My New Biz BFF Gave Me A Great Gift

Jim Luff
Posted on February 5, 2014

Chosen Payments created a custom gift card program for us!

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how a chance meeting at LCT Show East has led to a new business relationship. Well, now, that new connection is paying off.

I used to believe that gift cards were a completely tacky gift for people. My wife loves them and I hated them. I always felt like handing one of our kids a gift card for $25 established their “worth” to us in the form of dollars. Not to mention, not shopping for a personal gift just smacked of laziness.

Well, here we are in 2014. I received a ton of gift cards for Christmas that have allowed my wife and I to eat at Red Lobster, Chili’s and of course a few of my local favorite restaurants that are privately owned but have their own logo gift cards with a magnetic strip on the back just like the major chain restaurants. I also bought batteries at Best Buy and a new drill at Home Depot using gift cards. I have accepted they are here to stay. You can’t even go to a major grocery store without finding an entire display of gift cards for every imaginable store or restaurant.

I really wanted to do have our own gift card with our own logo. We have issued gift certificates for years. While most of our gift certificates are donated to charity groups in the form of an actual paper certificates, each individually numbered, we do sell certificates too upon request.

That’s where trouble starts. In California, a gift card or certificate can never expire if it has been purchased. However, a donated card or certificate can have an expiration date. Keeping track of all these certificate numbers and which ones were donated versus purchased can be a royal hassle. There had to be a better way.

We process credit cards through Chosen Payments. I spoke with my account rep, Sarah Vanbeek at Chosen Payments, to discuss my interest since gift cards seem to be swiped just like a credit card. Sarah created several different cards for me to preview and let me know they would integrate into our existing reservations software.

The upside of selling gift cards is collecting cash now that you can put in the bank today but you may not have to deliver service for a long time and perhaps you will never have to deliver it because people lose gift cards all the time. It adds great credibility to our business and just looks impressive. My next mission is to find stores and restaurants that will sell them for us. They are like a magic marketing tool. Thank you Sarah Vanbeek and Chosen Payments for making a dream come true.

― Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

Related Topics: customer service, Jim Luff, operations

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