Do your customer service reps understand your offers?

How often do marketing departments come up with great promotions, only to have them squashed by customer service reps? Here’s an example from the consumer world:

Pharmacies in the D.C. area are having a major coupon battle. They’re offering $25 gift cards to switch from one pharmacy to another, and they all say they’ll match competitors coupons. All good — until you try to actually use the coupon! Then you can watch in amazement as the staff finds ways to make you feel bad about redeeming the very coupon their marketing department produced. From denying that they honor the coupons to claiming that a transferred prescription is not really transferred because they had to make a call, they go to absurd lengths to make it difficult to redeem the coupons. (Or, just as bad, they try to redeem the coupon, but don’t know how to create a gift card.) So marketing spends a pile of money to get you into the store… and in mere minutes, the clerks make sure you’ll never come back.

Are the clerks torturing customers to ensure they never come back? Unlikely. Odds are they think they are protecting the company from scammers, or they simply have not been trained to manage the company’s coupon-matching policy.

How does this apply to your company or association? Are your customer service reps trained on new offers you distribute? Do they understand that the lifetime value of a member or customer far outweighs the cost of whatever discount or premium you’re offering? Maybe… or maybe not. When our team does marketing audits, we often find that customer service and data entry people are in the dark about offers. Worse, they often tell us that forms are not capturing key data.

Whether you’re promoting online, by email, or by mail, make sure that the people who will fulfill the offer know what you’re offering and why. It only takes a few minutes and it can make the difference between a successful campaign and a failed attempt.

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