Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Print Industry ConsultantGetty_stk318122rkn

Recently, I had a problem with a can of spray paint from Walmart. The nozzle was broken, and as I tried to spray pressurized, oil-rubbed bronze on our entry room chair, the paint dripped everywhere and messed with my project mojo. I drove back to the store at 9 PM (burning a gallon of gas round trip) to return it for an undamaged can.

It was well past 9 PM by the time I arrived, so returns were being handled at register 17. I joked off the inconvenience with the customer behind me and mused whether Walmart offered gas discounts for customers who are forced to return items at no fault of their own.

As we were talking, the Walmart employee was quietly ringing up a $10 gift card, which much to my surprise, she handed to me as I left the line. “Sorry for your trouble,” she said. What a simple but powerful gesture, and it certainly deepens my loyalty to that particular store.

It makes me wonder . . . how do your customers handle customer complaints? Are their employees empowered to hand out coupons, discounts, or “we’re sorry for your trouble” gifts?  Examples include pre-printed coupons for store credit, discounts in variety of values (10% off, 25% off, 50% off depending on the issue experienced), and free offers (two-for-one, free replacement item, etc.). Full-color, branded, high gloss coupons, in particular, would reinforce the value of what is being offered.

These simple handouts are easy to produce, turn negative experiences into positive experiences for consumers, and offer recurring revenue for you.

If complaints are coming in through the phone and your clients are hooked into a Web-to-print system, you might set it up so that coupons can be ordered like any other marketing collateral. CSRs could personalize them with the customer’s name, perhaps even their own name “Hope you enjoy the free gift on us! Jenny”), and mail them out the next day.

People love it when you say, “I’m sorry.” Use that to your advantage to boost your revenues in print!