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Last week, we released the article Superior Customer Service: Your Loyalty Program’s Secret Weapon. In it, we discussed the importance of customer service to any business, but especially to those with loyalty programs, which rely on a positive customer experience to succeed. In part 2 of this series below, we give some tips on how to enhance your own customer service efforts.

I worked in a call center. Briefly.

Fresh out of college, I wanted to be making money as I searched for a “real job” so I took a position that was notoriously easy to get, at a place that would hire just about anyone.

Admittedly, this company put a lot of effort into training according to client expectations. However, it’s very hard to make a group of teens, job seekers, recently laid-off, etc., really care.

Confession time. Whenever I have to call customer service, I always cringe, waiting for that dreaded phone tree before I ever get to talk to a person.

I think my record is 18 selections before I got frustrated and pounded 0, which wasn’t listed but thankfully sent me to the operator anyway.

Seriously, I prefer to use a company’s website to find hours of operation, pay bills, and all the other automated tasks you usually find in a phone tree.

So unless one of your options is “If you would like to hear a duck quack” then I’m probably not going to find my answer automated in your system. No, if I’m resorting to dialing a number, I want to talk to a person, dang it.

Rant over.

Last week we discussed the importance of building strong relationships with merchant partners. This week, in part 2 of our series about the partnership marketing team at Access, we explore the importance of valuable offers and why merchants trust their business with Access. 

When it comes to merchant discounts, most consumers just want to know one thing: how good is the deal?

But for merchants, there’s a lot riding on the type of discount they can (and should) be willing to offer.

How is it then that the Access network consistently has better offers from more merchant providers than any other value added benefit in America? Especially when deep discounts are often associated with marketing gimmicks that only attract coupon addicts – customers who give their loyalty to the best current deal, not to favorite brands?

There are many retail pundits who say you shouldn't market your business with discounts. They say you'll damage profitability and bring in a bunch of customers that won't come back (unless you bribe them with yet another deep offer).

What a load of hooey.

When used smartly and strategically, deals and coupons may be the best marketing tool a business has.

This is what we know deals can do:

  • Introduce new customers to your business
  • Generate interest in new products or services
  • Encourage repeat visits
  • Increase business during slow periods
  • Create short-term cashflow in a pinch

We could keep going for a while, but you're welcome to check out our collection of coupon statistics for more info.

But there are more benefits from a discount campaign than just dollars and cents.

Have you ever experienced dread while redeeming a coupon?

You know the moment. You hand your coupon over to the server or cashier, and their eyebrows furrow in a moment of apprehension as they stare at the coupon.

“Please don’t call over a manager please don’t call over a manager,” you silently plead.

Then the cashier confidently types in a code, and the coupon is mercifully applied without friction.

But when the cashier is confused? That’s the worst.

You can just feel the eyes of the others in line behind you burning into the back of your head while the cashier waits for the manager to come over (a process that always feels like hours).