Customer emails

I never in over 20 yrs of being in the business have I ever received an email like the one I did yesterday.

“You have by far the rudest people in your store ever!! I had a coupon from my bank that 1 day past it’s expiration date & you refused to take it. I will be sure to notify my bank of your lack of customer service. I have called & tried to place an order & was asking questions about size vs.servings & the manager was rude & acted like I was bothering her. Totally disrespectful. I am the wife of a Iraq vet & with all the " Military Pride " you think they would have learned the core values. I like the pizza but not enough to be treated so distaste fully. I will also be posting my review on yahoo & yelp”

I was standing next to my manager when this customer called and never once was she disrespecting this customer. In fact it was only a 10 second conversation asking if we excepted expired coupons, then said we will never get their business and hung up. The customer never even gave my manager any chance to talk to her and try to work with her.

I cant figure for the life of me why & where mentioning the military has anything to do with this situation.

I thought about responding back, BUT figured I just need to step back and let it go

Why wouldn’t you take an expired coupon?

I have no excuse or a good answer on to why we dont take expired coupons, we have never had this happen in the past, possilby will change policy after this, just never ever had an experience like this, the customer was just not correct with her info in the email, as to my manager being rude.

I think you’re making a mistake by not responding. I would respond and say something along the lines of “I’m sorry that you had a bad experience when placing your order. Yes, we do accept expired coupons. Apparently I haven’t fully trained my staff regarding this. I will make sure to talk with all of our order takers to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I realize it was frustrating for you, and I apologize again.”

You’ve accepted responsibility, empathized and let her know you are taking corrective action. Leave it at that… don’t go into the “rude” issue. I’m sure your manager wasn’t being rude, but that’s a perception thing and you’re not going to win that argument.

The most important thing to do is respond quickly, before it ends up on Yelp. Our “Contact Us” form sends the e-mail right to my phone… I always try to respond to any messages from customers within an hour… good or bad.

And like bodegahwy said, there really isn’t a reason to not accept expired coupons. We do it all the time, and our order takers are trained to do so. They just say “Give me just a second, I need to get a manger to put in your discount since the coupon is expired.”

Whenever an issue like this arises where I know the customer is incorrect I remind myself that I’d rather be rich than right.

Sometimes you have to fire customers… And most of the time they come back. Me personally- I would have taken the coupon. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. But realistically- you don’t take an expired bed bath and beyond coupon and ask for 20% off of your coffe maker. Customers get ridiculous And I have lost my patience with most of them. You like the pizza? Pay for it. You don’t want to? Then go Somewhere else. You lower your reputation every time you let people walk on you like that. I may sound like a Scrooge but the term " the customer is always right" stopped working when the customer found out about it. People take stuff way too far. Regulars keep me in business. Not the people who come looking for the best price

Actually our local Bed Bath and Beyond(and I believe it is corporate policy) does accept those 20% off coupons that are expired and I don’t think it has hurt their reputation. My feeling on it is that if you are going to lose your patience over coupons, don’t use them. No reason to take something that was meant to grow sales and a customer base and turn it into a tool to lower both.

Daisy, I think that Piper hit the nail on the head and you should respond ASAP. No reason to encourage her to go to yelp and the other sites to badmouth your company.

yes there are several places that take expired coupons, Micheal’s even takes expired competitor coupons.
An expiration date on a pizza coupon should be nothing but a call to order. (OMG its going to expire soon, lets order from daisy). you paid money to get that coupon out there why in the heck would you shoot that in the foot?)
second yes RESPOND RIGHT NOW, PIPER is right on. the one thing I do know is that SIRI uses yelp, that’s the iphone4s app. you do not want that on there NO MATTER whose fault it is.
Daisy one of the hardest thing to do is to admit you are wrong even when you clearly are not…(marriage jumps to mind lol)
If it was me, I would email her, and personally invite her to meet YOU and tell her about being a small business that you are constantly training your employees and tell her how much every customer means to you. eating a little crow and a few pizza can turn this around.
This is the life we all live and its not far but we do have to deal with the 3% aholes

I just had to step back & take a breather, because I was shocked & pissed at the same time, not only becuase of her attitude but also for the fact that she had to throw the military into the mix, I have alot of family in the military and it just pissed me off the way she threw that into the situation. I did respond to her & will see what happens from there. We do not pay for these coupons our local bank puts out, the bank works with alot of businesses in putting out free coupons for local businesses when they have new customers opening accounts

I agree with pakulas comments. We live in strange times and the general public are taking advantage the customer is always right. With that said, the expired coupon needs to be looked at more closely. Was it a general coupon that you send out all the time or was it a deep discounted coupon? I send out deep discounted via email and sms marketing and I will not accept that coupon after the expiration date. Typical responses such as the one you received are from problem customers…yes people, there are customers that lose you money! It also burns my tail end when these few customers threaten yelp or urbanspoon or any other social media!
As others mentioned, send a nice reply back with all the fluff. Do not say that you didn’t train your phone person! Simply say…I would like to apologize for the misunderstanding with your expired coupon. Yes, we accept expired coupons up to a week out and the women on the phone misunderstood our policy. I had a meeting with my staff regarding this policy. Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule during this Holiday season to bring this to my attention. Please accept this complimentary coupon I attached just for your family.blah blah blah and more blah
Thank you,
blah blah

Pizzatime. No its a $10 off coupon for any menu priced item, the bank hands them out too new accounts opening up. Already “politely responded” back will see how it goes from there

Are these typically given to new clients in the area?..Does the bank pay for these or are you absorbing 100% of the discount?..What kind of sales do the clients who use these coupons ring up over time?..I am guessing some of them would have a considerable “lifetime value”…

We pay absolutely nothing for these coupons, we get free advertising from the bank, the coupons are for new accounts opening, the bank works with well over 300 businesses in the county and outlaying areas as well, the bank puts out a book every year with all particpating business, and as a business who participates we give special discounts to account holders, when a new bank account opens they get a key tag showing the are plus members at the bank, the account holder pays $5 a month to belong to the plus member account. The coupons are only issued on a 1 time bases to new account openings, the bank does “not” continue to give them out everytime the same person walks in the door. The business that participates tells the bank what the offer will be. And for returning customers who are plus members, my offer is 15% off any purchase. My one time coupon offer to new accounts is $10 off any menu priced item, the bank prints and issues all coupons, the bank also puts the expire date on as well. Its a win win for businesses, it has honestly brought me well over 100 new customers the first yr we participated, and have been doing for the last 4 yrs, OH also the business is offered a free account at the bank as well, & we also get a free plus member account along with a key tag, it has been great for me, I use my key tag alot and saves me money at alot of businesses

Sounds to me like there is a lot of potential in having those clients in your database…How long is the redemption period on the 10.00 coupons?..Any other pizza places participating in the same program?..My gut says it is in your best interest to accept the coupons even if they are expired…

There is no way telling what the redemption period is on the coupons, unless I contact the person at the bank in charge of the program, just have noticed that mostly all coupons coming in from the bank are well within a 2 week period before they expire… I believe if I recall, they do not put an expire date on them until the customer is handed the coupon, we are the only pizza shop within a 10 mile radius of our location anyway, and its a local credit union that is doing this, there are however about 10 other restaurants listed within the 10 mile radious, but we are the only pizza shop

This is sounding like a very good promotion for you…

Why have an expiration date?

Are you getting a special deal on the food that you can only give a discount at that particular time?

If your deal with the bank is to try to get new customers why bother putting expiration dates on it?

Now, We do have a magazine that requires an expiration date. We will accept a coupon from that magazine about 2 weeks after the expiration date… after that we just try to do something else for the customer to make them happy but we dont accept the coupon cause at that time the next magazine with different coupons are coming out.

Reply to the customer and offer her a pizza for her experience and just accept the darn coupon… its not worth the trouble of chasing emails.

It is…we have gained a ton of new customers :smiley:

To date I have not seen anything posted anywhere on the web giving us a bad review, will just have to keep an eye out, have not heard back from her either

Two quick things I’ve learned about coupons (these may be reminders for most of you).

  1. I prefer “$1 off” as opposed to “One large and 12 wings for $XX.xx.” This, of course, is in case you have to change your menu prices in a hurry.

  2. (and most important) I will never put an expiration date on coupons. Instead, I prefer “Limited time offer” - I don’t need to explain why do I? After all, look what happens when there is a customers with a coupon one day late.

Quasi-related story - I had a customer question the total the other day. Turns out, he had a menu from when the guy before me opened the shop several years ago. I politely explained that I would send a new menu with the price updates.