How do you deal with customers who are deliberately abusing coupons?
We have a pretty lenient coupon policy in my opinion - the reason we offer them is to get customers in the door and try our food for the first time. However, there are always those customers that will try to stretch the discount, use the coupon more than once, and complain in front of other customers if they don't get their way. How do I handle this (nicely) while still providing excellent customer service?
You may need to post a note stating that only one coupon per customer a week/ month depending on your policy. This will cut down and they have it in writing. It can be posted on the coupon from this point on, so no one misunderstands the coupon issue anymore.
On the publication of the offer, you write clearly that this offer is limited to one per customer and you take in all the coupons in exchange for the product.
The average redemption rate for coupons across most industries is less than 10%. Even if some customers abuse an offer, that coupon is still working to gain attention for the brand and may possibly create a loyal user for life. The worst possible outcome is to make the customer feel negative about the interaction and the brand. My advice is to chalk it up, let the few abusers slide (as long as it is within reason) and evaluate the entire program to make sure that it was effective.
Explain to them that the coupons are only for "first time" customers, so that they can have a chance to try the product.
"It is clear to me that you have tried the product and that you like it, otherwise you would not be coming back.
As a return customer, I can not give you or accept a second coupon, however if you purchase 2 units in stead of the one, I can offer you a discount off ..."
This way you are looking for a win / win position, along with a position from which they can not complain in front of others, as you are coming across both fair and reasonable.
Cannibalization of revenues due to Coupons and Discounts are bound to happen. Yu could use technology by Capturing the IP address of customers who use customers once and then not allowing any more coupons to be activated for the IP etc.. But do note, as you look at giving value to New Customers , even existing customers will expect the same.. I would suggest you not to worry about the Coupon Abuse unless and until you are going Negative on those orders. Coupons help you on the Topline and burn your bottom line ..
You answered your own question...you have a pretty lenient coupon policy so expect abuse. Otherwise, put conditions on, "new customers only" "single use" and you can require credit card so you have the customer data. You can also have a second tier of coupon in a "loyalty program" that way you let the person who lives for a deal feel he is getting one even if it is not as good as the initial one. If a customer wants a discount make a way to let them feel they are "winning" but use the legal restrictions you are allowed on offers to control abuse.
1. Short, clear and unequivocal terrms of usage printed on the coupon itself and on a clearly visible banner within sell point.
2. Simple method to mark utilized coupons (electronically/physically) .
3. "Legal abuse" procedure, with less discount , for example.
I come from a family with some members who do a bit of this coupon abuse. My mother loves asking for coupons when she purchases anything moderately expensive. It's woman's nature to get the most out of a thing.
Working in customer service, I notice that some people have a knack for dealing with people like mom. They give and take and still keep afloat and the boss loves them. It's important to employ or en-train these people. From my work experience, they are people who know human nature and are living with their own economic trade-offs and getting by on a lower wage etc. You'll find that a good heart and healthy lifestyle surmount all rudeness, even building relationships over it and through the life of your company!
Hope you are asking about customers who are walk-ins in your outlet. This is human psychology for asking more and more discount whenever you offer them free products. you can always add some condition on the same. example. the free coupon can be utilized only after using some or the other service for a minimum amount. coupon can be availed only after generating a minimum bill. Hope i am able to make my point clear.
Coupon policy is the technique of marketing,some point added with the coupon policy with some benefits,e.g first used coupon use in one day then company offer second coupon with different policy and after use of 25 coupon offer bronze coupon,after fifty offer silver, and after hundred offer gold coupon with many benefits,...
Coupons should only be offered to real customers...not anyone that visits you because of the coupon. Use this to determine who really matters to your business and don't bother with those that don't.
Make sure you are specific on your coupon offer. This ensures that customers cannot "stretch the discount or use the coupon more than once. Take the coupon upon submitting so they do not take it with them after using.
Apologize and inform the customer that the computer (register) will not accept expired coupons or coupons used more than once. Other customers usually support this as they just want to pay and leave.
This is what is called "conflict of interests . I mean ,what you want of your coupons is "bring more customers a" what customer wants is a goo deal on products (less price) and this conflict is always there and should be considered in any marketing policy so it's obvious either you change the policy if it's not a good one for your business or you stick to it and take the "strange customers" as part of the risk.
I think you need to revisit your coupon policy. The purpose of a coupon is to get people to buy today - whatever that day is. Putting conditions on coupons will only make people want to game them more or piss them off. Let them use the coupon. As long as they surrender it and come back with a new one tomorrow it's working.
If this is detrimental to your business then you've made the coupons too big or you've got to reevaluate what your actual margins are. Coupons shouldn't break you.
We give a standing 10% off to all military and education institutions regardless of the size or frequency of their purchase. "Abuse" it all you want. I'm thrilled if you do.
The next time it happens give them a different colored coupon for a discount off of something else entirely. Explain that the coupons are budgeted to only allow a specific rate for a specific number of customers but that you want them to get their money's worth ergo a separate discount plan is being developed...then implement a card system with rewards because you might have just found your next strategy.
Consider changing how you distribute your coupons. Your coupons arent' getting into the hands of the right people. You describe the type of person you want to target, but have the wrong people using them. Also, make sure coupons aren't big enough for them to hurt your bottom line significantly. Have enough margin to not have to worry that the coupons will hurt you. Above all, customer happiness is the most important and if they feel they get away with a great deal they are more likely going to tell all their friends. Don't worry too much over a few dollars here or there. As long as the total sum makes you better off.
Keep your calm, always smile, stick to the rules, never raise your voice and be ever so patient.
There are other ways than coupons to get customers in so if you are in a position to influence the marketing strategy you might want to try and find other creative solutions to attract customers. Perhaps some form of gamification?
Rema I don't miss those day. Bernadette made some valid points about credible and honorable businesses. The problem is the people your dealing with in these situations are not credible customers, they are coupon bandits. They will continue to cause scenes and there will be customer(s) in line who will agree with them and some will disagree. That's the nature of the beast. If your a mom and pop, deal with it; if your one store in a big corporation then take care of the customer. If they call someone above you or your boss you will be instructed to give them what they want. I fought this battle for 20 plus years and the company will NOT back you over the customer. I know this is not the answer you were looking for but losing sleep or worrying about something you can't control is counter productive. The verbiage on coupons are very vague in most cases and they are intended to draw customers. The margin on that one item will not make or break your store. I understand, it's that customer that just gets under your skin and you wish they would just GO AWAY. I have dealt with this as a store manager, district manager and regional manager. Good luck !!