Well really the big picture is to make money while pleasing the customer.
I have been successful with that most of my career. Long term Successful
Marketing is always about gaining customer trust, repeat business, and
providing an easy buying experience. Nothing worth doing is always easy.
We are just telling you that the approach of offering a rebate is one that
is generally despised by your target audience. It's your business, what
you make of it is up to you. You want valuable information, process what we
have been telling you. Your customers are telling what they don't like,
don't argue with them.
Thanks Leon, your comments are always very entertaining. So, what
exactly did you do in your career (given all the time you spend on the
wreck, I just assume you are retired)? It would seem like you want us
to believe that you were the owner of a business that invented new
products and introduced them with very successful marketing
campaigns. Please do tell us all about your experience. In addition,
I wouldn't mind your answers on a few questions. These are topics
that you raised in your reply. Perhaps you could reach down into the
depths of your knowledge and expertise to elaborate on each one with a
bit more detail.
Do you think that my customers are happy or unhappy with my products
Do you think that I have a high or low level of customer trust and
You know my product line, how much repeat business do you think I
Based on what you know of my business and products, do you believe
that I'm always looking for easy solutions?
Does it seem to you like I'm disinterested, inattentive, or
argumentative to what people are saying in this thread?
I certainly did not reach that conclusion from what Leon wrote.
Note that you specified that a rebate (from the factory, i.e. yourself)
could be obtained if one purchases your product via a new dealer. Here,
you are asking potential customers to line up new dealers for you (yes,
I know it costs lots of dinero to hire a sales organization and visit
each of those dealers independently), but face it, you're asking potential
customers to do _you_ a favor.
Many folks, as Leon and other have pointed out, don't find rebate offers
compelling, and some even avoid such product.
So, after stating so, you attack him. That's not a good route towards
building a customer base, is it?
I would certainly call your reply to Leon argumentative.
On Sep 4, 4:55 pm, email@example.com (Scott Lurndal) wrote:
Well, I suppose it's possible for two people to interpret the same
words in two different ways. With Leon reflecting on the success of
his "career", suggesting various courses of action for me to take, and
waxing eloquent on various paltitudes, it's the conclusion I came to.
Perhaps I'm wrong. In any case, it's not out of line to ask him to
elaborate on a topic that he raised (his "career"). I'd like to know
what qualifies him to be advising me in how to conduct my business.
New dealer, existing dealer - it doesn't matter. Buy from a dealer,
get a rebate.
Yep. No doubt about it. A favor in exchange for a 10% cash rebate.
Something wrong with that? I'm not asking them to go toe to toe with
the purchasing manager and negotiate terms for a contract. Geez, I'm
just offering a cash rebate for those who choose to buy their Aligner
at a dealer.
Indeed they did. I have acknowledged their dislike of rebates. I've
also listened to all their suggestions. I even listened to Leon's
suggestions. When I pointed out the problems with Leon's suggestions,
he started talking about his career, offering a number of platitudes
about what is most important and what I should do, etc. So, I decided
to ask him to qualify his statements. That's all. Let's just find
out what qualifies Leon to be giving me advise in how to run my
business. Wouldn't you like to know more about Leon?
Where did I attack Leon? Please explain how it is an attack to ask
Leon to qualify his statements. What is wrong with asking him to
elaborate on topics that he raised in his message? If the questions
embarrass him or make him feel uncomfortable, or if he finds them
difficult to answer, then perhaps he shouldn't have raised those
particular issues. Perhaps he would be better off raising issues that
he finds easier to discuss.
Well, once again we have two people interpreting the same words in two
different ways. Perhaps you think I'm now being argumentative with
you. I would say that two people can disagree on something without
arguing. Wouldn't you agree? The only way that two people can come
to a complete understanding is to discuss the issues: asking and
Home of the TS-Aligner
In any case, it's not out of line to ask him to
I am not sure that I claimed to be qualified although my experience is
That said, you stated, "You say that there are better ways, please
If you are not genuinely interested in others opinions, you should not have
I don't think you claimed to be qualified either. But, your message
alluded to qualifications so I asked you to elaborate.
Yes, I did.
I am genuinely interested. I have read all of them. Some have led me
to make changes. I've explained why some aren't practical or even
possible. But, you'll have to admit, there was a point where the
ideas stopped flowing and the platitudes started.
There ya go Leon, you are just overqualified for that part time sales
Maybe you can get swingman (or another creative type wrecker) to write you a
You can call it The Overqualifiation Blues.
Yep, I did. And, it is always interesting for me to learn about
another persons life experiences. I hope you don't mind me snipping
it for brevity sake.
Thanks for sharing. It sounds a lot like my brother. He's managed
several retail tire stores. Now he's managing a tire distribution
center for a large national chain.
I do have a bit of experience when it comes to customer service and
support. That's what I did for 17 years at HP. I developed and
implemented the service, support, and warranty programs for new
products. I've dealt with all sorts of customers from individual's
with a printer at home to Fortune 500 companies with hundreds of
thousands of pieces of equipment. I understand customer service - I
really do - on every continent and in every culture of the world.
The last product I worked on was responsible for more than $4 Billion
in revenue (yes, Billion with a "B", one single product!). My
planning (service parts stocking and distribution, call center
organization and training, repair depot training and organization,
warranty terms & conditions, etc.) saved the company more in warranty
costs on this one product than your company's entire annual sales.
Much of this experience has absolutely nothing to do with running a
So admonitions about "pleasing the customer" would, by your own
estimation, be completely unnecessary, right?
So admonitions about "gaining their trust" would, by your own
estimation, be completely unnecessary, right?
Well, the answer is pretty darn close to ZERO. Once a person buys a
TS-Aligner there just isn't much need to buy another. It doesn't have
any consumables. It doesn't wear out. So, "repeat business" just
isn't a very good measure of the success of my marketing programs. I
live on referal business, google, and the occasional magazine article.
So, I guess nothing in your knowledge of me, my company, or my
products could possibly justify an admonition like "Nothing worth
doing is always easy".
Ya, I suppose you would probably consider this to be one of those
times. Sorry. It's meant to clear the air, promote understanding -
not be argumentative.
If there was a point here, I missed it. Most of the time I spend on
the wreck is in the fall. There just happens to be a lull between
building up inventory during the summer and the holiday sales. I
announce the annual promotion and hang around until I get too busy.
So, you probably associate most of what I say with the annual
promotion. And, I tend to spend most of my time helping people with
machinery adjustment/alignment issues.
You do realize that I have been selling the TS-Aligner products since
1991, right? I'm not all that new to the whole customer satisfaction,
sales and profits thing. I don't pay people to rave about my products
newsgroups. They do it because they really are extremely satisfied.
Let's just touch on the "increased sales" thing. That's what the
dealer channel is all about. It's large scale exposure and
distribution like I could never do on my own. That's "the big
picture". I'm not going to drop customer satisfaction. I'm still
going to do everything I can to to promote positive interaction with
prospective customers. But, I just can't continue to sit on a
facility that can produce 100 times more product than I currently
sell. I have to do something. And the dealers just don't understand
the products or comprehend the sales potential. If it were made from
plastic in China and had a 10,000x markup they would understand. But
since it isn't, they need to see some demand before they will commit
Just think about what you are saying. How is a rebate going to
adversely affect *MY* long term customer loyalty? Maybe if they get
pissed off at a poorly administered program, right? Well that's just
not going to happen in this case. And remember, there really isn't
much in it for me when it comes to repeat business.
Rebates are also used to gather demographic info. And, sometimes they
are used to generate mailing lists for junk mail or sales leads for
telemarketing. None of these conditions apply to my situation.
Again, this just doesn't apply.
I appreciate the compliment. But, you have to admit that it makes
your previous admonitions completely unnecessary. If you really
believe this then why all the fuss with the platitudes? I understand
and acknowledge the potential for problems. OK? Yes, these would be
valid concerns if I were thinking of hiring some scum bag company to
administer a program for one of the reasons you state above. But, you
know that this just isn't the case.
Hmmmm..... OK. Sorry about that. Which "r" word are we talking
about? "Ret___" or "Reb___"?
Home of the TS-Aligner
Very fond memories come flooding back when I step into a tire store and
smell the rubber. ;~)
When I was promoted to service sales manager my immediate task was to get
control of the volume of customer dissatisfied customers. Typically on a
Monday morning, our service advisors would receive 100 cars before seeing
the end of the line. A good 50% of those customers were back for the same
reason that they were in the previous week for. I will admit that there
were changes implemented to help the customer more but the product was the
biggest problem along with large corporation arrogance to not build a better
I think that you cannot remind yourself enough as to who is the #1 priority.
I did not intend to insinuate that you did not have your customers best
interests in mind.
Same as above.
Well then my gut feeling was correct. I was not sure if you had other
products to offer or not. I naturally knew that you TS aligner would
probably be a one time purchase from a customer unless you were supplying to
a large shop.
No, it was just a statement.
Yeah, but then again I was only meaning to reinforce the sentiment of others
about the general feeling about rebates. I did not mean to infer that you
would fall in with the group of companies that do not fulfill the
obligation. I just wanted to say that even by association of the "rebate"
term you may draw a negative view by a potential customer. I think you
would have to agree that a few including myself believe that a rebate sends
up a warning flag.
No, I was not aware of that, nor would I have been surprised had you been
selling your product 10 years before that. Nor was I meaning to "whip you"
with the importance of pleasing the customer. I believe that pleasing the
customer cannot be stressed enough. Where I am coming from on this is from
the time I started to work, customer satisfaction was drilled. Drilled but
not proven. I was always fortunate to have worked in a store that had a
high volume of sales. Customer screw ups really did not ever factor in, our
store could have been twice as big and we still would have almost been too
busy with sales. Anyway when I worked for the last company, the AC/Delco
wholesaler, the father and son owned company, I saw first hand how screwing
up with the customer affected the business. Our wholesale operation did not
deal with the public at all. Our business customers provided a list of part
numbers that they wanted to buy and we filled the order. Our inventory
counts were 99.999 % accurate. 5 or 6 times a year we would find a single
deviation in quantity of what the computer said we had and what we actually
had. Our computer reflected the state of our inventory with remarkable
accuracy. Our customers appreciated it when they called for a part and we
said that we had it that we in fact did have the part even if the computer
showed a quantity of 1 on hand. Our customer basically never had to learn
of a back order from the packing slip. He knew when he placed the order if
he was going to receive the part or not. Having said all that, the owners
knew all of the customers personally and when competition stepped in and
started cutting in to the pie we naturally lost some sales. The owners had
become complacent about the #1 priority and would not change to get some
customers back. They would actually "punish" a customer that used another
wholesale provider when they would come back to us to order a part or parts
and would often triple their regular price. I still to this day shake my
head in disbelief. 6 years after I left the company the owners closed the
doors because sales had dropped to the point that having the money in the
bank earned more money than the net profit. The company was not sold, it
was simply closed down and the inventory was returned to GM for a discounted
credit. I believe to this day that the owners never saw the results of
their actions coming. These millionaires lost sight of the #1 priority.
Just think about what you are saying. How is a rebate going to
To restate, I was not certain whether or not you had repeat customers.
Agreed, but the word rebate can portray a negative image regardless of
whether yours is or is not a well oiled machine that fulfills the rebate
If you have not guessed by now. ;~) I take customer satisfaction and
service very seriousely. I am a walking talking proponent of this way of
thinking regardless of who I am speaking with. Many people and I am not
saying that you are one of them, simply don't realize or have never realized
the reason for a down turn in business. Every thing can effect your
relationship with a customer, even things that may not be true about your
business relationship with him.
rebate ;~) I consider it a bad word to use around a customer.
Thanks once again for the lively discussion.
Good luck with your "customer appreciation rewards program".
Yes. There are many "rebates" that (1) I never received, (2) has some
very small detail that if you messed up meant you would never get the
rebate, (3) you have to wait 4-5 weeks to even know if the rebate
worked and (4) If it goes wrong, there is nothing you can do to fix
it, and (5) they want an e-mail address so they can spam you.
For example, I had a rebate that said I must circle the item I wanted
the rebate for. I send in a sales slip which listed ONE item. I
didn't circle it.
I didn't get the rebate.
I will take an "instant rebate" - available at the cash register.
Anything related to a big box store I don't trust.
You got it! My definition of a poorly administered rebate program is any
program that doesn't give me my rebate as quickly and painlessly as they
charge my credit card.
I have been burned so often that if given a choice I usually select the
I appreciate the feedback. Thanks. Can you elaborate a little? What
exactly is the problem with a mail-in rebate?
So, the goal here is to provide some sort of benefit to dealers and
customers at the same time. I want to reward existing dealers with
more business. I want to attract new dealers by creating some direct
demand. And, I want to reward customers with some savings on their
purchase. A "sale" depends on participation of existing dealers.
They aren't generally very motivated because the retail discount
doesn't translate to much at their wholesale pricing. And, it does
nothing to attract new dealers. Besides, it tends to devalue the
product in the eyes of the customer. If you have an idea which is
better than the rebate then by all means share!
Home of the TS-Aligner
"Mail in rebates" are _specifically_ designed/used to sucker that part of
the population who are indeed suckers.
I'm not a sucker, I want to know what the selling price is on the BIG tag up
front, not in the fine print; and I want to pay that price and walk out the
door, done deal, and to hell with a "mail in rebate".
In many retail establishments these days you have to read the fine print to
find out that what you see on the big, easily readable price tag is ONLY the
price should you choose to be a sucker and jump through hoops to go through
the "mail in rebate" scam/promotion.
If you can sell if for $100 and make money, the only reason for the "$25
mail in rebate" scam at $125 is to play the odds and the sucker.
This is one of the most despicable practices in modern retailing and, if it
can't be outlawed, it should be shunned by anyone with any sense until it
becomes obvious to those who use the scam that it will no longer work.
Unfortunately, 50% of everyone who walks in the door is, by definition,
below average IQ, and the "mail in rebate" scammers continue to get away
Personally, I would not knowingly tar myself with that brush were I in the
retail business, but that's just my opinion.
The seller is also banking on a lot of customers buying the product because
it is such a great deal with the rebate, but then they forget, lose the
paperwork and no money is ever sent. Good deal for the manufacturer.
I've bought products with rebates, but not because of them. If it is only a
buck or two, I don't bother with it. Staples has a good program where you
can send the info on line. I've done that with success a couple of times.
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