Monday, March 16, 2009

The Gift Horse Rides Again...

Time to dust off your gift card refund policy and make sure your team knows how to handle the influx of requests that will be coming your way.

Thanks to holiday promotions that we run, clients often buy gift cards for their own use. Sadly, with layoffs on the increase, they're hoping to put the money from this purchase back in their pocket. My operations director Nandita reported to me today that she's fielded three calls in the last few days from guests requesting refunds.

Our policy is to provide cash refunds only within the first two weeks after a purchase.

A client making this request is probably abashed, if not mortified. Make sure your team knows to handle them with kid gloves--and the right amount of empathy. Have them explain your policy gently, if in fact you don't offer refunds.

If you do give cash refunds to gift purchasers, brace yourself!

With cash flow slowing, and operating capital in short supply, gift sales are one of the few ways that spas can raise money. That cash is essential to your health. Hang onto it for dear life!

Of course, you can make a case-by-case call, just as you would for any customer service situation. If you make the business rules, you can break them too. It's always worth weighing the cost of being a stickler.

As my dear friend Holly Stiel tells us, "Being Right is the Booby Prize!"

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