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Are your giveaways 🎁 backfiring like premium Spanish water? 💣️(5 min read)


Free giveaways do not always yield great customer experiences. In this article, we will share a recent personal experience as well as an example from capital equipment that highlights this point.

This summer I took the family to Spain 🇪🇸 for our annual vacation. At one of the cities we visited, we opted for a boutique hotel close to most of the attractions. As we walked into the room, we noticed a couple of nice gifts🎁. A premium bottle of water and some sweets. Even though it has little monetary value, little gestures like that can truly enhance the guest experience. It may be counter-intuitive, but it doesn’t always turn out that way.


👍️ Can a positive really turn into a negative? 👎️

Anyone who has visited Spain in the summer knows that it gets really hot and that premium water seemed like just the right thing at the right time. Except for the fact that we didn’t have a bottle opener in the room. So, it was a downer when we couldn’t drink it right then and there. We informed the front desk that we had no way of opening the bottle. The only solution the front desk suggested was for us to bring the bottle downstairs to the bar. Apparently too many guests take the bottle opener home as souvenirs! And just like that, what was supposed to be a nice experience just turned into something negative.


I’ve seen this before! 🙈

This situation almost immediately made me draw a parallel to my experience with capital equipment. Many instruments manufacturer offer giveaways, freebies, or whatever you want to label it. These often come in the form of long-term warranties and free services. On the surface they sure seem like a great “gift”, similar to that premium water from the hotel. These giveaways are typically just used by sales as another reason for the customer to buy the product. Have you ever wondered if ALL customers really care about these giveaways? And, how often do these gifts seem better than they really are? Do we have an equivalent to the “Premium Spanish Water” when dealing with giveaways in capital equipment? I would argue that we do, and would like to share a story.


Do the customers that need it, get it? 🏆️

I remembered a VoC discussion I had with a new customer who spent months asking for applications support as they couldn’t get the product to work the way they wanted it. At first this customer’s struggle to access applications support came as a surprise to me, since I was told that this service was supposedly free to all customers. The customer told me that he was sold the product, which already came with what our sales rep called “the industry’s BEST warranty”. Our sales person also promised him application support to help him deploy the technology. Unfortunately, nobody told the customer who and when this would take place. By the time we spoke, this customer had already spent a good amount of time with technical support, who were trained on how to address system non-conformances, but not how to deploy the technology the way the customer needed it.


Sometimes it does more harm 🤒 than good

I had to do some research as what I had been told didn’t match the customer’s experience. I found out that the free applications support was really hard to get since we relied on a single individual to serve all customers in all regions. Customers who bought a lot of products or those that managed to get the attention of the sales directors were essentially the only ones to ever get the free applications support service. Worse yet, technical support wasn’t even aware that this service was available, even less for free. Of course, I managed to get help for this customer, but I also found out that our “generous” 3 years of FREE warranty was also not as good as it seemed. We didn’t cover labor for repairs after the first year. While this instrument was quite reliable, the customer experience wouldn’t be so good if they were to experience a system non-conformance in years two or three. So, in many ways this is just like my experience with the free Premium Spanish Water.


What’s your giveaway 🎁 experience?

What about your company? Are you giving your customer something that seems great for free, but it really isn’t? And, do your customers even care about some of these free services? Have you ever wondered if you are instead wasting resources with incentives that don’t drive sales?


The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are solely that of ServiceWise Solutions and our contributors and does not necessarily reflect the views of other third-party platforms, institutions or other associated parties. Please reference ServiceWise Solutions as the author when sharing or re-posting content.

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