Archive for the ‘loyalty marketing’ Tag
How do you get customers to become loyalists when they’re barraged with marketing messages from companies vying for their attention? We could list the many “how to’s” but here’s the bottom line — you have to Be Remarkable. Recently I was on the receiving end of “remarkable” from the most unlikely of sources.
Heard any stories lately about phone companies and their amazing customer service that goes the extra mile? More than likely, your answer is a big NO! Phone companies aren’t known for exceeding expectations; they’re more often the source of frustration and gripes for lousy service.
Imagine then my surprise and delight when I received a handwritten note card from a Sprint employee thanking me for my business and offering a 25% discount on my next in-store purchase. Seems Sprint has decided my loyalty is appreciated. And I appreciate them taking the time to tell me so. It seemed so, well, personal.
What happens when you feel appreciated? For starters, you feel good. And you feel good about your decision to use this company, their product or service. You feel more emotionally connected to them and their brand and you become more passionate and engaged. And chances are, you will tell your friends, family, and colleagues. So by exceeding your expectations and showing appreciating, this company has turned you the customer into a fan who will tell others this remarkable story.
Here’s a story about another type company you’re unlikely to get excited about – an auto body shop. I became a fan recently of Caliber Collision Centers when they surprised me with their excellent customer service. I dropped my car off some for repairs recently. The staff was so attentive and caring I was taken aback. They asked about the accident (not our fault), empathized over the inconvenience and offered me copious amounts of coffee and water. The service agent followed through on his promise to call every Tuesday and Thursday with an update. And the repairs took 3 days less than anticipated. In short, they exceeded my expectations and generated a level of loyalty in me I didn’t know possible.
When I complimented the office manager on their great service, she told me she tries to treat customers the way she’d like to be treated.
I hope I don’t get in another accident soon but if I do, I know where I’m headed.
How are you working to be remarkable and remembered? We’d love to hear your story.
There’s been a rush to exit for Netflix customers. The company lost 800,000 customers in 3rd quarter this year, the first time ever its customer base shrank instead of grew. The reason for the slump is simple. They chose to ignore the KISS rule – Keep It Simple Stupid – by first raising prices and then splitting its business into 2 companies. Customers who used both DVD and streaming services would need to manage two accounts at two different websites.
Why would a well defined brand with loyalists galore make it more difficult for customers to use their product? Some days I can barely remember my own name let alone one more online account. Smart loyalty marketers focus on me and how to make my life simpler, easier, better. Anything else is just a complication I don’t need.
So the Netflix got the backlash it deserved. Twitter and Facebook went a buzz and the stock took a dive. And Netflix got the message loud and clear. Qwikster, the newly formed company, quickly went away. CEO Reed Hastings, to his credit, sent an email in August to customers apologizing for moving too quickly. You got to give the guy some credit for admitting he screwed up.
“There is a difference,” he said, “between moving quickly – which Netflix has done very well for years – and moving too fast…” As my 7 year old would say, “Duh!”
Anytime you ask me to do more to access the same services I’ve known, and possibly loved, you’ve lost my loyalty and potentially a customer. What shocks me is Netflix had such a strongly defined brand of super servicing the customer and then came greed and inconvenience. And there went loads of customers flocking to the door. What were they thinking? Clearly not about loyalty.
Mobile messaging or text/SMS campaigns are a quick way to engage with the largest number of mobile users. Over 90% of mobile devices in the US have the ability to send/receive text messages[i] and pretty much anyone under the age of 44 is texting more than calling[ii]. Even the majority of smartphone owners prefer to receive basic coupons, deals and newsletters.[iii] Seems like the ideal way to reach the largest number of consumers, right? Right! But, before you get started make sure you know the rules.
1. Participation in a mobile messaging or SMS/Text campaign must be 100% opt-in. As a marketer you can’t purchase a mobile database or spam existing customers’ mobile phones with your message. You must use traditional media to engage and inform them about your campaign and entice them to opt-in. This is not only a Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) best practice. It is the law (CAN SPAM Act and FTC Act).
The United States Federal Trade Commission is prosecuting those that don’t comply with the CAN SPAM Act. A recent egregious case involves a marketer who, in one 40-day period, sent more than 5.5 million spam text messages, a “mind boggling” rate of about 85 per minute, every minute of every day.
This is an extreme example, but there are countless cases of legitimate marketers that aren’t complying because they aren’t aware of the laws or misinterpret them. So, simply put – marketers must use traditional media (print/web/TV/radio/outdoor) to inform consumers about a text campaign. Consumers can only participate by actively texting the correct keyword/short code from their mobile phone or a web interface promoting the campaign.
2. Not all mobile users have unlimited text plans: If you send unsolicited messages to consumers they may be paying for them. It is important that the consumer has the control of who they engage with via mobile. Creating compelling mobile campaigns that offer value to the end user will drive them to engage with your brand.
Eagle Marketing can help you determine the right way to build a loyal connection with your mobile audience. For many, connecting with mobile users via simple text is a great way to extend your brand. There are various campaign types and you can include click to call or a mobile web address to extend your engagement. We’ll continue to blog on mobile messaging best practices. Have question or thought on the topic? We’d love to hear from you.
[i] CTIA – The Wireless Association 11/10
[iii] Harris Interactive 2/11
My twin daughters turned 4 last month so we celebrated with a princess party and a small group of their preschool buddies. In passing I mentioned to a friend I was writing thank you notes for the gifts they received. Her response? “What, are you nuts? Who does that?” She thought it wasn’t necessary because the kids couldn’t read and probably had no clue what gift they gave.
My friend may be right but I sent the notes anyway. It so happens I’m a big believer in thank you’s, in acknowledging gifts and sometimes sending them for no reason. I once sent a big box of cookies to a long-time client who left us, briefly, to work with a competitor. I wanted to thank him for his business and show appreciation of our long relationship.
This time of year has me thinking a lot about appreciation…and gratitude. Gratitude for my health, my family, my circle of wonderful friends. Gratitude also for the talented people I work with and those I work for — my clients. Without them, I wouldn’t be doing the work I enjoy so much. Gratitude reminds me…and I thought worthy of reminding you… to press pause now and again to simply say thanks. A sincere thanks, without expectation, strings attached, or hope for response. Really, can you ever say thank you enough? I don’t think so.
The owner of a neighborhood wine bar recently told me she delivers a cork tied to “free drink” coupons to hotel managers who send her business. A thank you that’s both clever and memorable. I send a box of diabetes-inducing toffee. Not so clever but definitely delicious and hopefully memorable.
I’d like to know — what do you do to say thank you and to show your appreciation? To your loved ones, to your customers, to your loyalists? From a marketing perspective, it’s just smart business. Invest in a gratitude mentality – with sincerity — and you’ll easily stand out in the crowd.
Two of my favorite childhood memories revolve around one of my favorite things – food. The ice cream kind of food.
One memory is of the Good Humor truck making its way slowly through the neighborhood with that every present “come hither” music that got us kids dashing out the door.
The other is of the coupon I received each September from Baskin Robbins in honor of my birthday. It wasn’t that my parents couldn’t afford the free cone they offered. That sweet memory is more about the anticipation I felt as September rolled around and the delight I took in planning and picking which of those 31 flavors would be mine. I truly savored the experience.
Fast forward lots of years to 2010 and another September birthday. The ice cream cone is now a free drink at Starbucks (I picked a grande-skinny-decaf-vanilla latte, if you must know) and a 20% discount at my favorite kitchen store…both in honor of my birthday.
I’m amazed at the little thrill I still get over these little perks. I truly LOVE ‘em because they make me feel special and indulged. As a marketer, I am struck by how we can so simply create connection, loyalty and even lifelong memories by merely remembering someone on their birthday.
Take for example Eagle Marketing’s online loyalty club at Tampa’s cable news outlet, Bay News 9. Members receive an email with a video birthday wish from their favorite news anchor. So simple, right? In one year, the Bay News 9 Club has grown to over 16,000 viewers who want to engage, give feedback, enter contests and get rewarded. Email open rates are typically around 20%, an outstanding response in any industry (Check out the full case study).
Something here clearly resonates. I think the common thread lies in the “we care” approach. As in: We hear and we listen, we respond, we remember. The “we care” that is at the core of any meaningful, authentic relationship. All so simple and yet so easily overlooked.
So think about the emails you receive, the businesses you frequent, the member cards you carry in your wallet. What is it about them that makes you feel special, connected and rewarded? Reply and let us know what is the loyalty experience YOU most savor.
I have a confession to make. I love Diet Coke. Not in a can, not in a bottle. A fountain Diet Coke. With chunks of ice. And one of my daily rituals is going through McDonald’s drive thru to get one. Sometimes, it’s even the highlight of my day. Know why? Besides the midday infusion of cold caffeine, the woman at the drive thru window knows my name. And the names of my kids (really, what’s the harm in a little Happy Meal now and then?). We laugh about my daily dose. She smiles, I smile back. It’s a good day. So now, not only am I addicted to my fountain Diet Coke, I’m addicted to that warm feeling I get when someone has taken the time to say my name, know what I like and reward me in a small but special way. It creates true loyalty, plain and simple.
So maybe you’re not passionate about Diet Coke. But hopefully you’re passionate about the work you do and about engaging your customers so they become your friends, your fans, your loyalists. Like the woman in the window, do you take the time to know your customers’ needs, their preferences, and what makes them tick? Why not ramp it up and make it a two way conversation? Why not tell them “We hear you” and give ‘em what they want? Who knows, maybe they, too, will become addicted.
Already sowing the seeds of loyalty? Join the conversation and tell us how.