Honoring Promotional Incentives

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A major global service provider recently sent me a direct mail piece offering a $50 gift card for a retailer I frequent if I sign up for their online demo. Hey, this is a win-win-win, I said to myself. I like the service provider company and imagine doing business with them on behalf of some of my clients. I’m interested in their updated information.

The mailing piece suggested I reply by mail OR by phone or email. I called. The rep at first acted skeptical that I was a legitimate prospect (I don’t think I sounded like a freeloader!), but I convinced him otherwise and he proceeded to put my contact info in for the gift card and schedule a demo for me.

A few days later, I sat in on the demo and Q&A,

Three weeks passed, and a follow-up call from the rep prompted me to ask if, btw, there was some problem or delay with getting the gift card. He said he “had no control of the gift card delivery once the contact data was entered, but it shouldn’t be longer than 30 days fulfillment period.”

Another month later, after an additional follow-up phone message and two follow-up emails — and no gift card!–  I politely asked once more by email reply, underscoring my legitimate interest in doing business, about the $50 card. His response was that those cards were only for people who sat in on the demo, and did I still have the mailing piece.

As luck would have it, I did have the mailing piece in a file folder (along with 12 pages of the company’s service descriptions that I downloaded to share with clients) and emailed him with the mailing piece code number and the exact date of the demo, which I had jotted on the file. I politely asked again for the gift card.

I added the comment that “given the circumstances of not delivering on a promo promise– I am not feeling very confident in your company’s services.”

His response: “I did put in the request. I apologize for it taking longer than expected. But what does a promo gift card have to do with using our services? Don’t let a gift card get in the way of what we can offer your clients. (boldfacing mine)

 Ah, but it   


DOES get in the way.

In fact, on the “Don’t” list —

Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver!


[Keep in mind that I never questioned legitimacy, or entertained any doubt about this company prior to this failure to honor a promotional deal — and the attitude that accompanied it.] 


The experience made me wonder how many others were deceived. I wonder if the company provides all the services it claims to provide. I wonder if the company thinks so little about $50, what its attitude would be about an invoice discrepancy with one of my clients (or whether they would pad their bill).

The experience made me wonder how true their performance is and whether any of their performance documentation is fudged (there would be very little way to know without hiring a detective). The services they deliver are not always tangible or identifiable. Neither do they always produce accountable results.

Does it strike you as odd that a business (with sales far beyond a hundred million dollars) whose performance is entrenched in trustworthiness, and in the interest of protecting their brand integrity, would balk at making good as promised on a $50 gift card promotional incentive? 

Do you see shreds of bad customer service here?

Or is it just me? 


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Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

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