The Optimism of a Guarantee

Greetings.  If you follow this blog regularly you know that I love guarantees and the companies and organizations that offer them.  Real guarantees.  The kind that show an honest commitment to stand behind the products, services and solutions we offer.  The kind that demonstrate just how serious we are about exceeding the real needs of customers.  It's why I'm a big fan of companies like L.L. Bean that guarantee everything they sell by letting the customer decide if they have received the value they expected.  Or companies like Hyundai who reversed their fortunes by providing the best warranty in the automobile business and backing it up by offering cars that were designed and built with greatly improved quality and style.

Real guarantees are powerful.  But do they work in any business?  I'd like to think so.  Assuming, that is, that it offers something of real value.  So I was particularly amused when I read that Dr. Ravi Godse, a Pittsburgh physician and filmmaker was offering a money-back guarantee to customers who purchase his latest film titled "Help Me Help You."  Now before you dismiss this offer as a marketing ploy or a simple act of desperation, you should know that this is not his first film.  He's made two other films that very few of us have ever heard about with the somewhat intriguing (or at least amusing) titles of "I'm a Schizophrenic and So Am I" and "Dr. Ravi and Mr. Hyde."  You should also know that he stars in all of his own movies.  Though you probably guessed that already.  But in "Help Me Help You" he's hired several well-known TV and movie actors including Steve Guttenberg, Richard Kind, Rondell Sheridan and Sabrina Ryan, along with former Pittsburgh Steelers star Franco Harris to join him.  And while I haven't seen it yet–though I obviously have nothing to lose by buying it (other than 82 minutes of my time)–I am somewhat curious about the story line…in which Ravi plays a doctor with a terminal illness who decides to spend his remaining days making other people happy.  

The big question is whether the guarantee, and the publicity it created, will be enough to get me and others to buy the film.

Help Me Help You 

We win in business and in life when we stand behind the things that we offer.  And when we stretch beyond the confines of our day jobs to tell a story with humor and hopefully meaning.

Cheers and have a great week ahead!

Guaranteed for Life

Greetings.  I'm always looking for companies and organizations that truly stand behind the products, services, and solutions they offer.  Folks who have done their homework up front and know how to make and deliver something that lasts.  Sure it takes extra effort to get it right, but it's a great way to get people to buy your stuff even when the price is a bit higher than the competition.  And if something is also "drop dead gorgeous" (check the picture below), as the proud employees of Saris Cycling Group boast about the Bones 3 bicycle rack, that's even better.  So when a close friend suggested this product to meet my bike "schlepping" needs the choice was easy.  

And here's their guarantee…

When we say "Bringing the power of cycling to life," we mean it.  Talk's cheap.  That's why you'll see lifetime warranties on our Saris racks.  Not three years, not five, but for as long as the original buyer owns it.  We believe that cycling is a lifetime sport so why settle for anything less from the equipment that helps you enjoy it.

Saris Use This

We win in business by guaranteeing to meet the real needs of those we serve.  As 2010 approaches, it might be the perfect time to think about the value that you and your colleagues really deliver.  It turns out that standing behind your products, services, or solutions might be an act of simple genius.


The Power of a Guarantee

Greetings.  If you've read Surrounded by Geniuses, you know that I love guarantees.  Real guarantees.  The ones that actually let the customer decide if they are satisfied with a product, service or solution.  Not those wimpy 90-day warranties on things that cost hundreds and thousand dollars.  Tell me that you really stand behind what you sell and I'll gladly sign up to be your customer–assuming, of course, that I have a real need for what you have to offer.  

That's why I adore Leon Leonwood Bean, and why you and your colleagues should have his picture hanging in your boardroom right next to the giant glossy picture of your customers.  He's the guy who, in 1912, had the audacity to create a shoe with a lifetime guarantee.  Talk about being nuts.  Yet today, the L.L. Bean company continues to stand behind every single product they offer.  Boots, sweaters, bicycles, tents, kayaks, fishing gear.  Even umbrellas.  Unconditionally!  All with the same promise…


Which makes me wonder what could be more powerful in helping to set your company or organization apart from the pack than an "unconditional" guarantee of satisfaction?  In fact, how could we lose if we offered (and delivered on) a guarantee that really mattered?  Which leads me to the following questions:
  • What does your company or organization guarantee to those you serve?  And, 
  • What guarantee could you create that would change the game in your industry?  
Take a few moments to think about these questions with the geniuses you work with.  Or better yet, get off your butts and wander around town in search of real guarantees for products, services and solutions.  Then come back and create your own.  It could be the key to your future success.