I Need Some Advice How To Handle This SMS Question!!

30 replies
So, I got my first positive response inquiry to a text messaging email I sent a local restaurant I had done a free mobile site for. My plan was to get my foot in the door and then upsell later..... here's the email I just received moments ago...



"The text marketing idea sounds interesting, although I so have one concern. I generally do not do promotions/coupons where some kind of record (coupon) doesn't show up in our till. This is for better cash security, here is what I mean; if a customer places a full price order, the clerk could simply enter the phantom coupon, charge them full price, pocket the difference and no one would be the wiser."



I know there has to be a solution to this concern.. so please fill me in. He's going to call me sometime this week and I want to be prepared to alleviate his concerns. Thanks Warriors!!
#advice #handle #question #sms
  • Profile picture of the author HypeText
    Originally Posted by rlhurst View Post

    So, I got my first positive response inquiry to a text messaging email I sent a local restaurant I had done a free mobile site for. My plan was to get my foot in the door and then upsell later..... here's the email I just received moments ago...



    "The text marketing idea sounds interesting, although I so have one concern. I generally do not do promotions/coupons where some kind of record (coupon) doesn't show up in our till. This is for better cash security, here is what I mean; if a customer places a full price order, the clerk could simply enter the phantom coupon, charge them full price, pocket the difference and no one would be the wiser."


    I know there has to be a solution to this concern.. so please fill me in. He's going to call me sometime this week and I want to be prepared to alleviate his concerns. Thanks Warriors!!
    Seems to me that the Customer would be the wiser if they just presented a coupon and didnt get their discount!

    If the restaurant is using an ECR (Electronic Cash Register) or POS (Point of Sale) then they can assign a coupon code to be included on the SMS Coupon that can also be programmed into the Register so that when the cashier hits the button the coupon is automatically calculated and will show when the Manager/Owner Z's out the register at the end of the day.

    One question I do have is: Are you using an actual trackable Mobile coupon with Bar Code or just a simple SMS?
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    • Profile picture of the author rlhurst
      Originally Posted by HypeText View Post

      Seems to me that the Customer would be the wiser if they just presented a coupon and didnt get their discount!

      If the restaurant is using an ECR (Electronic Cash Register) or POS (Point of Sale) then they can assign a coupon code to be included on the SMS Coupon that can also be programmed into the Register so that when the cashier hits the button the coupon is automatically calculated and will show when the Manager/Owner Z's out the register at the end of the day.

      One question I do have is: Are you using an actual trackable Mobile coupon with Bar Code or just a simple SMS?

      I'm not using anything yet! This will be my first campaign. I have a good idea how this works... I think. So, I explained in the email about the process, I've just never implemented it, so I need to get details like this clear in my mind, so I can make them clear in his.
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      • Profile picture of the author HypeText
        Originally Posted by rlhurst View Post

        I'm not using anything yet! This will be my first campaign. I have a good idea how this works... I think. So, I explained in the email about the process, I've just never implemented it, so I need to get details like this clear in my mind, so I can make them clear in his.
        So you are selling a service but havent lined up a provider and platform to use?
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        • Profile picture of the author rlhurst
          Originally Posted by HypeText View Post

          So you are selling a service but havent lined up a provider and platform to use?
          I have one in mind. I just didn't want to sign up, start paying monthly fees without having any customers. Now that I have one, I'll sign up and get it ready....... hey, at least I took action!!
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          • Profile picture of the author HypeText
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            • Profile picture of the author rlhurst
              Originally Posted by HypeText View Post

              If you don't mind me asking, who are you using and why are you paying them to resell? Are you going White Label?
              Yes, White Label. I see your sig is related to what I'm getting into. Not sure of the rules here, but since I started the thread, feel free to educate us on alternatives. There are plenty of people who could learn.... one should never stop learning, right?
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              • Profile picture of the author HypeText
                Originally Posted by rlhurst View Post

                Yes, White Label. I see your sig is related to what I'm getting into. Not sure of the rules here, but since I started the thread, feel free to educate us on alternatives. There are plenty of people who could learn.... one should never stop learning, right?
                First, in your situation I honestly don't know why you need to be white label....especially since you don't have the customer base to support it.

                We have an Agency Program where you get client account level access to all your accounts. It's generically labelled and we can IFrame it to look as if it is on your site. If you want more info feel free to PM me
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        • Profile picture of the author mrcouchpotato
          Originally Posted by HypeText View Post


          If the restaurant is using an ECR (Electronic Cash Register) or POS (Point of Sale) then they can assign a coupon code to be included on the SMS Coupon that can also be programmed into the Register so that when the cashier hits the button the coupon is automatically calculated and will show when the Manager/Owner Z's out the register at the end of the day.
          The SMS system I use allows coupon codes and bar codes, but after thinking about it, if the waiter (or clerk) knows what the coupon code is, then they could still get away with stealing the money.

          Here's the senario.

          The customer's check is for $10 and leaves a $10 bill + tip at the table and leaves. Waiter takes the $10 to the cash register, enters the 10% off coupon code (since they know what it is) and pockets the $1.00. The customer doesn't know since he already left....and the final register amount at the end of the night is ok because a proper coupon code was entered for the discount.

          So I'm not sure if there is a way to combat this problem asside from hiring honest employees.

          Since I'm selling the same service and this question hasn't come up to me yet, I'd love to see if someone does have a solution to this.

          Mike
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          • Profile picture of the author HypeText
            Originally Posted by mrcouchpotato View Post

            [



            The SMS system I use allows coupon codes and bar codes, but after thinking about it, if the waiter (or clerk) knows what the coupon code is, then they could still get away with stealing the money.

            Here's the senario.

            The customer's check is for $10 and leaves a $10 bill + tip at the table and leaves. Waiter takes the $10 to the cash register, enters the 10% off coupon code (since they know what it is) and pockets the $1.00. The customer doesn't know since he already left....and the final register amount at the end of the night is ok because a proper coupon code was entered for the discount.

            So I'm not sure if there is a way to combat this problem asside from hiring honest employees.

            Since I'm selling the same service and this question hasn't come up to me yet, I'd love to see if someone did have a solution to this.

            Mike
            Obviously that Restaurant Owner either has Trust issues or hires Staff from the Prison Work Release Program! lol
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          • Profile picture of the author rlhurst
            How about a bar code on the phone (coupon page)? They can scan the code on the phone, the register would have record, and that keeps the employees from stealing?
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            • Profile picture of the author mrcouchpotato
              Originally Posted by rlhurst View Post

              How about a bar code on the phone (coupon page)? They can scan the code on the phone, the register would have record, and that keeps the employees from stealing?
              That would work as long as the restaurant is set up to have customers pay for their checks on the way out. Some restaurants have the waiter take the check and payment and then brings back the change to the table.

              Mike
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              • Profile picture of the author rlhurst
                Originally Posted by mrcouchpotato View Post

                That would work as long as the restaurant is set up to have customers pay for their checks on the way out. Some restaurants have the waiter take the check and payment and then brings back the change to the table.

                Mike
                Yes, that makes sense, in my particular case, the diners all pay at the registers.
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  • Profile picture of the author globalpro
    Keep us posted on how you progress. Would like to see how this works.

    Thanks,

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    I honestly think this is a huge issue of hiring. If you hire the right people this should not be a concern. He can easily fix this though. Simply have a coupon form the waitress fills out that asks for the number. he can verify the number is on the list if he needs to.
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    • Profile picture of the author KevinW
      I owned 2 restaurants and theft from employees is a HUGE issue especially from the service. Waiters will steal. Room service at hotels will too. Bartenders do it all of the time.

      Restaurant owners are very concerned about theft. You have cooks going out the back door with steaks and lobster in their pockets and bartenders up front putting cash directly in their pockets.

      Being able to address this concern for restaurant owners is critical.
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  • Profile picture of the author HappyGayleen
    Really interesting thread! I never thought of this concern, but I can see how it could come up like this. I'm also in the process of decding which sms company I align with. I'll PM HYPE TEXT - I just wonder why yuo can't list prices on your site -- not having them scares off many potential customers - or you simply lose them because they find another company that answers their questions on the website. Just food for thought...
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  • Any reputable coupon system should be trackable, with a redemption system, i.e as a coupon is presented it can be entered into the system so that it cannot be presented again.

    Better still is to have a redemption page where the staff can enter the coupon and do nothing else (such as create more coupons which would be an admin feature).

    Worst case scenario is that the business owner would enter all coupons at the end of the day and release more coupons as required.
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  • Profile picture of the author globalpro
    I think if you look at it from a customer standpoint, it shouldn't be a problem.

    As a customer, most people will pay with a credit/debit card, especially at the places you want to work with. When you pay, the server brings you the receipt for you to sign. You verify the amount (and see the discount) before you sign.

    Even if you are paying cash, since it's your money, you would want the receipt to verify the discount is there.

    I know if I am spending money, and have a discount I am supposed to be getting, you can bet I will verify it.

    Think beyond the $10 figure. You can spend more than that at McDonalds and they give you a receipt on the spot.

    Also, on the concern about the servers, consider this. People are more sensitive to the problem of identity theft and card skimming, so they are more likely to use credit cards, instead of debit, for the level of fraud protection it offers and the penalties are increasing for this type of crime, both civil and criminal.

    While the major abuses hit the news, the problem is not as bad as you would think.

    A lot more that could be said, but I don't think this is a problem, and at the very least, it's not a problem on your side for providing the service.

    Thanks,

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author ASUService
    This came up in another thread ... wish I could remember where it was so I could link to it. What's up with restauranteurs.

    BUT, as others have said this is an issue that really has nothing to do with the sms coupon ... he would have the same problem regardless of where the coupon came from. I assume this issue is what has held him back from doing coupons before now.

    In all actuality he is ...
    1: paranoid
    2: poor judge of character during the hiring process.

    ... and now he's looking to you to give him the solution to that bigger problem.

    I would be hesitant to take him on as a client because he's looking to you to fix something that amounts to a problem that I assume you're not qualified to handle. He's going to want your "fix" for something that is outside the scope of your service and 10 to 1 he'll want it included at no extra cost.

    This whole thing smells of brain pirating and I personally wouldn't take on the task.

    On the other side of the coin ... if he's willing to pay for that solution you might end up with a customer who thinks you're a God and will be back for more. I'll bet that's not going to happen.

    Hope this gives you something more to consider.
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  • Profile picture of the author tadco
    I sell SMS also --- never had that scenario come up....

    it all comes down to hiring trustworthy employees.....I mean the owner could say to his food delivery guy: "If you deliver your food when I'm not here, how can you stop my employees from stealing some of it?"

    Tell him to install 24/7 cameras and have his employees sign a waiver saying they understand he will have them on surveillance....

    No easy answer.....
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    Easy. The only reason an employee would do this is to earn more money. So, why not offer your employees a slice of the action. For every person they get to use a coupon they get a dollar or something similar. So now they know they can earn extra money by encouraging your customers on to your SMS list. The more coupons they process the more money they get.

    I also think that anyone who is handling the money side of things in your business, such as processing payments, should be someone you can easily trust. If a business told me they had concerns about their employees ripping them off I would tell the business owner that's a problem of their own which they obviously need to sort out right away.

    If they don't steal the money using coupons they will find some other way to do it.

    To the others who have mentioned coupons that are registered, I don't necessarily think this is a good idea. You want the coupons to spread around through word of mouth -- it's free advertising.
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    • Profile picture of the author HypeText
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      Easy. The only reason an employee would do this is to earn more money. So, why not offer your employees a slice of the action. For every person they get to use a coupon they get a dollar or something similar. So now they know they can earn extra money by encouraging your customers on to your SMS list. The more coupons they process the more money they get.

      I also think that anyone who is handling the money side of things in your business, such as procreating payments, should be someone you can easily trust. If a business told me they had concerns about their employees ripping them off I would tell the business owner that's a problem of their own which they obviously need to sort out right away.

      If they don't steal the money using coupons they will find some other way to do it.

      To the others who have mentioned coupons that are registered, I don't necessarily think this is a good idea. You want the coupons to spread around through word of mouth -- it's free advertising.
      Agreed, Using coupons that are registered defeats the purpose

      Thats why we use coupons that must be registered to be used...

      That way they are Viral and can be forwarded.

      That way the Redeemers information is captured for future marketing.

      Bringing in a customer on a discount just once isnt doing the Business any favors...they need to be converted into a repeat customer for the Marketing Campaign to be truly successful.
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      • Profile picture of the author jhuman
        Rlhurst,

        I agree with the situation being dealt with on the hiring side but another option might be to place a sign at the cashier offering a free meal if the customer doesn't receive a receipt. Not sure how effective it was but I could see how it would create a cross-checking system dealing with cash, customer and employee.

        Best,
        James
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    • Profile picture of the author KevinW
      Originally Posted by WillR View Post

      I also think that anyone who is handling the money side of things in your business, such as processing payments, should be someone you can easily trust. If a business told me they had concerns about their employees ripping them off I would tell the business owner that's a problem of their own which they obviously need to sort out right away.

      If they don't steal the money using coupons they will find some other way to do it.
      Restaurant owners have MANY people who handle cash. You think they can trust every waiter? They can't and that is not a "problem of thier own". That is industry wide.

      The restaurant owner has to be all over the staff about theft. If they aren't they get worked over. Not only did I see this in our places but also in the ones I worked when I was younger. They MUST have checks and balances to prevent theft. This is why they pay big money for the systems. If not cooks are snacking on crabcaked all night and waiters are putting cash in their pockets.

      This is a fact about all restaurants. People steal and owners and managers know this to be true.

      If you can learn how to address this properly for owners this will help your business tremendously.

      And let me tell you....telling the restaurant owner "that's your problem" is not the way to handle it.
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      • Profile picture of the author rlhurst
        Thanks for your insight, Kevin. I'm still rolling around options. Fortunately, the owner seems to appreciate me wanting to get things "right" as opposed to just wanting to make the sale.

        Anyone else have ideas not presented here, yet?
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      • Profile picture of the author WillR
        Originally Posted by KevinW View Post

        Restaurant owners have MANY people who handle cash. You think they can trust every waiter? They can't and that is not a "problem of thier own". That is industry wide.

        The restaurant owner has to be all over the staff about theft. If they aren't they get worked over. Not only did I see this in our places but also in the ones I worked when I was younger. They MUST have checks and balances to prevent theft. This is why they pay big money for the systems. If not cooks are snacking on crabcaked all night and waiters are putting cash in their pockets.

        This is a fact about all restaurants. People steal and owners and managers know this to be true.

        If you can learn how to address this properly for owners this will help your business tremendously.

        And let me tell you....telling the restaurant owner "that's your problem" is not the way to handle it.
        The problem is the typical type of person working in a restaurant. They are usually casual workers tight on money so yes, they are much more likely to be the type of person with sticky fingers.

        Having said that the recruitment process has a lot to do with this. If you hire a bunch of cheap school leavers then you get what you pay for. If you spend a little more money and hire more responsible/mature staff then those types of problems won't be as frequent.

        If you don't trust your waiters then you don't have them handling the cash - simple as that. Have a floor manager who you know you can trust that looks after all the payment side of things. Don't let your waiters anywhere near the cash as there is no need to. This might not be the 'standard' way most other restaurants operate but it doesn't matter. If I am a business owner I am going to do anything to plug those holes and obviously money is THE most important part of the business and not something I would just entrust anyone with.
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        • Profile picture of the author KevinW
          WillR,

          Improving the hiring process is not the answer. We had all types steal from us. Some of the worst were part time college graduates,. Managers with excellent references steal too. Even "friends" that I knew for years.

          My point is it is not a good idea to tell the restaurant owner that they "should hire better" or "its your problem". If somebody was able to confidently address this concern then it would lead to more sales closed.

          Perhaps your suggestion of giving the staff incentives for each coupon is one way to go. But some type of check is better.

          Maybe nothing more than requiring the customer to give the coupon before ordering and having the staff notify the manager there is a coupon before the check is sent to the customer. This way the waiter can't charge full price and then use the coupon and pocket the difference.

          For the counter type place where you pay before eating you may need something different.
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        • Profile picture of the author HypeText
          Originally Posted by WillR View Post

          The problem is the typical type of person working in a restaurant. They are usually casual workers tight on money so yes, they are much more likely to be the type of person with sticky fingers.

          Having said that the recruitment process has a lot to do with this. If you hire a bunch of cheap school leavers then you get what you pay for. If you spend a little more money and hire more responsible/mature staff then those types of problems won't be as frequent.

          If you don't trust your waiters then you don't have them handling the cash - simple as that. Have a floor manager who you know you can trust that looks after all the payment side of things. Don't let your waiters anywhere near the cash as there is no need to. This might not be the 'standard' way most other restaurants operate but it doesn't matter. If I am a business owner I am going to do anything to plug those holes and obviously money is THE most important part of the business and not something I would just entrust anyone with.
          Theft has always been a major issue in Restaurants.

          The people who steal are often the last people that would ever be suspected. My family has owned a number of restaurants so I have had first hand exposure.

          This is why almost every major restaurant chain in the country has video surveillance in their locations.

          It isnt so much about the customers as it is about the staff...
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  • Profile picture of the author Nail Yener
    I wouldn't do business with a person who doesn't trust his own employees. I am sure you can find other business owners without such concerns.
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  • Profile picture of the author FullExMedia
    I have read through this thread and as one who is working with restaurants it is a legitimate concern.

    1. A personnel (hiring) issue - valid but even good people are tempted to steal if given enough temptation. It is good to hire based on background check and references, etc. but having internal checks and balances in place will keep people honest.

    2. The coupon - You want viral sms coupons because shared coupons amoung friends can yield more businesses. It is important that a deal is valuable, but remains profitable and makes sense for the business owner (That's the issue some businesses have with Groupon deep deals, little lasting ROI).

    3. Possible Solution - a) Print discount on bill/receipt, customers sees his saving and knows that receiving the SMS coupons are worth it! This also shows that is was entered into the computer. b) Train staff on how to apply the coupon so that is recorded printed and applied on the bill. This lets them know that savings are recorded and missing cash will be noticed, it can help deter theft. c) Placing signage near the restaurant exits that says text the code on the bottom of your receipt to be instantly entered into our monthly prize giveaway. This could help cut down on theft all over the store and can identify workers that don't give receipts. You will also want signage about your regular texting promotions in case someone came in via a shared text and is not on your sms list.

    Thinking Out Loud
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