Is there an App for customer service?

A friend of mine posted this comment on her Facebook page: “Why do stores make you print out the coupons they email you? Why make everyone waste the paper? Why can’t you just show them the coupon on your mobile device and get the savings?”

Why indeed. I don’t know the business in question. As a business person I’m guessing the company needs the discount documentation for accounting purposes, which usually requires some sort of paper trail. Helps retailers know that a real customer with a real coupon came in and prevent a case of the retail clerk personal discount to their friends. Understandable.

From a public relations/customer relations perspective, it’s unforgivable. The challenge for a business is to balance the needs for internal processes of accountability with the priority need of not inconveniencing the customer. Because it’s worse to offer a discount to entice a client then piss them off when they try to use that discount than it is to process paperwork or improve a system.

My friend may or may not go back to this retailer. If she had to go home to get the email discount and return, my guess is she went home without the product and posted her rant instead of printing the coupon. It used to be with bad service a client would tell 10 people. With social media, she’s now broadcast to HUNDREDS of people her dissatisfaction with the business, their process, their lack of environmentalism, their unwillingness to find a simple solution or empower the clerks to do so.

Some process solutions could have been to provide code numbers on the email app. That specific unique code could be programmed in at the register. Perhaps if the system can’t accommodate generating unique codes, blank forms could be available at the register for the client who forgets to print one. Capture all the needed data if you must, but make it easy for the customer. As your business builds incentives, think of the end user, not how convenient and easy it is for your accountant. Without the clients, you can’t afford the accountant.

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