Easy Returns = Easy Sales

The Captain Remanmobile

Six weeks ago, I ordered a performance engine chip for my summer toy. I was really excited at the prospect of increasing horsepower by 10%, which would bring my car to a whopping 181 hp (but, hey, this car is 21 years old…that was a big deal back then). I received the chip a few days later, I got busy, and then it sat on my desk until a few days ago.

I’ve never installed a chip before and I’m not that experienced working on cars (I know, I know…Captain Reman isn’t good with cars? I’m a sales guy), but I am pretty handy, I’ve got a couple of tools, and the chip came with great instructions.

Within about 30 minutes, I removed the glove box, unplugged the ECM, and brought the whole unit inside the house to a clean area where I could safely swap the chip. I was a little nervous, but also very proud of myself for not having broken anything yet.

Just before I popped the top off the ECM unit, I realized the part number on top did not match the one in the instruction manual for my chip. Rats! The instruction manual specifically pointed out that if the part number does not match for any reason, “DO NOT INSTALL THIS CHIP. YOUR CAR WILL NOT BE HAPPY.”

“Screw the car,” I thought to myself, “now I’m not happy.”

“How could they have sent me the wrong part? Now I’m going to have to put the ECM back in and all this time will have been wasted. And, I’m going to have to call back the seller and explain that although I’ve had this thing for six weeks I haven’t had the chance to look at it until now. And, yes, I know that returns are only accepted within 30 days, but isn’t there some way we could solve this?”

I called in, explained the situation, and held my breath. The guy responded,

Easy Returns = Easy Sales

That was it. No arguing, no whining, no begging, no additional charge, no credit card needed, no negotiation, no nothing. The entire call took less than two minutes.

I hung up happy. I also hung up confident that any time I needed parts for my car, I’ll be calling back and ordering from here.

The whole experience got me thinking.

A problem or an issue is really just an opportunity to build a relationship. It’s a chance to show how great you are and how well you stand behind your product or your service. A friend of mine from the AAMCO Transmission chain used to say, “A problem is just an opportunity for a solution.”


Think with me for a minute:

1. How easy do you make it for your customers to return products to you?

2. If you’re installing a part for them, how well do you handle the situation if the car comes back?

3. What hoops do you make the customer jump through?

4. Do you treat the customer as innocent until proven guilty or the other way around?

5. The customer is going to tell a story when they’re done dealing with you. You give them the content, the plot, and the tone. What kind of story will you create? Positive or negative?

6. How you handle the situation becomes the groundwork for the next sale or for a customer who will never buy from you again. What kind of foundation for the future are you creating…or destroying?

Now, ask: “How can we make it better for our customer? How can we make it easier?”


  1. Aron says:

    How true, even if when we fix a vehicle and something goes wrong soon thereafter..the best response is always: “don’t you worry about it bring it back immediately and we will make sure to address whatever immediately” (even if it is the mother in law trying to change your tires!!!!)
    nothing better than a quick positive no holds supportive response!!!!

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