From hero to zero in one fated CRM email

Money-off tools can create great brand value for any customer contact strategy. But they are only as good as the intelligence used to develop and implement them.

Take this example from a leading supermarket delivery company. Yes the money off voucher is for just 1p! Find out the backstory here and critically the customer consequences.

The value of the gesture

At first it was such a nice surprise! Each week I’d receive an email totally unprompted giving me some money off. The company checked the equivalent prices of my shop in other supermarkets to save me money.

Very customer focussed! There was even a certain added intrigue of how much money off I’d get each week.

Then I received my 1p voucher. Apart from being laughable it totally devalued their money saving initiative. Why bother sending me a voucher for such a paltry amount?

The dashing disappointment

My initial response was to disconnect emotionally from the gesture. It left me cold and dissatisfied, and quite frankly feeling unloved. Exactly the opposite of the intent behind the initiative.

However being involved in the business of customers and marketing, I then started to think more rationally about the concept…..and read the text below the bright and bold 1p. I hadn’t even got to reading that far beforehand.

The devil in the detail

So they had checked a comparable shop and I couldn’t save any money. In the absence of savings they felt obliged to offer me money off – a whole one penny.

They promised ‘a money-off voucher for more than the difference so I can use it to start on my next shop!’

Why the token gesture that had so little value for my next purchase?

The customer consequences

I have no doubt, however, that most people take the ‘disconnect route’ and think poorer of the brand despite the positive intent. Exactly the opposite of creating value!

So what does this teach us about creating value in a customer contact strategy?

1. In today’s fast track business world it’s easy to take ideas at face value. Customers want to save money. Fact. However we need to ask how. What are the meaningful parameters for saving?

2. There are different definitions of value. Financial value is the most obvious and straightforward.

Emotional value should be more highly prized, however. When a brand interacts with any customer an emotional contracts starts to form. One careless piece of communication like this one and the value chain starts to unravel.

3. It’s also an example of functionality being available but being used unwisely. Just because a system ‘can’, it doesn’t mean it has to be used at every opportunity. Think customers not functionality.