Once you declare it, there’s no going back.

Set your desired level of excellence, then work consistently to achieve it. The ultimate goal is to be the best you can be, for the benefit of all concerned.

About Results Consulting Group Inc.

Results is an international full-service business consulting company with special expertise and experience in the automotive industry.In the past five years alone, Results’ team of automotive professionals has trained more than 20,000 automotive personnel-and logged thousands of in-store consulting-project days, from independent operations to national and international chains. Senior Partners Ken Keis and Gordon Cameron have over 45 years of combined business-ownership experience and 15,000 hours of automotive consulting experience. The Results Performance Institute provides a full range of information products and services designed to increase your business and individual performance, including personal one-on-one coaching, in-store consulting, on- and off-site educational sessions, tele-conferences, videos, and audio solutions. Results also provides appointment-scheduling and dispatch software solutions-ServiceMate-specifically designed for the independent maintenance and repair sector. Results’ copyrighted service marketing and operational system, “0% Customer Defection & 100% Customer Retention,” has a proven track record of increasing service gross by 10-20% and beyond-in less than six months. For further information about Results and its automotive and business solutions, call us Toll Free at 1-866-852-4347,

email, or visit our Website at