LearnTip: Add Credits


writes on February 16, 2011

You should add the ability to give ‘Credits’ to your customers, in the backend/admin of your app. Let me explain …

Here is a screenshot of the backend to Think Vitamin Membership. It shows that I’ve just given a credit of $25 to a customer with the note “Couldn’t access account for one day because of a bug, so gave him next month free.”

Screengrab of the Think Vitamin Membership admin where a credit was just awarded to a customer for $25

Credits generate good will

When something goes wrong with your app, your customers are going to get upset. They’ll email you asking you to fix it, but they almost never ask for a refund or a credit towards a future invoice, so this is your chance to really impress them and make them happy.

Here’s what I recommend:

  1. Apologize without excuse
  2. Say you’ll fix the problem right away
  3. Tell them that you know it was a pain in the ass, and that you’d like to give them a credit of $xx towards their next invoice. We usually give them enough to cover their next invoice.

The reason we do this is because we know it’s genuinely frustrating to our customers when they can’t use the service because of a bug or problem. They paid us for 100% access and if they couldn’t use the service, we owe them.

Here’s what that invoice and credit looks like to customers …

Screenshot of a customer invoice with a credit of $7.50 applied

The sad thing is that customers almost never expect to be treated this well. We’ve been humbled and amazed by the outpouring of Twitter-love and emails we get from support cases. Here are a couple examples that made me smile …

@ryancarson just to say I was fantastically impressed by the service I got from @commondream to move my billing date to keep my acc. open :D

@thinkvitamin is perhaps the most polished and customer-friendly service I've ever paid for.

@thinkvitamin has really got customer service down. you should subscribe just to learn how to treat your clients.

It's amazing how well Think Vitamin's support works. Congrats to @ryancarson and team!

Found a small quirk in a @ThinkVitamin newsletter offer, signaled it & got very kind credit. The attention turned me from curious to loyal.

So that’s it. Add credits and it will add a huge amount of happiness and satisfaction for your customers.


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12 Responses to “Tip: Add Credits”

  1. After watching the tweet screenshot.
    I thought that Mentioned in this tweet is a new functionality by twitter ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Oh yeah, had some experience myself with your customer service, and I have this month free also :))
    You guys doing a great job!!

  3. Do you use something like Chargify for repeat billing?

  4. Hi Ryan, just out of curiosity, what have you built your backend using? Rails? Also which DB?

  5. It was one of the best features I added, allowing admins to gift credits to users. We mainly deal with the enterprise who are used to either 99.99% uptime or pretty lousy, complex support, so every time someone runs into an issue which means they can’t use our service – I just say I’ll sort it out ASAP, and when it’s sorted, gift them a reasonable number of credits as compensation.

    Like you say, customers (unfortunately), never expect this kind of treatment, but it’s the least we can do and creates stronger ties with them (I think this is kind of where Gary Vaynerchuk is going with the Thank You Economy book).

    • Still feel bad for my snarky ‘Do you work for Apple’ comment yesterday ๐Ÿ˜›

      Thanks for chiming in again. Welcome back!

      • No problem ๐Ÿ™‚

        Our enterprise application works on a credit system with a comparatively small number of users, but a consumer game we’re launching soon will have “Premium Features” available for a small fee per year – will be interesting to see how this scales (especially as we’ll be gifting free premium accounts to winners at certain times as well) or how people react once this approach is ubiquitous.

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