How To Use Your Website To Delight Prospective Customers While Confounding Your Competitors
Our Colorado website design agency works with a wide variety of different types of businesses.
As diverse as these businesses are, though, they often rather similarly—especially when it comes to the wonderful, powerful world of guarantees.
For example, if we’re ever in a meeting right after lunch (aka “nap time”) and want to stir things up, we just have to say: “So, what can you guarantee in your business?”
All around the table, eyes get big and people sit back a little. Maybe even a few arms get crossed. It doesn’t matter what type of business we’re working with.
Because guarantees can easily be taken for money pits—areas where a few customers can take advantage of a business and ruin profits for a long time.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
In this post, we’ll talk about some creative ways to protect—and likely significantly enhance—your bottom line through guarantees.
The Trust Gap
First, it’s important to recognize that in any commercial transaction there’s a Trust Gap. This especially true when the parties have not worked together before. The Trust Gap goes like this:
- Potential customers think: “Well it all sounds fine, but what if I pay good money for this service, and it turns out to be less than meets the eye? Now they have my dough and I’m left with a lemon. I hate to think how hard it will be to get my money back. :( ”
- The business thinks: “Guarantees are a nice idea, but in the real world, a few customers can be real Bad Apples. They use a service and then demand a refund for no good reason. They can quickly bleed us dry.”
Both the customers and the business can be right, right?
So what’s a business to do?
What are your drivers?
The first task is to think about what customer-satisfaction drivers you have in your business.
Why do customers like to work with you? Write down as many aspects as you can think of. For example...
- We hear they love how we do quarterly reviews, even if we haven’t sold them any new services in a while.
- They tell us how knowledgeable our service department is.
- They like how our proposals are more comprehensive than most, and how they lay out the costs and options clearly.
- We get a lot of good feedback when we do follow-up calls to make sure the booking went smoothly.
- We hear from businesses that they appreciate how our hours are longer, and are often surprised when we answer the phone live and not with voicemail.
What can you potentially deliver?
Next, brainstorm ideas about what you might be able to confidently deliver:
- We do those quarterly reviews for our clients anyway, so that’s not a big deal to say it will happen.
- We do spend a ton of time on our proposals, and hear good things about them. We use a template, so we could in fact say that your proposal will cover nine important areas, and will compare prices on six key aspects. We always have one of our senior reps deliver the proposal and they know their stuff. So we could potentially say that you don’t just get something emailed to you, but we take the time to have a senior person go over the proposal, line by line.
- We could say our service does not stop when you pay for your booking, but we also follow up during your stay with us, to make sure everything is going great. And if something does come up that needs attention, we can provide you with a number you can call to reach a knowledgeable rep who will reply within four hours, even on weekends.
- We detest packing peanuts and went peanut-free two years ago. Now that I’m thinking about it, we don’t say that anywhere on the site, and we know some of our competitors still use peanuts.
After some thinking on paper, you should see an idea or two emerge that seems more promising than others.
The best-ever four-letter word
Now it’s time for the prettiest and most-profitable four-letter word in the English language:
That’s right: Don’t attempt to decide what will work, but try out some of the guarantees or assurances you’ve identified. See what you hear back from customers, in terms of sales, feedback, or both.
You can do that with free software like Google Optimize, which allows you to create two versions of a page and then measure which page results in more subscriptions, clicks, sales, or forms filled out.
Another method is to simply modify your website to include these new elements and track conversions, reactions, and sales. See if you notice a change in customer behavior.
Avoid this barrier
By the way, don’t get hung up on the “guarantee” word.
It’s a powerful word to use whenever possible, but if you are not comfortable with the G word, that’s OK too.
Perhaps you have a few products that require special handling, but the vast majority can be shipped the same day, if the order comes in early enough. You could say “95% of our widgets ship the same day if the order is in by 2pm Mountain Time.” That’s not a guarantee but it’s so much more concrete than “We ship fast.”
If you’re sitting there thinking “Well, our competitors don’t do guarantees.” Maybe so, but that might be your golden opportunity to be first in your market with something that helps customers sign on the bottom line with you instead of the competition.
We can guarantee you this: The time you spend thinking creatively about guarantees and assurances will be time very well spent, and just might produce the highest return on your marketing efforts for the whole year.
Note: Just so you know that we “walk the talk” at Followbright, here’s our own guarantee.