Business and Operations
Power of money-back guarantees: The Pizza Chef
By Diana Cline
A money-back guarantee is a very powerful marketing strategy.
Some of you may wince at the thought – give back money? You’ll go broke! But I ask you: what if someone had a bad experience with your pizzeria? They ordered ham and pineapple and you sent them ham and mushrooms, or vice versa. Or maybe your driver had to brake suddenly and the pizza went flying and ended up getting smushed inside of the box. Or what if the customer chose their own custom mix of toppings and didn’t like the taste? Wouldn’t you do whatever it took to make things right? Send them another pizza or give them a credit for next time? Most of you would. Declaring it to the public is like getting brownie points for breathing.
People are creatures of habit; they could be ordering the same cardboard-tasting pizza from a chain pizza place with crummy service for over three years – and you still have to give them a reason to try you instead. A money-back guarantee creates risk reversal for new customers.
Having a money-back guarantee and advertising it is even better than any awards you could win. You are essentially telling your market that you know that every single pizza that you and your staff make is going to be a great pizza. That it’s worth the hard-earned money that your customer is choosing to spend with your establishment. That you stand behind your product AND your team that makes, bakes and delivers it.
Most pizzerias and restaurants would remake a pizza or refund money for honest mishaps anyway. At Diana’s Cucina, we stand behind the quality of our products and service and we have a money-back guarantee.
Money-back guarantee is like a magical power card. Some of you may be thinking about being taken advantage of, and, I won’t lie, it’s a possibility. Studies show that out of 1,000 people, about three of them will try to take advantage and get “something for nothing.” But the power of the money-back guarantee creates so much great word of mouth and so many good, loyal customers that you don’t need to spend a lot of time or energy on the problem ones. Sometimes we can’t really tell, so we give them the benefit of the doubt and offer to remake the order, credit their account or refund their money anyway.
It’s happened over the many years I’ve been in business that we’ve identified a handful of problem customers. These are repeat “order problem customers,” meaning that with every other order there’s some sort of complaint, and we would resolve it by crediting the account. The follow-up order that’s redeemed on credit is perfect – no complaints. But then, on the next order that’s paid for, there’s a complaint. We’ve flagged a couple of regulars with a pattern like this one and watched closely. At some point, we’ll know it’s not us, it’s them, and then, like a bad relationship, we break it off with them. Like a problem employee who’s chronically messing up, we let them go. We politely tell them that we won’t accept their business in the future. And we won’t. Not everyone is our customer.
This is a strong guarantee in place to let our customers and potential customers know that we stand behind the quality of our pizzas and products with superior service. Our business is built on repeat business, a good reputation and good word of mouth.
While we strive to maintain excellence, we must all realize that sometimes we do make mistakes, and that it’s in our best interest to make it right, every time.
Diana Cline is a two-time Canadian Pizza magazine Chef of the Year, three-time winner of “Canada’s Best Pizza Chef” at international pizza competitions, a judge for international pizza culinary competitions in Las Vegas, Italy and France, and a partner with Diana’s Cucina & Lounge in Winnipeg. In addition to creating award-winning recipes, Diana is a consultant to other pizzeria owner/operators in menu development, creating systems to run a pizzeria on autopilot, along with marketing and positioning to help operators grow their business effectively and strategically. She is available for consulting on a limited basis. For more information contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org