With my job, I am practically thinking about procurement 24×7. And, often, procurement principles manifest themselves in my personal life.
Sometimes, the same principle pops up multiple times. That was the case in the past week with the topic of supplier guarantees.
There is definitely a difference between supplier guarantees in B2B and B2C. B2B supplier guarantees are more easily enforceable through the principles taught in Supply Management Contract Writing. B2C supplier guarantees, unfortunately, are tougher to enforce.
B2C supplier guarantees sometimes are irresponsible sales puffery. They are put out there to give consumers some type of unearned assurance that their buying experience will be good.
But once the supplier has your money, those suppliers stop caring about your buying experience. Let me share some examples.
A few friends of mine are getting ready to record some songs they wrote. So they are touring various local studios to determine which one would be the best location for their recording project.
At one studio, the general manager said “If you record here, I guarantee that you’ll leave here with a smile on your face.”
Now that type of guarantee just wouldn’t fly in B2B.
What happens if they aren’t satisfied? Do they get the opportunity to re-record at no charge? Do they get their money back? Do they get reimbursed for their time spent? What happens if they are happy but choose not to smile?
See what I mean?
Puffery. Pure puffery just to make a dumb buyer feel better about making a decision without adequate comparison shopping.
I’ve also had some questionable experiences with hotel and airline sites that offer a best price guarantee. Let’s just say that I’ll still check Priceline and Travelocity before making a decision to book through a hotel or airline Web site. Perhaps I’ll share more about those experiences in a later post.
The bottom line is that suppliers who make guarantees should be prepared to deliver their promises or be ready to provide a hassle-free remedy if the customer feels they didn’t deliver.
So the message for purchasing professionals is to sharply examine all guarantees by suppliers to see how reasonable they are. I’m sure that the lame B2C types of guarantees creep into B2B from time to time.