Rebates are a powerful marketing tool that can grow your market base and improve revenue when handled properly. Rebate check processing that is poorly managed can have the opposite effect and lose you not just money but customers as well. There are several key factors to the right rebate partner for your business.
Why Rebates Work
Rebates act as temporary discounts on your product to drive up sales and gain market share. The advantage of using a rebate versus running a sale is that there is no change to the set price of your product. You eliminate the bad customer perception that can occur when the price of your item goes up at the end of a sale. Rebates also require input from your customers, which helps you build a more detailed database on who purchases your products. You can then turn this information into targeted campaigns aimed at likely purchasers.
The rebate process also serves to keep your branding front and center in the purchaser’s mind for far longer than a simple sale price. Rebates prolong the interaction between the consumer and the brand. The steps are taken to receive the rebate, and the time between application and funds received will keep your brand in mind for several weeks. When the rebate arrives, it brings about the sensation of receiving a gift and all the good feelings that go along with that process.
How Rebate Campaigns Backfire
The pleasant sensation of receiving a rebate can turn into frustration if the process becomes burdensome or slow. There was an ugly period, not too long ago, when consumers considered rebates an insulting joke. The complexity of the process and the long wait for receiving rebate checks, if they came at all, turned many consumers away from the concept. The word rebate and scam had grown to be synonymous. Buying decisions treated rebates as an irrelevant factor or a reason to avoid a brand.
While the blame may have rested with the rebate companies involved, the consumer invariably blamed the brand. After all, the brand name was all they saw throughout the process. The rebate process has been greatly improved since those dark days, but company branding is still all the consumer will see while going through the process. You need to keep this in mind and research with due diligence when selecting your rebate partner.
Your rebate partner must have a proven history of processing rebates with a minimum of purchaser frustration. Learn who they have worked with over the past several years and research the customer perception of those rebate programs. If you see a trend of dissatisfaction with the process, continue your search for the right partner to help with your campaign. The best rebate available will mean nothing if your customers don’t trust the process.
Make Sure They Can Handle Change
There are a number of rebate companies available, but you want to find one that can support many campaign styles. Rebate programs aren’t solely cash returns for purchasing a specific product. Rebates allow for creative marketing and can take many different forms, such as:
- Online and virtual rebate programs
- Games, contests, or sweepstakes
- Incentive programs
- Manufacturer rebates
- Incentive and dealer cash programs
- Loyalty programs
- Spiff programs
- Business to business
Your choice for a rebate partner should be able to support all these options. You may not have plans for all these campaign types, but the ability to experiment is an important aspect of your relationship with your partner. They need to be as flexible as you are creative and be able to keep up with your ideas.
Be Certain of Proper Rebate Fulfillment
Consumers have varying needs and expectations, and your rebate company needs to support their choices. They should be able to process funds into whichever system your customer prefers. They should be able to support the use of PayPal, checking account transfers, a branded gift card, or a paper check in the mail. Your rebate check processing needs to be smooth, accurate, and fast.
They should also have a robust system for ferreting out fraudulent claims. They should consider your funds as their funds and protect them as they would their own. If there is a hole in their system, word will get out in a hurry. Rebate fulfillment will then cut deeper into your profits than planned and eliminate any benefits you expected to gain from the program.
They Must Have a Strong Database System
More than an increase in sales, the biggest benefit of a rebate program is a deeper understanding of who your customers are and what they find appealing. Rebate check processing, by necessity, collects a lot of data on your customers. The ability to hold that information and correlate it into data that helps you with future campaigns is of paramount importance.
The right rebate company will be able to incorporate short surveys into the process and increase the information you are able to gather. They will be able to create reports based on the information they have gathered and deliver them to you in a format that imports seamlessly into your own database.
They Must Create a Positive Customer Experience
Customers are, if nothing else, fickle. Loyalty is difficult to build and hard to keep. There are always competitors waiting to snatch away a dissatisfied consumer. Product superiority means little compared to customer experience and satisfaction on the service side of the equation. A bad experience with rebate fulfillment can lose a customer and everyone who will listen to them. Dissatisfaction can be overcome, but broken trust is an irreparable end to your relationship with your customers.
The rebate process needs to be as streamlined as possible without leaving open opportunities for fraud. This is a difficult balancing act to perform, and only the best in the business can achieve this result. Your rebate partner needs to consider your customers as their own and act accordingly. Each demand for proof must come with a simple but thoroughly vetted process for compliance.
Their customer support system must be easily accessed, responsive and cordial. While fraud prevention is important, customer interaction needs to remain as friendly and professional as possible. If a rebate customer feels as though they are having to jump through hoops or that you don’t trust them, they will not return for the next rebate campaign.
Now that you are fully armed with the right expectations, it’s time to choose the best rebate partner for your business. Checkissuing.com has been processing rebates and collecting data for the business community since 2008, and we work with companies as large as Honeywell, PayPal, and Carvana. Call us today to learn how we can help you get the best results from your next rebate campaign.