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Give ‘Em What They Want

Next week I’m sending out a coupon. $20 off a $100 Purchase. I need to generate some cash flow and get some traffic through the door.

For the past two months we’ve been shut off from the community on two sides by federally funded construction projects (Mr. Obama, I’m not feeling very stimulated). So I’m sending out a coupon – givin’ it away – to generate some sales.

As I’ve said before, sometimes you gotta choose between profits and cash flow. This time I’m choosing cash flow.

The toughest part for my staff (besides ringing up the coupons properly:-) is dealing with the customers who want to skirt the system.

Even though the purpose of the coupon is to stimulate some new business, I’ll have a handful of customers who want to use it on a previous sale they did in the last few weeks.

Some customers will try to use it on sales less than $100 (It’s $95, isn’t that close enough?).

Others might buy $100 worth of stuff and bring $50 back the following week.

So how did I instruct my staff to handle these situations? Simple…

Smile and say, “Okay!” Yep, give it to ’em. Don’t hassle them, don’t belittle them, don’t upset them. Just do it and move on.

You see, the customers who do that are so few and far between – maybe 3% of the totally coupons used – that they aren’t worth the complaints they could generate. And they aren’t worth your energy. At worst, they aren’t profitable customers at all so don’t waste your time. Just give ’em what they want and move on. At best, they might return the kindness you show them later.

It’s not about “playing fair”, it’s about taking care of your customers – all of your customers.

As my good friend and fabulous writer, Becky Blanton said,

“When there are no score cards you’re not tied to a specific game. You’re free then to succeed”

Don’t get sucked into those kinds of games with customers, don’t get caught up in what is fair or not fair. And most certainly don’t keep score.

That’s how you win at customer service.


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