I get squeamish emails from clients all the time asking if they need to offer an IT services guarantee. Here’s my final position on the matter — if you’re looking for an easy way to differentiate yourself from the competition and overcome price resistance, the answer is yes.
Guarantee What You Sell
If you can’t guarantee what you sell, you need to improve your services or find something else to sell. Most of the fear of offering a guarantee has more to do with insecurity rather than substantiated fact.
If you provide a great product or service that delivers the results you promise, you should have no negative repercussions offering a guarantee. Adding an IT services guarantee should make it infinitely easier to acquire new clients. The only way to know for sure is to test it. Will you get the occasional unfair, unsubstantiated request from a customer who wants their money back? Of course, but it should not be the majority. It’s part of the cost of doing business, just like uncollected debts from the occasional deadbeat client.
Types Of IT Services Guarantees
While offering money back is an effective, popular guarantee, there are three general categories. They are:
- Guarantee the lowest price. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cheapen your services or lose money. It can be “lowest price we’ll ever offer,” not “lowest price for IT support in the area.” You could also find one product or service you can offer at a discounted rate.
- Guarantee satisfaction. If a client is unhappy with the service, you’ll redo it for free.
- Guarantee service level, quality or performance. Your network won’t go down for more than “X” minutes. All help calls are answered live by a tech. Your data can be restored in “X” minutes or days. These are specific guarantees that can help differentiate your business.
These guarantees can be combined in different, creative ways depending on your business. If you offer a guarantee, you better be prepared to fulfill it.
There will be people who abuse the guarantee or are completely unjustified in their requests. We often get marketing toolkits back with parts missing and clients who download and continue to use copyrighted materials after requesting a refund. But it’s a minority, and we’ve gotten far more sales as a result of our guarantee.
Do not guarantee something you cannot or will not deliver on. You don’t have to go above and beyond your guarantee. If your IT services guarantee only covers a year, you are not obligated to refund a client two years later.
However, you should ask yourself, what can you offer to ensure it’s a big, bold, unbelievable guarantee?
Making Bold IT Services Guarantees
A few years ago, I did some consulting for an IT test prep company. My advice was simple — guarantee your customers will pass their exam on the first try or you’ll refund their money. The CEO almost passed out when I suggested that. He was positive massive refunds would cause them to go out of business in a few short months. He wouldn’t even test the idea to see what would happen.
However, his biggest competitor did test the concept and made it their standard offering. What guarantee did my client cling to? Buy our test prep software — if you fail the exam twice within 30 days, and send us the original receipt and proof of your failure, we’ll refund your money. This is not a good guarantee. There are too many hoops to jump through and conditions surrounding it.
Think about it from a customer’s perspective. If you need to get certified, which company would you rather buy test prep software from? Company A that requires you to take and fail an exam within 30 days to get your money back, or Company B that unconditionally guarantees you’ll pass your exam on the first attempt or you’ll get your money back?
There are a few instances where it doesn’t make sense to offer a guarantee. However, I’ve always found that offering a guarantee on a good product or service increases sales dramatically more than refunds. As with all marketing initiatives, you can always test it before setting it in stone.
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