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  • Customer Freebies

    What, if anything, do you give your customers as a little "extra at no charge" as a way of saying thanks, and do you thing it is helpful? Tom

  • #2
    I've been thinking of posting about this for some time, but since it has little to do with my current business, I put it off.

    I'm a firm believer in the concept of "lagniappe" (Nawlins for "something for nothing" or "little gift"). When I was a kid with my first fulltime job working an a camera store, we got a shipment in of accessories. In the bottom of the box was a can of chili. Truly stupid, and a non-sequitur to be sure (more french, but this semi-authentic), but it made a big impression on me (especially since my paycheck barely covered my expenses).

    Years later, when I owned my own company, I was shopping at Sams (a wholesale club, for the uninitiated) and came upon a big box of tiny bags of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. Some quick math told me they were under a quarter a bag, so I bought several boxes. I put them at our shipping desk and told the warehouse guys to put a bag in every box that got shipped.

    Well, in a day or so the phones were ringing, the customers were delighted, and our salespeople were even happier.

    Later on we experimented with other little things, but the customers always wanted to know when we were bringing back the cookies.

    Nowadays the closest I get to implementing this is doing a little something unexpected with the restoration, or throwing in an extra print. I always feel it is good business to deliver just a tiny bit more than promised.
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning


    • #3
      Nothing great but most of the time I do smaller test prints before wasting ink on the full size version. If the test prints turn out ok I will usually give them out as an extra print and the customers seem to be so thrilled with this. Alot of times they were restoring the image for a family member anyway so this way they get a small print for them selves usually about 3x5 or 4x6 in size.


      • #4
        Another aspect of this is the time thing. Promise them the job in say 5 days, but call them on the 3rd or 4th day with the job done. At the very least never promise them 5 days and then not get it done till the 8th or 9th day!


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mike
          Promise them the job in say 5 days, but call them on the 3rd or 4th day with the job done.
          Yeah, but then they expect it in 3 days every time!


          • #6
            I got my semi-monthly pipe tobacco shipment today, which reminded me that they'll occasionally throw in a freebie. I've gotten free tobacco samples, and last time it was a pocketknife/keychain dealy. Did it affect my opinion of them? Well, it got me to pass their url along (

            Another thing, the psychologist Skinner discovered that intermittent rewards are more effective than consistent rewards. Which is probably why there was nothing free in today's shipment.
            Learn by teaching
            Take responsibility for learning


            • #7
              These are great ideas! The cookie thing is simple and quite inexpensive!

              Here's my story: Last summer, I browsed the web for interesting genealogy books and found "In Search of Our Ancestors." Published by Adams Media, it was a companion to a PBS series and full of 101 one- and two-page stories of folks who discovered things about their family heritage. It covered various ethnic groups and was well-designed.

              I was able to purchase the book for about 50% off the cover price for 20 copies.

              For every consumer (restoration) job, I included the book at no charge with "A Gift from Photo Grafix..." label stuck inside the cover. The customer really liked the surprise. I have since cleared out all the books with orders and have purchased a different title by a local author with which I will do the same.

              I too enjoy including extra prints. Sometimes I feel like the "Ginsu" man who would give all these extra things--one on top of the other--making the value grow. Seeing the customer happy with my work and then the extra things really makes my day.

              Many people thing you're crazy to "give" things away. They just don't understand the law of increasing returns. As demonstrated by everyone else's posts, you get plenty for giving. It evident in planting a seed. I bought a packed of lettuce seed, planted it, let one plant flower and go to seed. Now I have 10 times the amount of seed I started with and then some!

              As a new generation retoucher, one of my pillars is goodwill and charity. No one has ever "ripped" me off or taken advantage of my efforts. Maybe it's my attitude. I just believe that no one can ruin my goals and achievements. I share and learn by sharing.

              Sorry for preaching!



              • #8
                At the time of order completion, we give our custtomers a digital file of their image at no charge. No cost to us other than time and our internet connection.


                • #9
                  I just received a shipment of microphone cables, and in the box were a handful of tootsie rolls and sweet-tarts. No doubt that's how the company got it's name
                  Learn by teaching
                  Take responsibility for learning


                  • #10
                    Oh, cool! I didn't even notice this, I thought it was a catalog or something, but they threw in an industry magazine. It probably cost them nothing (free advertising for the magazine company) but would have cost me $5.99. I'm liking this company (Sweetwater), and will give them more business. Too bad they don't do anything photo-related.
                    Learn by teaching
                    Take responsibility for learning


                    • #11
                      I am too generous i always give my customers extra pictures for instance if i am asked to do magnets which i turn a picture into a painting then i print to magnets if i do this and say the paper is a4 size and they want say 3 prints and it has small spaces i add smaller prints so they get more, why i do this is because i was brought up not to leave anything on my plate so i guess its why i hate wasting paper. Thats me anyhow!


                      • #12
                        "Premium Promotion" and one that works for us

                        The first and only rule you need to remember is to never give away your own product!

                        We have been giving away old fashion Christmas ornaments every year for the last three years. I found some old fashion cars, candle sticks and the like on an eBay store bankruptcy auction and bought the entire lot for a few hundred dollars (2000 or more 8 different styes with an original value at $7.95 each).

                        We send out "reminder" Photo postcards in early November alerting our local clients that their ornament is at the Showroom and they can pick it up at their convenience. No strings attached, nor are any intended. It's a gift and they are on a table near the front door. The customers don't even have to say Hi to pick one up.

                        It's been good for business - people mention them often -so I am assuming that it will provide a "reminder" of us for years even though we do not put any advertising on them whatsoever.

                        Jim Conway
                        Timemark Photo Conservators


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