July 7, 2016

Tracking Customers’ Happiness Via Coupon Codes

couponsA few weeks ago I ordered from a new player in the specialty food retail segment.  It was a father’s day gift I ordered from them and was happy to see it shipped out ASAP so that it would arrive in time.  When it arrived though, I was less than happy to see that the product they’d sent me was already past its expiration date and was profoundly disappointed (not least of which because it meant I had to frantically find a new Father’s Day gift).

It’s worth mentioning that this was my first dealings with the company so the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth and I (politely I might add) let their customer service team know about this.

Their handling of the complaint was pretty darn near perfect in that, without question, they apologized profusely and shipped another unit out overnight even though I hadn’t asked to be compensated or to have the item replaced (let’s be honest, we all know how hard it is to be a small business and mistakes happen, whether we like it or not. My intent when emailing them was really just to let them know that there was an issue with their quality control).

When I opened the box, they’d not only taken it upon themselves to wrap the item, but they’d also included a coupon for 15% off my next purchase with them.  The coupon code in and of itself is smart as it’s a definite incentive for me to try them again, but it’s what they did with that coupon code that really blew my mind.  It was one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that’ moments…so of course I had to share it with you.

The coupon code they sent me was personalized to me.  By personalized I mean that the coupon code included a part of my name.  This isn’t important to me as the customer, but to the company they can now track how their unhappy customers are responding to the coupon codes.  Is their customer service team able to bring customers back into the fold by acting quickly?  Are their customers willing to give them another chance?  All of this can be read via the usage of coupon codes.

Granted, they could have just as easily created a generic ‘unhappy customer’ email address and received some high level insight into whether these people were sticking with the company or not, but I suspect that by personalizing the coupon code they’re trying to better understand me as a customer and offer me more personalized shopping experiences in the future.

Like I said, this is one of those ideas whose application I can see being used by big and small businesses alike.  All customers want to feel that they’re being heard, understand, and respected.  By tracking the coupons those customers use to the person and not to ‘company event’ as has been done for years and years, helps you learn more about who your customers are both on a high level but also on that much more important personal level as well.

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