The Amway business model is designed to allow anyone, from any background and any walk of life, to get started as an entrepreneur – no business expertise required.
But what happens when someone who has that expertise considers becoming an Amway Independent Business Owner, also known as an IBO?
In Craig Clickner’s case, he did what any other professional risk analyst would do: He crunched the numbers and checked the claims.
“Because I wasn’t familiar with network marketing, I actually ran what’s called a Dun & Bradstreet report on Amway,” Clickner said. “I did a bunch of analysis in terms of the financials, in terms of the strength of the company, and everything that I found out was really remarkable.”
Common barrier: fear of risk
His analysis showed there was very low risk, and that’s one reason Clickner has been an Amway IBO since 2003.
That fear of risk is one of the most common barriers people face when considering starting their own business.
Direct selling/multi-level marketing is a great way to earn some extra money while being your own boss. But many people see it as a huge risk: How much will it cost? What if I don’t like the products? What if I join and change my mind – am I signing my life away?
A little research on the company you’re considering should provide those answers. Amway recently made that research easy by creating the AmwayPromise, a simplified version of all the company’s consumer protections, guarantees and warranties.
Exceeding protections required by law
While many countries have consumer protection laws, the AmwayPromise aims to go above and beyond those wherever it operates. The United States has some of the most vigorous consumer protection laws in the world, evolving from almost nonexistent before the 1960s to a constantly growing set of laws and protections.
Amway’s insistence on exceeding what the law requires has allowed it to stay ahead of expanding regulations, and to earn a reputation as a respected and reliable company. In addition to benchmarking against industry standards, Amway also surveys the consumer protections of other consumer product companies and competitors.
“Complying with local laws is not enough for us,” said Judy Jones, Amway’s market research lead. “We wanted to go further, to go the extra mile, to help ensure that customers and business owners can have full trust and confidence in the company.”
One way this is measured is by Amway’s adherence to the Code of Ethics established by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA). The code sets stringent guidelines for earnings representations, product claims, sales and marketing techniques, and policies for order cancellations and returns.
AmwayPromise: 5 pillars
The AmwayPromise has five pillars: Low-Cost, Start-up Guarantee; 100% Satisfaction Guarantee; Warranty & Service Programs; Customer Services; and The Right to Know.
The pillars not only ensure that the business has a low start-up cost, making it a low risk to enter, but it also ensures that business owners and customers will be satisfied with their experience once they get started. It’s a philosophy that is built into the company culture. And, for the millions of people worldwide who are forging their own path to success, it is working.
“In Amway, the only way for you to be successful is to be honest, reliable and connecting with people,” said Omar Fabel, who became an Amway IBO in 2014 because “I saw a company that I could trust; I saw a way to be successful.”
With a long history of strong satisfaction guarantees, warranties and customer service, Amway is committed to ensuring everyone who engages with the company has a positive experience – even those who decide the business or products are not for them.
The AmwayPromise builds on that tradition by pulling together all the information about customer service and consumer protections into one accessible platform. The company’s goal is to deliver the most comprehensive customer service and consumer protections in the direct-selling industry.
Pillar 1: Low-cost Start-up Guarantee
Research shows that a large barrier to anyone considering starting their own business is fear – fear of losing money, or of failing, resulting in embarrassment. According to the 2018 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER), a global research study conducted across 44 countries surveying nearly 50,000 people, only 47 percent were willing to take the risk of failing when it comes to starting a business.
Amway’s consumer protections can help ease this fear.
First, starting an Amway business is inexpensive compared to many other business models, which often require a significant capital investment. It costs less than $100 to start an Amway business in any country where the company operates. In the United States, it costs $62 – the same price it has been for years. This is one of the features Clickner found appealing in his research.
“So many people want a startup,” he said. “And that’s great, but there’s so much work that comes with that, so much capital investment, so much time, before you ever can get a dollar of revenue.
“With the Amway business, you can start creating revenue day one, and you can get paid your first month in business. I mean, that’s pretty awesome.”
Amway believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to get ahead. That’s why the company promises to always provide a low-cost, low-risk opportunity to earn extra income. That will never change.
“Amway is proud to offer Amway Independent Business Owners in the U.S. their choice of more than 350 high-quality products to sell, and the training to help start and build a business,” Amway Chief Sales Officer John Parker said. “With a guaranteed refund on the initial startup cost and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee* on all Amway products, the possibilities are great, and the risk is low.”
Pillar 2: 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
If you’re not getting what you expected from your Amway business or Amway product, the company will work tirelessly to make sure you’re 100 percent satisfied.
A key part of the first pillar is reflected here. The company offers a satisfaction guarantee on all products* and the business registration fee. If, for any reason, you’re not satisfied with the product or the opportunity, you can obtain a refund within the timeframe specified.
Customers typically have a variety of return options when it comes to products, including shipping them back to the company, returning them to a local Amway shop or working with the Amway IBO who sold them the products or sponsored them into the business.
Whether it’s a refund, product exchange, or money back on a business registration fee, the company is committed to ensuring customers and business owners are satisfied.
Pillar 3: Warranty & Service Program
Amway’s premium durable goods, such as the Atmosphere Sky™ Air Treatment System, the eSpring™ UV Water Treatment System and iCook™ cookware, come with limited warranties in addition to the satisfaction guarantee.
The company is confident in the quality of its durable products and stands behind that confidence with innovative service, repair and warranty programs. These services are tailored to each type of product and each market where it was purchased, making it easy to address consumer concerns.
“People use their Amway water and air treatment systems every day for years,” said Sze Shong, director of Amway Global Durables Support Team. “We make every effort to ensure quality and reliability to consumers; if something goes wrong, we do our best to make it right.”
That commitment to customer satisfaction provides confidence, said Carrie Bohlig, an IBO since 2003.
“It feels really natural and really authentic to talk about the products,” she said. “I think it’s given me great confidence to talk to people about the products, just because there is the hundred percent satisfaction guarantee on every product* that you get.”
Pillar 4: Customer Service
Each year, Amway receives more than 2 million inquiries to its customer service centers across the globe. It is a point of pride for the company to help each person get help easily and quickly. Even in the company’s largest markets, such as the United States, China, India and Korea, the wait time is less than a minute.
That accessibility is one of the factors that impressed Fabel, the IBO who joined in 2014 because he saw Amway as a company he could trust.
Even as the company expanded all over the world, Fabel said, “you can call the company and you can talk to someone on the phone. Any question that you have, they can answer it.”
Amway has invested millions of dollars into improving customer service and support to achieve that standard.
At the Amway Regional Contact Center in Ada, Mich., more than 300 customer service representatives field calls in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Russian and Mandarin. The contact center has displays of current products; if a caller has questions about the appearance or performance of a product, the representatives can compare them to real samples.
Other markets, like China and Taiwan, deploy different strategies to streamline responsiveness. In addition to personal service, business owners and customers can get immediate access by using chatbots – automated computer programs that allow interaction through text messages on the website.
At Amway Philippines, when they launched the AmwayPromise, they consolidated a confusing network of numerous customer service contact number down only two that are staffed by a dedicated team.
“If you have a problem or have questions, we’re dedicated to making it easy to get the answers you need,” said Len Iakiri, who led the rollout of AmwayPromise in the Philippines and now leads Amway Canada as country manager.
Amway Philippines also partnered with a local courier and cargo company with more than 1,500 locations throughout the country to make it easy to return products or send in durable products for repairs when necessary.
“We feel so confident about our products and business opportunity that we’re willing to make a promise to our customers and business owners,” Iakiri said. “If it isn’t what we said it was, we’ll work to make it right. If the product wasn’t what you expected, we’ll make that right, too.”
The 2018 AGER report confirms that personal service still matters, even in an increasingly digital world. The research found that 75 percent of people prefer to help customers in person, rather than through technology.
This trend remained consistent even with the under-35 demographic, countering the common perception that millennials prefer virtual interaction over interpersonal. Personalized service is still highly valued around the world.
Pillar 5: The Right to Know
Amway promises to clearly communicate and make easily accessible all information related to consumer protections and any additional provisions regarding buying back inventory and canceling registration.
This pillar is about the company’s commitment to making all consumer protections easy to understand and use. It also references the company’s policies regarding Inventory Buy-Back and the Cooling-Off Period, also known as the “Right to Cancel.”
When an IBO starts an Amway business or when a customer purchases product, there is a Cooling-Off Period during which they can cancel their business or return product and receive a refund, should they change their mind.
“Starting a business is a big decision,” said Jones, from Amway’s Market Research team. “Putting pressure on prospects to open a business in the moment, or on customers to purchase product, has been something of an issue in the direct selling industry over the years.
“Amway is committed to ensuring that everyone has a positive experience from the moment they register, even if they decide that the business or the products aren’t for them.”
The other part of the Right to Know pillar is the Inventory Buy-Back policy. In this scenario, Amway promises to buy back all salable (unopened, unused) products purchased, including tax*, should IBOs choose to leave the business.
“These policies really help remove barriers to trying the Amway business or our products,” Jones said. “Solid consumer protection policies make our business very low risk and extremely accessible to customers who are interested in buying our products or business owners earning extra income by selling them.”
Satisfaction from the very start
Amway stresses that all its business owners should educate themselves about Amway’s consumer protections and to highlight them to their team and their customers.
“Amway has always been a people-to-people business,” Iakiri said. “Since 1959, it’s always been about two people sitting down and agreeing to build something special together.
“That’s why we don’t just promote a seal that certifies our guarantees, we stand behind them with a promise—the AmwayPromise.”
*Terms and exclusions apply. Visit Amway.com or contact Amway Customer Service for complete details.