‘Atone for your sins’ with a Gift Card!

Even with your new focus on Value Added Service you’ll STILL (occasionally) face an unhappy customer. That’s why in our SFS Training events I share how to ‘convert’ complaining customers into delighted Cheerleaders.  How?

1)      By quickly diffusing the situation with my 3-step Emotional Judo method.

2)      Fixing the problem quickly and cheerfully.

3)      Making ‘Symbolic Atonement’.  (Doing ‘something extra’ at no charge.)

fix problemYou have lots of Symbolic Atonement options. You can offer to touch up the traffic lanes in the next room, clean a few sofa cushions or their entrance mats or their car upholstery, etc.  But now let me share my ultimate Symbolic Atonement (S/A) gift for any unhappy customer …

Order classy plastic gift cards with your logo and contact information on them with a blank line for the amount.  So now you can whip out a ‘S/A gift card’ and say, “Let me make this up to you.  Here is a gift card for $____ that you can redeem down the road for any of our services.”

If we inconvenienced a customer by being late I would make the Gift Card out for $20.00.  But if we had to put her out by coming back on a complaint then the S/A amount might be for $50.00.  And for a really big mess (even if she was happy) I might make the gift card out for the total cleaning price!

NOTE: Remember these gift cards have so many other uses in your marketing! For example, give $50.00 gift cards to real estate agents and mortgage brokers. (New-to-the-area clients!) Or let charity events auction your $50.00 gift cards off. (Great exposure!) Plus you can kick start your ‘winter slow down’ with gift cards!

NOTE: If our client was still NOT happy with us I would force myself to put on a big smile and write out a real check to refund her money!

The great thing here is your Symbolic Atonement gift card has real value both visually (it IS written on a real card!) and emotionally too.  (“Honey, they gave us 20 bucks off our next cleaning just because they were a half hour late!”) PLUS you are delighting a client by gifting them your future services instead of giving away your precious ‘current cash’!

But the biggest advantage for you? Your customer will almost certainly use your services again to ‘cash in’” their Gift Card. You’ve just salvaged a client from going to your competition and quite possibly made a Cheerleader for life!

NOTE:  CLICK HERE to see a ‘Gift Check’ pre-printed with a “$10.00 off offer” that we handed out by the thousands at home and trade shows. My normal ‘Symbolic Atonement checks’ were blank so I could fill in the amount.


4 thoughts on “‘Atone for your sins’ with a Gift Card!”

  1. Steve, I happen to really like that idea. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve our customer service. Even though, we hope that we will never upset a customer, we all eventually will and do. Your idea is a great way to turn a bad situation into a better one. Look forward to seeing you again in January at SFS in Tampa!

  2. Thank you, Paul. Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads this stuff. So an occasional “that’s a great idea” goes a long way with your SFS team! (Even better is when you share a “Success Story” on what happens when you actually DID IT!) You can tell me about it next month.


    PS Paul, don’t wait to sign up for the Tampa Bay Strategies. (January 30-February 3) It is always our most popular SFS. Hmmm … I wonder why? 🙂

  3. Steve, you will get to meet my lovely wife next month as she will be attending the entire week. We are already signed up for SFS and are looking forward to it. My wife has been talking about it for over 3 months! See you then.

  4. Paul, I’m so excited that Marie is going to SFS. I really have enjoyed talking with her and sharing ideas (and the occasional venting session about working with our hubbies)! I can’t wait to talk to her after she goes. I already told her how awesome it is and that it’s hard to not want to run home and try to start doing everything. Hopefully she’ll learn from my over eagarness and develop a more strategic plan for implementing things then I did my first time around. I’m looking forward to going again (my 3rd time) in September in PA!


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