SDG Web Agency Blog

Dishonesty Can Kill Your Business - Couponing Won't Save It

Cesar Abueg - Thursday, April 28, 2011

The first time I use a group couponing service by LivingSocial, and I get a bad taste. I was initially excited because I finally was able to find a useful coupon that I really needed. I don't need discounts to luxury items I don't use, I just needed an oil change and some other work for the family van.

This is a story of how dishonesty can kill your business, and utilizing huge couponing deals won't save it...

If your business sucks, people will know, and they won't reluctantly share the bad news to others. They may purchase once because of the discount they got, but they may never return.

So here's the story folks...

Got a notice from LivingSocial about an oil change and wheel balancing coupon offer, so I paid over $60 and saved $100 or so. Not bad.

Made an appointment, but had to reschedule, yet they were really nice about it.

As I was waiting already for nearly an hour and a half in their lobby with FREE wireless (good job), I happen to stand up and see the mechanic putting back my hubcaps on my wheels. I noticed they put the nice shiny part faced down on the rough surface (not good). The last one he put on, he had issues with, so he took out the ring inside of it,  and adjusted it, while it was nicely laid on the rough surface (that's bad). Once he did that, he installed it on the wheel, and he still had issues with it.

Needless to say, he ends up punching the hubcap in causing two big cracks on opposite ends. Its obviously ruined. I didn't react right away, and merely sat down, hoping that my eyes were deceiving me.

I tweeted about it right then & there, you can see it below:

A few minutes later the acting manager was approached by another employee in the front desk, and he was making some punching actions with his fist, and the acting manager looks at the direction of my car. So I'm assuming, at least he knows and can do something about it. (Not sure if he did really know, but who punches when they talk.)

About 5 minutes or so passby, and the acting manager calls my name and says I'm ready to go. I asked testingly, so "How did it go, any issues?", and he replied about how my wheels were "towing", and kindly illustrated the issue with a toy car he had underneath the counter. That was nice!

He kindly thanked me, and I returned the favor, and walked reluctantly to my car. First thing I noticed, the hubcaps were filthy. I came in the place and it was spanking shiny. I just bought it 2 weeks ago, after waiting months not getting it, because I wanted a certain one. I didn't want to go cheap and get it at Walmart.

Judgement time, and there it was, the nicely cracked hubcap (picture below), that is obviously ruined covered in grease. So I carefully walked back and told the acting manager, and he didn't seem surprised. He looked at it, and I told him that I saw the guy do it. He went back inside to got his phone and took a picture. He asked me where I got it and that he would get a replacement. He said he'd take care of it, and I went on my merry way.

Got a call back from him when I got home, and he said he got a similar one, and that I'd have to come into the shop so they can install it for me. I told him, that would take another hour of my time to do that, since it took me 20 minutes getting there each way. I suggested he ship it, and he boldly refused to do so.

I reluctantly told him I'd passed by when I was in the area to get it fixed. Being non-confrontational in person, I boldly told him over the phone that I wasn't happy with it, and that I had to tell him about "the incident", and that it seemed that they knew about it. He offensively said he didn't know and blurted out, "I don't give cars back broken, if I had known about it, I'd fix it there and then".

Is it me being picky not wanting them to install it, since they broke it in the first place?

What's the moral here...

This is what should of happened if they wanted me the customer to be happy & possibly win their loyalty:

  1. The mechanic should of told the acting manager. (Honesty pays, dishonesty does too, but the outcomes are totally different.)
  2. The acting manager should of got a replacement before all the work was done.
  3. Made sure to check the work before the customer does. Dirty hub caps...come on, it takes a few minutes to clean that up.
  4. Be honest with the customer about the foulness, and...
  5. ...Apologize for the inconvenience & extra time.
Yeah I'm grateful that they got me a replacement, yet I'm ticked that I have to go back, but I'm even more peeved that they didn't even say SORRY! Apologizing goes a long way, and making it right, corrects a wrong. 

They lost a potential loyal customer. 

And no coupon in the world will make me go back. And you figure, if they wanted my business, they would attach those nice stickers underneath your window to let you know when you need another oil change. 

It was a failed attempt to utilize the power of offering coupons.

If your service sucks and you can't retain customer loyalty by wowing them with your service and keeping your brand fresh in their eyes, just close shop and go home, because people will know how you treat your customers.
I hope I wasn't too bashing but rather I just wanted to point out that if you have dishonest practices, and shady customer service, its time to rev up and fix it, because times have changed. Word gets around quicker, easier, and faster than you think.

Lastly, no bad riddance or anything of the sort to coupon sites like LivingSocial, Groupon, and now Facebook Deals & Google Offers. I think they are great. Just choose wisely!

About the Author:
Cesar Abueg Jr. is a ten year web veteran with a passion for business, and people. He is the President & CEO of SDG Agency, a small web design & marketing agency based in Central Florida. He is a FilAm wanting to change the world. You can connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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