Friday, September 30, 2011
People often ask how the Groupon we did went. It went great. Even Groupon was surprised by how well we did, and we got a good number of new and dedicated customers out of it. That's why businesses run deals: to promote themselves.
What is not so great is dealing with a Groupon when the deal ends. Turns out, the end of a deal can really brings out the worst in people.
One woman called right as the deal was to expire and claimed she had called and left numerous messages, but because we had not returned her calls she could not get in on time.
Another called the last day of the deal, and said that other clinics had honored the Groupon as long as an appointment was scheduled by the expiration date. Clearly, a seasoned veteran at not using her Groupon on time, when I explained how we had decided to handle the missed deadline ($10 off first visit), she said, "So I'm not getting anything out of this." Huh. She could have gotten 50% out of it. Instead she chose no treatment and to loose $20 instead of just $10.
Then there was the woman who happened to be particularly - kind of crazily - high maintenance (we're not a high maintenance kind of place), who came on a friends Groupon for the allotted two treatments, and then got upset when we called her out when she tried to keep going on another of her friends Groupons. She acted like she thought what we were doing with how we run our clinic was such a great idea. In truth, I think she just liked getting something for free.
Another, who had used one treatment, but let the deadline pass on the other, declined her second treatment when we told her that past the expiration date we'd give her $5 off. People are funny. Apparently they'd rather get nothing and be disgruntled about not having the terms of a deal honored (terms they themselves are not honoring) than get something.
Yet another emailed and said she had never purchased a Groupon before, and so didn't know they expired - even though the first line of the deal is the expiration date. Come on now....
Probably one of the more fascinating (and yes, slightly annoying) things about this whole deal phenomenon is how people apparently don't even know what they are buying. They only know it's cheap. They don't read the terms of the deal, however brief. And they don't so much as click through the link to the businesses website to see if what they are getting into is even something they might want to do.
One woman was so aghast at being still with her own thoughts for a few minutes while she got acupuncture that she actually got angry. One of the weirdest things I've ever experienced as an acupuncturist for sure. I'm glad someone else was around to witness it.
So, where we're at in all of this is...if people continue to be assholes about their expired Groupons we're just going to shut the whole thing down and just call it over - because we're already a deal.
We are affordable. We are not, however, cheap. And we will not be cheapened by consumers running roughshod over us because their coupon expired. To quote a patient of mine, "Oh give me a break! ALL COUPONS EXPIRE."
Friday, September 16, 2011
As of today 273 out of almost 500 purchasers have redeemed their Groupon, and about half of those have used both treatments (the deal was for two treatments). So here's how we're going to deal with stragglers:
If you failed to use your Groupon by Sept. 21 (that's 6 months after purchase), we'll give you a $10 credit towards your first visit. That's equal to waiving our new patient fee, and what we made on the Groupon in total per individual purchase. From there, we're back to our usual $15 - $40 sliding scale (you pick what you pay).
If you used one of your treatments, but not the second one, we'll give you a $5 credit towards that second treatment.
If you are an existing patient, but didn't read the terms of the deal and didn't catch the 'New Patient Only' part we'll give you a $10 credit as well if you haven't come in by the 21st. We were telling people they could use one treatment but they had to give the other one away...but we're kind of running out of time on that front now.
We'll honor these terms until the end of the year.
Hope to see you soon.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Fast forward 4 years. Somewhere in the hubbub of last night I gave my 1,000th treatment at South Austin Community Acupuncture. Snap. My mind is still wrapping itself in and around and through those zeroes. That's like 15,000 needles. I remember my first day treating here. I saw 3 people in 8 hours, and I was on top of the world. Then I didn't see anyone the next two days. Awkward. Then I saw 5 people in one day and that felt like the water was just up to my shoulders. Now I see 5 people in a shift and I feel like I should be doing more. I look back now and check up on some of those first patients of mine. Some haven't come back. Some come and see Wally. And some still come and see me at the clinic from time to time. And that's the way it goes here.
Occasionally, patients will ask me how long I've been “doing this.” I try to reassure them (and myself) by telling them that, I've been treating out of here since February but I have been giving treatments in the student clinic at school for three years. But let's give this some perspective: over my time in the student clinic while in acupuncture school, I saw 450 people, or just slightly upwards of that. So in 7 months at SACA, I have treated more than double the number of patients that I saw in 3 years. Some more perspective: Wally and Kelly opened this clinic up in the fall of 2006. In their first seven months (11/06-6/07) they saw just over a 1,000 people combined. Note: Wally now gives about 2,000 treatments in 7 months, so I have a lot to work up to.
I'm not bringing this point up to brag, although I do feel immensely proud and fortunate that I am in this position. I'm bringing it up to show what is possible. I knew almost immediately that community acupuncture clicked with me. Its concepts of affordability and healing with other people instead of in isolation from them, re-invigorated the motivations I had for getting onto this side of the health care equation in the first place. I was just lucky I happened on to the place as soon as I did. I may not practice this way for the rest of my life, but at the moment I can't think of a better way to provide acupuncture to people. So thank you community acupuncture model. Thank you Wally and Kelly for starting the clinic and letting me come in and work here. Thank you patients for coming in. I'm having a great time.