Should You Offer “Extras” to Unhappy Customers?


February 23, 2017 —

While it is common for companies to offer customers refunds, discounts, “extras,” and more to make amends when things go wrong, Evan Horowitz of Evan Horowitz Advising is not convinced that this is a good move.

“It’s common, if you feel that you have broken your commitment to the customer, to see that as an opportunity to win them back,” he tells readers of Customer Communicator newsletter, “but a lot depends on the type of business that you are in and the kind of relationships that you have with customers.”

In fact, he says, “If you are working on building long-term relationships with customers and you can resolve an unpleasant situation to their liking without relying on gifts or other things, you can build a much stronger relationship with that customer than you can by bribing them with some sort of gift or reward.”

Again, it depends on the type of business.

“If your business is more commoditized and transactional, then some sort of gift might work better,” says Horowitz. “But if you know your clients personally and you are trying to build better relationships, then the best thing that you can do is to let them know that there is somebody on the other end of the line who is on their side, and who is ready to go to bat for them when things go wrong.”

Today’s checklist …

  1. Update or develop guidelines covering the situations in which reps may offer a gift or discount.
  2. Identify the extent of the gift. For example, waive fees up to $XX, provide free service for X number of weeks, provide coupons, etc.
  3. Subscribe to Customer Communicator newsletter so that you and your frontline staff can receive monthly ideas, information, and inspiration on improving the service experience each month.

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