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Better store signs, stop telling customers you sell crap

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During the 1970s Detroit based Kmart had the tagline “Satisfaction Always”. At the time their biggest retailing rival was Chicago’s Sears who had a similar trademark, “Satisfaction Guaranteed”. Both mottoes created a consumer impression that they would be happy with their purchase or they could get their money back. Analysts believed this impression helped the two companies grow.

They were probably correct as both chains diverted from these promises in the 1980s and both would falter, eventually merging in 2003.

Many small businesses and managers within larger companies send an opposite message to potential customers. Instead of instilling confidence they send a subliminal message that says, “I sell crap.”

How?

They put a sign on the door or near the checkout declaring unequivocally there will be no refunds or exchanges. In other words once they have your money they will keep it no matter what.

The signs are often worded “no refunds or exchanges”, “all sales final”, “refunds only with receipts in x days.”

The consumer sees this as a buyer beware message and they will definitely think twice before opening their wallet.

Instead of these signs consider signs that let the customer know you stand behind what you sell. Provide a way for them to get a refund should they so desire. Sure some will take advantage of you but how many sales will you give up to prevent one unscrupulous customer?

This is excerpted from “Send customers a positive message”, part of the “How to” series at getmaximpact.com, a website based in Rochester Hills, Mich., dedicated to business and individual growth.

© Max Impact, used with permission.

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