Sit. Stay. Fetch. Making Clients Beg for Treats
By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS
“It is a truism to say that the dog is largely what his master makes of him: he can be savage and dangerous, untrustworthy, cringing and fearful; or he can be faithful and loyal, courageous and the best of companions and allies.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes –
The day finally arrived. You know, the one you wait for with the anticipation of Santa for December 26th. What is this most anticipated day? It is the day I can finally claim my free birthday item. Yours might be from an accessories store, a hardware store, a local restaurant. Mine is from my beloved coffee shop and I had all I could do not to camp out overnight to make certain that I started my birthday off on the right foot.
As the line slalomed its polite yet frenetic way through the designated course to the counter, I double-checked the e-mail on my phone to be certain that I followed the instructions.
“Bring your registered card or mobile app to the store to redeem your reward”.
Registered card in hand? Check!
Balance on card? Low, but check!
Desired Birthday Coffee memorized and ready to order? Check!
Card handed to cashier? Check!
Imagine my surprise when the cashier requested further payment for my free Birthday Beverage. My card balance was now $0.00 and I was being charged for a gift my coffee shop said they gave me. When I asked the cashier about it, showing her the e-mail, she said that I should have told her beforehand, then moved me along and took the next person in line.
The e-mail informing me of the birthday gift made no mention of my need to inform the cashier. In fact, the e-mail implied that the only way to receive my gift was to use my card and that because my card was registered, all I had to do was present my card at the counter and everything would be taken care of. Eventually, I straightened it out and received my birthday gift, though not after having to jump through hoops and beg for my treat.
What started out as a nice surprise, turned into an ordeal that tainted my day and my relationship with a business I have been loyal to thus far. The next time you offer your clients a gift, keep the following things in mind:
- Be clear as to the details of your offer.
- Test and review your offer until you are certain that your message will be understood as intended.
- Train your staff thoroughly on the details of the offer/gift and empower them to correct misunderstandings as they happen.
- Make your offer/gift easy to redeem. The less your clients have to do to receive the gift you’re giving them, the happier they will be. To keep things in perspective, imagine how your family or best friend would react and feel if you made them do what you are making your clients do to receive a wedding present, birthday, or anniversary gift.
In the rush and the struggle to find new ways to reach out to your clients, thank them, and reward them for their loyalty, it is easy to lose sight of the basics enumerated above. Of course, there are also the technical aspects of sales tracking and other business considerations that have a say in the final offer and how you administer it. To create the most effective promotions, you need to find the right balance between your business needs or restrictions and treating your clients like the Human Beings they are. Remember, your clients are not dogs. Do not make them beg for treats. If you treat your clients well, they will reflect that treatment back to you and your company.
Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS
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