I saw this post on Facebook and wanted to add to this conversation as a marketing professional. I usually post my opinions on Facebook, but I believe that I needed to adequately format my ideas.
If I were to give the cashier the benefit of the doubt, I believe the main issue is the communication gap between the marketing and customer-facing departments. Since it’s the marketing department’s job to explain this, I’ll consider the disconnect a lapse on the marketing supervisor/manager’s end. However, it’s the branch manager’s job to ensure everyone is up to speed on campaigns, events, and efforts. So the blame falls on the branch manager, then the marketing manager, before the staff member.
Only after sufficient briefing and explanation can we blame the customer-facing staffer for his behavior. I’m acting under the presumption that when people are told why something is important, they will take extra care in handling it. I also believe that people inherently do what is right for them.
To the customer-facing staff members or cashiers that hate handling GCs: Let me explain why GCs are essential to business operations and not just an “additional step” or hassle to encode.
Why do companies use gift certificates?
Gift Certificates (GCs) are often the product of a marketing campaign, whether it’s a partnership (collaborating with another brand/company), push (trying to sell specific slow-moving items), or promotion (discount, freebies, etc.). Companies often use GCs for marketing when sales and retention are low and they need to find more potential customers (lead generation) from adjacent markets.
What could happen if people don’t use their gift certificates?
Marketing campaigns look at conversion to see how well their effort is doing. If customers are discouraged from using their GCs due to lousy customer service, at least one or all of these things can happen:
- You have botched what would have been a great lead generation or partnership/collaboration campaign simply because you can’t be bothered to track the GCs used.
- It will reflect poorly on your branch (if this was a nationwide campaign and your branch is the only one with a low conversion rate).
- The company wasted its resources in printing GCs that ended up being unused due to poor staff reception.
Marketing budgets are spent with the expectation of generating at least x10 or x20 in revenue, so if the GCs don’t convert into sales, something is up. I don’t need to tell you what comes after consistently low profit and low sales (hint: you lose your job or the job loses itself, whichever comes first).
Why should you care about the company’s numbers?
Of course, as an employee, you’re not obligated to care about these things. The company pays you for the 8 or 9 hours of work, and not necessarily the service quality. However, poor customer service or getting enough complaints can either get you fired or make the company lose its business altogether in a worst-case scenario. As a worker, you should at least care about keeping your job.
Consumer types and why customer service is necessary
Customers don’t always operate in logic, and Analytical is the only one of four consumer types that don’t shop with their emotions.
Consumer personality types
- Analytical customers decide using logic and information. They often compare prices before going to the store.
- Amiable customers decide on the comfortable choice that benefits the most people, such as buying products made by eco-friendly, ethical, etc. companies.
- Driver customers with decisions based on the respect and power you give them (VIP privilege/social status).
- Expressive customers who shop with the need to be appreciated, adored or recognized by others.
If you check the common customer personality types, you’ll find that only 1 out of 4 are indifferent to customer service. Analytical buyers will buy a product because it’s the cheapest, most functional, etc. They don’t care if you don’t talk to them the whole time as long as their desired products are in stock. However, 3 out of 4 or 75% of the customers you will deal with will put your treatment as a primary or secondary consideration for purchase. If no one ever told you this before, I’m telling you now.
The customer is always right
The necessity for excellent customer experience is the main reason the Philippines has a 30 billion-dollar Business Process Outsourcing industry employing millions of Filipinos. Retail shops of luxury brands will always have one or two staff members on standby to greet and welcome every customer by the door, and such is the nature of the customer-facing job.
The extra 5 to 10 minutes of processing a GC could make the difference between earning a new loyal customer or losing your job. So encode the GC like your livelihood depends on it because oftentimes, it does.