But vouchers can do more and on Monday we are introducing the second element of the service: allowing you to redeem vouchers in-store.
What You Can Do
Before telling you about the mechanics I’d like to take a minute to outline what you can do with this and how it differs from the self-service implementation.
Vouchers can be used to manage any promotion you run in any medium you choose but they can also help in managing an array of day-to-day customer interactions. The benefits of the self-service option were outlined in the previous post so I won’t go into them again. The in-store option will now brings added advantages; allowing them to manage store credit, reduce fraud, track direct advertising and operate limited-time promotions. The best way to understand the different possibilities is to look at some examples;
The biggest issue with the paper-based systems for awarding store credit or gift vouchers is that they are so susceptible to fraud. It is easy for people to photocopy a voucher or forge a signature and you have no easy way to make sure that you catch these without extensive investigation. But using individual vouchers that are limited to one use each gives you a way to check that they are real and make sure that they will not be used more than once. Simply print (or write) the voucher code on your existing credit notes and redeem it when it is used. The voucher itself does not have to have any points on it – a simple message such as “€5 credit voucher” is enough to provide you with a record. And it keeps the revenue commissioners happy too.
Limited-time or Transaction Sales
If you want to generate excitement about your business you can run limited-time sales and promotions; for instance making a particular item half price for one hour. The problem is controlling such promotions since often customers will expect you to extend the terms just for them. Vouchers give you a way to insert these controls.
For instance you can run a promotion in the paper highlighting a promotion (“The first 25 people to present this at our till after 8am on Thursday get a 50% discount”). By printing a voucher code on the advert you can easily set the limit to 25 customers and have the system refuse any further uses. This allows you to tell customers that “the system won’t allow it”. It also makes it simple to control such sales across multiple premises.
If you run an ad that encourages people to come into your business you want to know which ones work and which don’t. By using a voucher code that needs to be brought in at the same time either to avail of an offer or to obtain an extra benefit you can track the effectiveness of the radio, newspaper or voucher booklet you are advertising in.
All of these uses has the added advantage that, because the customer must have a registered card to use the voucher, they encourage membership of your reward program. And the advantages of this are the extra contact and tracking that becomes available to you.
Where can they be used
Because vouchers can be configured so that they are used multiple times you have the freedom to use them in mass-media. For instance you can print a single voucher in a newspaper or radio ad and limit it to one use per person while allowing up to 100,000 people use it. Or you can text individual vouchers to people and monitor which people respond.
Using Vouchers On-Premises: The Mechanics
There is now a new link on the main toolbar, next to the “DEDUCT VALUE” link.
This brings you to the voucher page illustrated below. Simply enter the card and voucher number and any values will be applied to the customers account. If the voucher is invalid for any reason such as having expired, been used too much or not valid for the card then you will also get this information. Remember that you can use vouchers to manage actions other than awarding points (for instance giving a free bottle of wine to the first 5 diners after 5pm). In these cases you are responsible for ensuring the action is carried out along with the registering of the voucher.
Management accounts will also now have an extra section available to them. “Vouchers” is located on the left bar under Communication. Because vouchers are new we have limited functionality for managing them right now. We want to see how they are used before finalising the development of this section. We will develop a range of reporting and other tools based on your feedback but right now what you can do is order vouchers.
The form will ask you for the various bits of information required. Vouchers will be manually generated so we will screen the information you have given us to ensure they are consistent. There is also a section for you to describe what you are going to use the vouchers for. This will help us to make sure that the criteria you specify for the vouchers themselves are suitable for your needs. If we have doubts or are uncertain about any issue we will call you. Because of this manual intervention it might take a day or so to issue you with voucher numbers so please order them as early as possible.
This is the second functional update for vouchers in the last 3 weeks. I believe the flexibility we have built into this system gives it huge power to help your business. As you can see from the examples above, vouchers can be used in many different ways and all have the extra advantage that they get people registering. Whenever you reach out to customers you should consider how a voucher can be integrated into the transaction. And if you have any questions about how best to use it for your business please contact us.