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I'm Rubber, You're Glue

August 1, 2008  

Imagine you're Alissa Bayer—owner of the upscale milk + honey day spa in Austin, Texas—and a client has directed you to the Church of the Customer Blog, where a post by Jackie Huba takes your business to task for selling gift certificates with a $1.50 "handling fee." You scan through the comments and see a number of people denouncing the practice as a rip-off.

There's a sinking feeling as you realize your company is getting bad press because someone at your front desk goofed up. The $1.50 surcharge is for an upgraded gift card—it's not a standard fee. In other words, if Huba wanted a free card, she should have gotten one.

Bayer, however, handles the situation with finesse by explaining her spa's actual policy, noting she's grateful for the feedback and offering this honest analysis: "I'm sure you're not the only gift certificate buying customer who has been given bad information about the optional upgrade and is understandably peeved."

She goes on to say the upgraded cards—which cost substantially more than the $1.50 she charges—were added when her customers asked for them, but that she had year-end plans to discontinue fee-based certificates.

"Looks like I shouldn't wait any longer," she concludes.

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