I’ve been a KCL for about 3 years and I can honestly say that it’s been one of the best periods of my life. I’ve finally learned how to get more for less! Getting more as a couponer doesn’t necessarily apply to customer service, however. When I first started couponing, I was easily intimidated by store employees even when I was right. I’m not sure if it was the lack of coupon-stacking experience or the grumpy store employees we all find at major retailers. Being intimidated stopped when I finally decided to use my background in customer service to my advantage! Use the following scripted statements to establish a rapport with the people you’re sure to encounter every week.
1. “I really appreciate your time.”
Acknowledging a person’s time is the highest compliment you can pay someone and makes them go the extra mile to help you. Maybe they will override a coupon, go to the stockroom and find that product when a shelf is empty, or even help you take out your purchases.
2. “This transaction didn’t go the way I planned, so I’d like to do a return.”
This usually happens when I read about a sale or deal and assume it applies to stores in my area. Providing the reason for the return seems to make the employee more willing to help me with a smile.
3. “I love to come to this store because you’re always patient with my coupon transactions.”
This response sets the person up for success; they will go out of their way to make sure you have a good experience.
4. “Would you please explain how this sale works?”
This is an open-ended question that allows the person to showcase their knowledge. Getting to know a new store and its policies can be intimidating, so I’d rather speak to someone instead of guess what a shelf tag means!
5. “I’d like to speak to the manager to get his or her opinion.”
This is a much better response than being verbally demanding. You have a 50/50 chance of getting the manager to side with you about the point of contention and remember, your main goal is to save money!
6. “I understand your hesitation to accept this coupon; can you explain why?”
This is a nice way to decrease the frustration that can occur when a transaction doesn’t go the way you planned. Maybe the scanner doesn’t read the coupon and the store clerk is unwilling to pursue why it doesn’t. This scripted response acknowledges that there’s a disagreement, but that you are going to be calm—not argumentative!
7. “I’m sorry I’m holding up the line! I’ll finish this transaction and let the person behind me go next.”
I personally feel that if people are behind me, they’re sure to get impatient—especially if I have more than one transaction to do. This makes everyone anxious! The cashier will appreciate your consideration of other shoppers if you’re willing to let others go in front of you in line.
8. “I have a question about the price that scanned for this item versus what’s advertised in the sale paper—could you check for me?”
This script works perfectly for an item that scans at a different price. Recently I was taking advantage of a Rite Aid BOGO sale on L’eggs pantyhose. The amount I was charged did not reflect the free item. I asked to speak to the manager and reviewed the ad in the sale paper which showed a picture of pantyhose and had the written word, “pantyhose.” He went to the shelf and brought back a box of knee highs. I had to explain to him the difference in pantyhose and knee highs. He agreed to give me credit!
9. “Maybe I made a mistake….”
If you did or didn’t, acknowledging that you are human will make the sales clerk more eager to see who is right—you or the store! Use this to your advantage.
10. “I really like the fact that you….”
I like to use paper bags at the grocery store. My favorite cashier knows this and automatically grabs them! That’s one detail I don’t have to remember when I check out in her line, and I always tell her how much I appreciate that about her!
These scripted responses don’t come with 100% guarantees if you use them, but I can guarantee that you will become more confident in your communication skills. I have made some great friends in my local stores–I’ll never forget them!