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Happyfying unhappy customers through gift cards

Happyfying unhappy customers through gift cards

"a man came into my store, which had only been open for three weeks, and freaked out that we didn't have any Great Value Sugarfree (with Splenda) Sliced Peaches (...) He cursed at every employee and manager in the store (...) and somehow, got connected all the way to [the CEO]. I had to hold a case in backstock at all times in case this [he] came to the store. Furthermore, our Regional Merchandising Manager was told to personally deliver a case of the peaches to the man, along with a $100 Walmart gift card and apologize 'for his inconvenience'."

- Curt Bryant, ex-Manager, Walmart, recounts an incident at the retail giant.

Source: Quora
The truth is, there is no other way to handle an irate customer. Your apology could diffuse the issue but to win him over, you must do something more. Because not every retailer can afford to have Walmart’s EDLP (Everyday Low Price) advantage.

Move over EDLP. Let’s welcome EDHC!

‘EDHC’ means Everyday Happy Customers. And no, you don’t have to be a deep-pocket player or a venture-backed firm with the wherewithal to absorb losses to build customer loyalty; because, building customer loyalty is more about mastering the second (or, third, depending upon how you see it) customer touch-point than the first one.

Chief Customer Experience Investigator, Jeannie Walters, breaks some long-standing, market-myths about touch points and asks retailers & e-tailers some hard questions, including mistaking channels for touch points (‘Online is a channel, online chat could be a touch point’), the whitewashing of arbitrary encounters between customers and businesses as one, among others.

Ms. Walters argues that it is high time business owners take an ‘inventory of touch points,’ in the form of use-cases. One of the meaningful touchpoints she identifies is, ‘I want to stop being a customer. How do I cancel?’.

Source: Experience Investigators
This is where the buck stops. Can you, as a business owner in the retail/e-tail space, extend an olive branch to an unhappy customer (remember, an unhappy customer is one who is, in most cases, unhappy with just a transaction she has had with you)? Which bring us to the second touch point.
The first touch point is the primary moment of contact between a brand and a customer. Think of consumer promotions. The second one happens if the same customer comes back, unhappy, with an issue. There are two ways to handle such a customer: (1) address the reason for his unhappiness, or (2) make him a loyal customer.
The first option is the easiest. You provide the customer with a credit note that can be offset-ed against future purchases. But even if you do it well, you cannot still guarantee that the customer will come back to your store in the future. The issue with a successful refund process is manifold.
  1. It can be time-consuming. In most cases, it takes a couple of days for the refund to reach the end consumer. This will inadvertently push customers to postpone further purchases until the amount reaches their accounts.
  2. Cash refunds result in cash outflow. Card refunds could be subjected to further payment gateway charges, leaving customers red-faced and the brands squandering what would have been the only way to win back such customers.
The second option is the most effective. You invest in QwikRefundx. QwikRefundx uses gift cards as a mode of issuing fast-tracked refunds and thus convert disgruntled customers into loyal ones. There are multiple advantages to it.

  1. It provides business owners with the flexibility of issuing refunds through plastic or digital cards.
  2. Refunds can be tied to customers’ email id or mobile number for instant delivery.
  3. Business owners can configure ‘refund rules’ as per business needs.
  4. It works well with our wallet solution, QwikWalletx.
    1. This allows owners to consolidate refunds with other offers for each customer.
    2. And the end consumers to club various refunds during purchases.
  5. It provides seamless redemption experience across multiple touch points.
  6. It drastically improves customer stickiness, sales uplift, and breakage.
  7. It helps owners to capture the refund & purchasing pattern of every customer.