There are many things I’m passionate about, but I have to say couponing is my new all-time high! I love the thrill, the search, and the money I save. However, couponing involves dealing with the public, and I’ve learned a lot about how to successfully negotiate policy and coupon interpretation and keep myself sane!
This article focuses on how to elevate your concerns (“complaint” better states my feelings) to the next level without ticking off the clerk, store manager and the corporate office. Becoming an expert at the art of discussion will help you achieve desired results like getting credit for a coupon, obtaining a store receipt correction, and keeping you in good standing at your favorite store.

Make sure you’re right

This may sound lame, but I’ve questioned a transaction and gone over my receipt many times before realizing I was wrong. There’s nothing more embarassing than thinking you’ve found a mistake when there’s really not one. My most embarrassing moments are when I make an error in a hurry. For example, Butterball turkey bacon was on sale at Walgreens for $1.29 plus I had a coupon for $.75. When I got to the register, my coupon wouldn’t scan. The store clerk then told me that my coupon wasn’t for Butterball, but for Jennie-O. Did I feel like a dummy? Yes! Should I have looked more closely at my coupons? Absolutely! I said, “I’m sorry–thank you,” in a very small voice and got out of there!

Have evidence to back you up

At my local Harris Teeter, the clerks have always told me that if I don’t get credit for a coupon at the time of my purchase, I can bring back the receipt and coupon later to receive it. That worked fine until one day I had a clerk who told me that their store policy had changed. I would also need to bring the item back in as well as the receipt coupon to get credit. I had nothing in writing, nor a name to “drop” for the last clerk who helped me with a similar transaction—I was stuck! Instead of fighting, I simply let it go. Remember, no matter how hard you fight, the store has the power to make the decision! Have the store policy with you when shopping. If there’s a question, ask the store clerk or manager to explain the policy to you. If they’re unsure, explain to the store employee how you interpret the policy and see if they agree. What do you have to lose? Hopefully, not your temper!

Raise a complaint to corporate as the last resort

I do my best to resolve issues at the local level because I frequent the same stores every week. The store employees usually know me by name. I want to keep an excellent working relationship with them as they’ll go out of their way to help me if I’m an excellent customer. I’ve asked for a store manager, and they were able to resolve the concerns to my satisfaction. Sometimes I’m wrong and they’re right. I’ve found that the more I coupon, the better I get at being an expert, and that has helped me in the interpretation of my receipts. Most receipts have the phone number of the corporate office. A great way to ask for the store manager is by saying, “Do you mind if we ask the manager?” How can the clerk say no to that question?

Invest in knowledge

Getting the hang of being a KCL takes work. Is it worth it? Absolutely, but the lessons are sometimes hard learned. I read the section on changing how you shop in 10 days, over and over until I understood the basic premise and could build on it. I subscribe to several couponing blogs and like to review the different ways that people use their coupons. Knowledge makes you stronger! Use that knowledge to fine-tune your couponing skills to decrease the chance of having to make a complaint.

Take those surveys 

A great way to communicate service issues—both good and bad—is through the surveys communicated to you on the receipt. Most receipts have a toll-free number to call for completing a survey based on your shopping experience. These surveys give the companies vital information regarding how their employees have performed and ask specific questions regarding your shopping experience in the store. This is a non-confrontational way to communicate your concerns if you’re not an ” in your face” kind of person!

Set an example

There’s nothing better about being a KCL than recruiting new members. Your public attitude in a store (with your big notebook) will be observed by everyone. What better role model for being a KCL than setting the standard very high. Conducting yourself during any transaction with calm and courteous behavior is a must for conflict resolution. You never know who’s watching and if they’ll follow your example. If you’re nice, the customer service person will thank you!

This is a guest post by Tammy from North Carolina.
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In-Store Couponing Concerns: 6 Tips for Gaining a Satisfactory Resolution