Coupons & Customer Service Just DON’T Mix!
By: Patricia Jones
Ever dined in at a restaurant using a coupon?
While I’m not as skilled as the professional couponers, I love sweet deals and use coupons every once in a while (usually in retail stores) if its worth it. Companies provide coupons to drive traffic, in hopes that customers will return based off their service and items received. Most coupons come free in the mail, as people often refer to them as junk mail, or you can sign up on the website of your favorite restaurants/retail shops and receive special offers through email.
For birthdays, coupons can be a huge jack-pot win with most companies offering free item give-aways. I’m a huge fan of special offers, promotional codes, coupons you name it. I love to treat myself and save while doing it. I pride companies who like to give a little to receive a lot when it comes to driving in business.
Sadly, some employees fail to understand and/or consider the concept of coupons. With that being said, I’ve decided to do my own coupon experiment called Coupon Dining vs Non Coupon Dining: The good, the bad ,and the “Can You Explain To Me What Just Happened?” These results shocked me and I thought I’d share my experience with you.
My first ever dine-in coupon experience was at an Ihop Restaurant. The coupon let me redeem a free stack of pancakes on my next visit. Pretty sweet deal right? Well, a friend and I decided to dine in and take them up on that offer.
We were greeted at the door. The wait time for seating was fast and easy. The restaurant was fairly clean and I felt as though we picked the perfect spot. Our waitress was giving us great conversation as she directed us to our table, gave us menus, and even told us about the special for the day. I mean she was owning her position that morning. I just knew we picked a perfect day to dine in with coupons. Oh yeah, let me not forgot to mention my friend had the same offer.
While our waitress left for a few minutes to give us a chance to decide on the menu, my friend and I decided we should let her know that we were dining in with coupons. During our wait, we noticed our waitress quickly seated a larger party across from our table, which was perfect to compare our customer service experience using coupons. She politely gave them conversation while having a bright smile on her face to make any customer feel appreciated. Shortly after, she passed out menus to the larger party. Then she quickly rushed back over to our table to get our order. I proceeded to order my stack of pancakes that was redeemable and so did my friend. After we ordered, we kindly told our waitress we had coupons and the pancakes were in fact free.
Remember that smile I mentioned on her face to make any customer feel appreciated? Well, it disappeared! She quickly grabbed the menus and placed our order with the cook. My friend and I looked at each other and figured this scenario is about to get interesting. We watched patiently while the waitress quickly took the larger party’s order and gave them that same great smile as she served them their drinks. She brushed back by our table and responded “so the both of y’all are using those birthday coupon thingys“ in a lackadaisical, loud tone. My friend and I nodded in embarrassment because she was so loud other customers could hear. Besides the fact, they weren’t for a birthday they were for signing up and becoming an exclusive member. She then stated “Well I’ll just get those coupons after y’all finish eating”. We replied “OK” and she quickly stormed off.
On the other hand, we glanced over at the larger party who was receiving phenomenal service! Their service was so great that they were served before we were. Here we are sitting in Ihop patiently waiting for a short stack of pancakes watching others enjoy their food around us. I soon started thinking maybe this coupon thingy was a bad idea after all.
After 30 minutes of wait time, our waitress brought out our not so good looking nor edible pancakes. We both felt that even though it was free, it wasn’t worth redeeming due to the service received. While eating, our waitress felt it was okay to ask us about our coupons once again. She said “I’ll just take them now“ as she held her hand out trying to hide the fact she didn’t care to assist us. I didn’t understand why she was asking about the coupons when she specifically stated earlier she was going to get them after we finished our meal. We of course handed it to her and she grabbed them and hurried away.
My friend flagged her down and kindly asked her for lemons to go with her water. Can you believe the waitress had the nerves to say they were all bad and she didn’t have any to give out, followed by stating “I’m so sorry“? That definitely put the icing on the cake. We knew she didn’t care to serve us after finding out we were in fact paying with coupons,especially considering she didn’t even give us receipts after checking out. Yet, it was a shocker how our visit quickly turned sour over a couple of coupons.We left feeling our services were not wanted and we decided to never return. Even though I contacted corporate about this issue, I was told the manager will speak with the waitress about this incident and that was all.
Hopefully, while she is over delivering service with paying customers sealed with a great smile, she won’t under deliver her services with those who decide to use coupons during their visit. Couponers Beware!
Just another experience through the customer’s eyes.