An integral component of building Raving Fans is rewarding your customers. You sell the best gizmos and provide fabulous customer service (both vital to building good relationships with your customers) but what turns a loyal customer into a Raving Fan?
Coupons or vouchers have an important role to play in saying thank you and making customers feel special. You can have a lot of fun and create a lot of loyalty. Let’s look at when to use vouchers. A list of just some of the applications with examples follows. When you get the idea make sure you look at the last item “what to remember” before you set up your own vouchers.
Giving away things for FREE or discounted requires a bit of thought.
When to use vouchers: Saying Thank you
Vouchers and coupons are a great way to say Thank you. Use them when your customers complete a survey for you or when they first become a customer. Can you imagine going into a florist, purchasing flowers for you wife, completing the registration form…then when you open the computer the next day at work…hey presto a thank you email with a voucher towards you next purchase, to welcome you to the “we don’t forget important dates, Florist!”. Nice touch!
When to use Vouchers: To move slow stock
Say you are a fashion shop. the Summer Sales are upon you so you generate a coupon to send to your loyal customer database and offer them an advanced opportunity to purchase before the general public. Summer sale starts on 1 June, come in any time the week prior, present your coupon and purchase at sale prices – offer only available to customers of the Chic Fashion House. They feel special. They have a choice of all stock before general release and chances are, they will visit and purchase.
When to use Vouchers: Announce and move new stock
A florist has just ordered a pallet of designer pots. A new line for the business. She generates a voucher offering a special deal to her loyal customers. she offers a better price than the one she intends to offer to the general public. Special delivery at a special price – due to go on sale on 1 September at $10 per pot, we are offering our “Flower Family” a sneak opportunity to purchase at just $8.50 per pot when you purchase two. In a single email, you have raised awareness among your loyal customers of a new line you are carrying and again you are making them feel special. From their response, you’ll also get an idea of how popular it’s going to be!
When to use Vouchers: Cross-sell other products and services.
How many product lines do you carry? A few? Do your regular customers use all your services or just one or two? Do the ones that use just one of two even know about your other services or products? What would happen to your business if say 20% of your existing customers, purchased one other product or service from you? It’s a pot of gold!!! And you have it. Just a quick note to thank you for your purchase and to include a voucher for our “Pretty Pots” – at least that’s what we think they are! Use your takeaway voucher to purchase one of our Pretty Pots and see for yourself. Look forward to seeing you next time. In a single email you have raised awareness among your loyal customers of other products or services they may not be aware of, and you have encouraged them to purchase.
When to use Vouchers: As an inducement to place another order / Up-selling
Coupons can form part of an ongoing promotion to encourage repeat orders and prevent customers straying. Often customers just wander off. You have done nothing wrong they just have a competitor’s name to hand at the time they want to order and hey presto, they’re gone! A printer completes a job for a new client. The client’s information is now on the database. A thank you and Coupon is emailed out immediately offering a discount or an up-sell on a second order. I.e. the customer ordered 10,000 brochures. As a thank you he is offered a voucher for 500 business cards FREE with his next order. This printer will qualify the size of the next order on the voucher, and the expiry date. He can gang up multiple businesses, to make his business card offer really economic to print.
When to use Vouchers: Filling in a slow time in the season
Lots of companies dread particularly slow times of the year. They know they are coming but have difficulty cranking up work. Now you have a database, you can offer any number of inducements to help fill in this slow time. Imagine you are a car repair company. Every year you have a particularly slow period in January. Plan ahead. This year you are going to offer a free wheel alignment with every service if booked before Christmas for a January job. Tourism operators are very seasonal. In February everyone goes home and your resort is empty. Do a deal with the local cinema and send out a coupon to your more local market that would like a special night out. Offer a “Fab February Flick” deal. Book a room and get a free cinema tickets to whatever is on that month. Lots of ideas it just needs pre-planning and you should never be sitting dreading that slow month again!
What to remember?
When considering sending out a voucher, make sure you consider: What value – Giving away something free or discounted requires thinking through. Is it going to cheapen my product? Is the amount I am sacrificing worth the additional revenue? Can I pick up the cost I am sacrificing by increasing my charges anywhere? Once you have satisfied these questions, move on. Put a cutoff date for the offer.
You don’t want them valid for too long because customers tend to procrastinate then end up never using the coupons or vouchers. Similarly you don’t want them brining a voucher into your business in 2 years and expect you to honor it.