Speed-date: satisfaction guaranteed

8th April, 2006

Dear Economist,

I think I’m a likeable person but I struggle to get dates. I’ve been told I give a bad first impression and just need to persuade women to get to know me a bit better. Some friends are dragging me to speed-dating but I can’t see how a series of three-minute conversations can be anything other than a disaster. How I can persuade the girls to give me a second chance?
James Atkinson, Clapham

Dear James,

Many people suffer from this problem – and not just people, but products too. Imagine a new manufacturer trying to persuade sceptical customers that a new DVD player is reliable. Nobody’s ever heard of the company name, so how do they know the DVD player isn’t going to break down after a few weeks?

The solution is for the company to offer money-back guarantees offering to replace the player or refund the customer’s money if the thing breaks within, say, three years. That gives the customer some insurance, but more importantly it’s an unmistakable signal of the manufacturer’s confidence in the product.

People who make poor-quality merchandise can’t afford to promise to fix it.

You, too, need to offer a money-back guarantee…

Continued on ft.com

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