Are Discounts Worth it?
A few months ago, I introduced the 3-pack New Student 'deal' (3 classes for new students at just $30, expiring in 30 days). I have also had occasional sales on single classes/10-packs/memberships. Overall, most people are very receptive to sales, they abide by any expirations dates and/or stipulations of the specific sale and are very appreciative of the offers.
So what's the problem? Without fail, every time I offer a sale or deal of some sort, we run into issues. People, it seems, begin to undervalue what it is that we are offering, they try to take advantage, they try and not follow the rules. All of the following have happened as a direct result of us having a sale or offering a discounted item:
1. Tula has received a semi-poor Yelp review.
2. One of my assistants was literally screamed at before a busy evening class.
3. I was berated by a student then received multiple harassing phone calls.
4. I was called at 10pm (on my personal cell phone, at home) and begged by a student to let them buy a sale package even though the sale had ended the day before.
5. We have gotten people to try and purchase 2 packs of whatever deal is happening by trying to use different names.
6. We have had people try and 'sneak' into class without signing in (so that we didn't see that their package had expired).
7. We have had people lie about being here before and try to use 'first class free' passes multiple times.
Almost every customer service 'issue' we had encountered has been the direct result of a sale or a discount that was offered. What is about sales and discounts that bring out the worst in people?
I have recently began to question - is offering a discount or sale worth all of this? Since the 3-pack is something that is ongoing, do the advantages of it outweigh these potential problems?
Everyone loves a discount, everyone loves a sale, including me. As a business owner, I want to try and give people a good deal BUT also sustain a profitable, healthy business.
So next time you see a discount or sale at Tula (or any other indie, small business) please keep the following in mind:
1. Almost all small businesses struggle from month-to-month and every dollar counts.
Please don't try and 'trick' us out of a few bucks.
2. When a business offers a sale, there are always very specific, financial reasons why there are expiration dates, sale end dates or stipulations.
Please abide by them and don't ask us to make an exception for you. (Because we really want to, but financially we shouldn't.)
3. Most sales are done with the intention of offering a deal to customers without jeopardizing profit margins or the health of the business while still paying fair wages to employees/instructors.
Please be respectful.