Who else is loving this new world of value? With daily and weekly online deals and coupons, we barely have to pay full price for anything anymore... besides gas. If we want these coupons to stick around for the long term, we all need to practice coupon etiquette - businesses and customers alike.
Offering a deal has many benefits, but bringing in new customers without being prepared can backfire. Deal sites offer great tips - here are a few more to ensure your customers get a good deal and a great experience:
- Educate your staff on the coupon's details. Anyone who deals with customers day to day should be familiar with all coupons you have in circulation. Try posting a list at the register for easy reference.
- Get sales stats from your couponing partner ASAP. Are you going to need to staff up to handle the increased business over the next few days or weeks? Plan accordingly.
- Staff should knows how to accept the coupon graciously, and how to apply it to the bill - customers should not feel awkward or "cheap" about redeeming it.
- For services (like spa treatments) or meals, clearly communicate tipping suggestions. Make it easy for your guest to understand the experience's value so they can tip on the full value vs. stiffing the staff.
- Have a backup plan for handling expired coupons. Do you politely but firmly decline its redemption? Do you offer a lesser value (like free dessert or a sample body lotion) or do you make an exception and allow full redemption? It’s up to you. While your customer should be educated in the parameters of coupon use, not having a plan for how to deal with these situations can cause unnecessary friction.
You’ve gotten a great deal. So pay attention to the deal details to avoid awkwardness and give the business a good couponing experience, too.
- What is or isn’t included? Does it exclude alcohol in the meal? Does it require purchase of a certain type of entree or duration of massage? Don’t expect customization - read the details, then take it or leave it.
- Is the expiration window too tight for you to realistically use it? And if you do buy the coupon, set up a calendar appointment two weeks prior to an expiration date to remind you to redeem it.
- Let your waiter or service professional know up front that you have the coupon and clarify what it includes to help you avoid confusion when the bill comes.
- If your coupon covers the full cost of an experience and the establishment won’t have to run your credit card, come prepared with cash to tip your service provider accordingly... on the full value of the service or meal. You've gotten a great deal - hold up your end of the it deal by being a fair tipper.
- Don't let your deal get away! Keep track of your deals in a dedicated email folder, your coupon printouts in your wallet, or get the apps for most of these programs where you can store your deal data.
- Has your coupon has expired? Call the establishment, ask if the deal is still being honored, and if so, get the name of the person who gives you the thumbs up. Or call it a loss and get out of their hair.
- Did you enjoy an experience? Show your appreciation for the deal by spreading the word and revisiting the establishment in the future.
These deals should be a win-win if everyone plays their part. Do you have any other tips to share for business owners or customers?
Not sure what we're talking about?
Groupon, LivingSocial, Restaurant.com, FourSquare special offers, Charlie's Steal of the Week, DealMob, and the soon to launch Google Offers are just a few deal of the day (or week) players who offer products, services and experiences at a discount.
Have any to add?