When doing good turns bad....

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OFB Business School, These are Brand Rituals, This is Brand Positioning } by Christine Edgington (Partner) | Comments (0)

Customers are not stupid. Making a rewards program, refund, return policies or any of these other rebate programs as difficult as possible to receive the benefit is pointless. Just think about it. Many times people make the customer jump through so many hoops just in the hope that many of them won't go through the whole process and they will have less overall payout costs. Frankly, if you don't want to pay/reward a customer for something than simply don't do it. You are better served at just spending the extra money in some form of customer service, brand development, product improvement or enhanced communication tool to make their overall experience better.

Think to yourself:

A) Am I purposely trying to get less people to go through this process?
Don't be a jerk man. You aren't fooling anyone if the person has to snail mail three different cut outs from the package, fill out two forms they downloaded online and a DNA sample just to get a $20 rebate card. Again, people aren't stupid. Making these programs so difficult are typically the most memorable interaction someone may have of your brand....and it won't be a good one. So here is a $20 bill, but you have to get a sucker punch in the face to receive it. Is it the same thing as giving me $20? Not exactly. Take the opportunity to truly make one of the most memorable interactions with your brand a positive one.

B) Would I go through these steps to receive this?
There has to be an assigned value to the effort vs reward, and they should equate. A good gauge for this is looking at the value of the end item I am receiving. For instance, if the end product is a trip to Europe for 3 weeks people are more likely to jump through a few hoops to get there because of the perceived value. However, if the end product is a free appetizer on your next visit or a $10 rebate card there is obviously a lot less the customer should or would do to receive this. Put yourself in their position and walk through the steps. At the end, how would you feel about your company? Now use one word to describe it. Is it a positive or negative?

C) Am I, as an organization, benefiting from the information I am receiving?
Don't just look at the payout cost for these programs and don't just do them to do them. Think about what you hope to accomplish with this campaign or rebate and how YOU will benefit from the offer. In the cost/benefit analysis for each of these programs, don't simply consider the cost to your team but also the value of the information from consumers you receive. Then make a plan to capitalize on that information. For instance if you are giving 15% off on a person's next in-store visit if they sign up for your email program, think about HOW you are going to maximize the value of receiving all those email addresses and take that into consideration when creating the program benefits.

Sometimes people think 'the thought is what counts' but make sure not only the thought but the intention for a program match up with how you want to be viewed as an organization. Every contact point you have with your customer is one more stitch in the fabric of how they view your company, but don't forget that all interactions are not created equal. An extremely positive OR an extremely negative experience could overshadow hundreds of other contact points. For instance...I have been in Nordstroms 100s of times, I am a member on their email list, have bought several things there and interacted with many of the customer service reps only to simply 'like' that store. One time I bought a pair of glasses and the next day I dropped them. When I took them up to Nordstroms to see if they had a repair service they simply said "go grab another pair." No questions, no hassles just 'go grab another pair.' This resonated with me so much that there have been SEVERAL occasions since then I have paid more money for the same product simply because of Nordstroms positive interaction, no hassle policy with their customers.

I simply think it is a valuable lesson in looking at how a single interaction can be extremely impactful when your customers are asking YOU for something. Whether that may be a refund, rebate or sale price, how will you respond?

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