Sales from gift cards and vouchers increased by nearly 25% during the first half of 2021 compared to the previous year, according to data from the Gift Card & Voucher Association.
In cash terms, that equates to about £1.25bn in sales.
Many of these gift vouchers and cards come from popular brands like Wowcher and Groupon.
These work when customers purchase a deal with your business through Groupon (for example) usually to get a better deal on a purchase with you, and the cost of the purchase is split between you and Groupon.
Groupon or Wowcher get their share of the revenue immediately, because the customer bought the voucher through them.
And you get your share when the customer uses the voucher at your business.
And this is where the potential problems start.
Because to claim the purchase, the customer needs to contact you.
And if you don’t answer the phone or give them an easy way to claim their purchase, you may never see that money.
Counting the costs of lost gift cards
In the UK about £300m worth of gift vouchers go unspent every year according to the Gift Card and Voucher Association.
That’s nearly a quarter of the value of gift cards in the UK that go unused.
About 6% of vouchers go unused because customers put them in their wallet or purse, and forget about them.
With customers easily forgetting to spend vouchers they’ve got, when they do come to spend the voucher, you need to be available.
Imagine this scenario (which is based on conversations we’ve had with businesses).
Your customer buys a product with you through Groupon or Wowcher – for arguments sake we’ll say they’ve bought a spa day for them and a friend.
As soon as the purchase is made with Groupon or Wowcher, that company has been paid.
You’re still waiting because the customer hasn’t got in touch with you.
When the customer does call you to book their day, you’re too busy to get to the phone and the customer puts the phone down.
Now the data would suggest that the customer is highly likely to put the voucher away in their pocket and forget about it – and you’ll never see that revenue you’re rightly due.
Easily increasing your cash flow with call answering
The answer to this lost revenue challenge is simple.
Make sure you’re available to answer the phone when your customer calls to claim their purchase.
But any small business owner will tell you it’s a lot easier said than done.
Especially when you’re busy and running around doing jobs so you can get paid.
It’s all too easy to let a call go to voicemail when you’re with another customer and hope the caller will just try again.
It’s a big hope, and the stats show many customers simply don’t call back because life gets in the way and they forget they’ve got a coupon or voucher for your company.
To fix this, you could hire a receptionist to handle all your incoming calls and make sure your vouchers are being redeemed.
But a full-time receptionist is expensive with salary, holidays, sick pay, pensions, taxes and all the associated admin that comes with employees.
Very quickly your receptionist can become more costly than the value of the revenue you’re trying not to miss out on.
A better alternative, can be to hire a dedicated telephone answering service.
Unlike a full-time, or part-time employee, you only pay for the service you use.
Whether it’s call volume or time spent on the phone with customers.
This works out a lot cheaper than hiring an employee, and ensures you never miss a call and actually get the revenue coming from gift cards and vouchers.
Your telephone answering service can answer the call and authorise the purchase for you, taking care of any bookings or diary management that might be associated with the purchase – like booking the customer in for a treatment on a given day for example.
They can take all the payment details and ensure your cashflow stays positive, rather than risk losing out to missed calls and forgetfulness.
Improve your cash flow by adding online chat
Of course hiring a telephone answering service isn’t the only way to ensure your voucher revenue gets to your pocket.
With many more customers shopping online, you could benefit from using live web chat to take the relevant information from customers.
Your customer would simply enter their voucher details into the online chat and your website could direct customers through the process of making their purchase and confirming any bookings.
Ensuring customers can complete purchases the way they prefer is a big part of your customer service.
So allowing customers to buy and redeem vouchers through your website is becoming more important.
Get your telephone answering service and online chat support with Face For Business
If you need a reliable telephone answering service or web chat to improve your cash flow and revenue then we can help.
We’ve got dedicated customer communication service that ensures you never miss a phone call or lose a potential sale, without the huge costs of hiring someone.
Thousands of customers have trusted us with their call answering and online chat and many have received positive feedback from their customers as a direct result of our work.
Interested in retaining all the revenue you’re owed from your gift card and voucher sales?