CeCe and I are headed up to Oxford, MS, for a weekend of visiting family and watching the Ole Miss Rebels play football. CeCe is on the phone with Delta Faucets trying to replace four defective faucets we have in our house. The first one resulted in over $2,000 in repairs from the leak. The second, I was lucky enough to discover it as the seal first burst and started leaking into the bathroom.
CeCe is explaining to the Delta representative that there’s something defective with this model faucet, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. “We did not ask for any damages with the first defective faucet and we caught the second one as it went bad. All we are asking you to do is replace all the faucets.” I can tell from the stress in CeCe’s voice that the representative is not very cooperative. “We will file a claim for the damages to our house if we can’t get some help with these bad faucets,” CeCe states rather firmly.
CeCe looks up at me, exasperated, “he says all they can do is one faucet at 70% off and the others at 20% off. That is all he is authorized to do.” Then comes the CeCe outburst. “Listen, we put these faucets in our new home four years ago, two have gone bad already with damage to our home and you sold us these faucets with a lifetime warranty. You SHOULD stand behind your lifetime warranty. You gave it, and you should honor it!”
I’ll leave this conversation here, as her words ring so true for our professional services. Why don’t we 100% guarantee our services? How much does a disgruntled client really cost us? We could make it easier for clients to trust us with a money-back guarantee on our services. Are we taking a big risk? Is it a bigger risk to charge a client that is very dissatisfied with our services? Can’t we mitigate our risk by collaborating on the front of an engagement for clarity on outcomes, services and fees? I believe standing behind our services with a money-back guarantee actually reduces our risks and creates the opportunity for higher trust and growth.
Now, Delta doesn’t get a gold star on honoring their warranty, although CeCe was able to get four faucets replaced at 70% off. But we both agreed — they are the last faucets we will buy from Delta.
Who has made their last purchase from us because we did not meet their expectations or stand behind our services? How many clients and prospects will they share this dissatisfaction with? A leaky faucet can be very expensive in the long run.