If you print it, you should honor it
I went out for a lovely Italian dinner last night with a friend. The waiter was pleasant, the food was pretty good, the wine was poured a little higher than it probably should have been. But the night took a terrible downward turn when I presented the server with a 10% off coupon that I had clipped from the multi-page book that gets mailed to me each month with hundreds of local deals.
“We don’t accept this anymore,” he said.
“Is it expired?” I asked.
He brought the coupon close to his face to read the fine print. “No, there’s no expiration date. We just don’t take the ValPak coupons anymore.”
“Doesn’t the restaurant pay to have their coupons printed in the ValPak?” I asked.
“Well, yes. But they just decided to stop accepting them.”
I knew that the piece of paper in question was a recently clipped coupon; based on the small number of folds and how none of the ink had worn off from rubbing against dozens of other coupons in my handy-dandy coupon wallet, I estimated I had carefully filed it under the “restaurants” tab less than a month ago.
I have no idea how to run a restaurant, and I’m no expert in the coupon-printing vs. coupon-accepting cost analysis. But part of the reason my friend and I decided to go to this particular restaurant (that shall remain nameless but feel free to identify it in the photo at right) was precisely because I recalled I had this no-expiration-date savings in my purse. I feel strongly that giving us customer satisfaction by honoring their own promotion would have been well worth the six dollars and 70 cents it would have cost them.
I may not be a food industry professional, but what I do know is this: A satisfied client may or may not pass your name on to a friend or two; a dissatisfied one will surely tell 10 before the next day. And if the dissatisfied client has a blog, it may well reach hundreds or thousands.
Do right by your clients and customers by honoring your own promotional materials.