Your Loyalty Program Stinks

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Loyalty Program StinksIs your loyalty program working? (Are you measuring its effectiveness?)

…better yet

 

Does it still have value for your long-term clients? (You’ve locked in prices, but are there any other incentives)

…you still think it’s working

When was the last time you updated your loyalty program? (Has it been more than 2 years?)

…do you still think you have a solid program

Here is an example that I keep replaying in my head. This example happened to me this week.

I have belonged to the same Fitness Club in my area for over 15 years. Currently, I pay $60.00 a year because I have been a member so long. In addition, I also joined another club because it was more family oriented and I wanted to go workout with my sons. The price of this membership is $80.00 for a family of 7. We have been members for 1.5 years.

At both locations, the equipment is very dated and the decor has hardly changed over the years. At the Fitness Club, I could tell you which pieces of equipment are less than optimal. In addition, the locker room is so dirty that I use the small public lockers which are visible from the equipment.  At the family fitness club, the equipment is very limited and usually the best equipment is always being used because the other members have also figured out which equipment works best.

Now enter a new fitness club to my area. I took a tour of the place and could not believe the wide array of equipment and all of it was brand new. The place is clean and the workers are eager to please. There were two price levels and one level came with no contract requirement. It could be paid on a month-to-month basis. Needless to say, the new equipment caught my eye and I was really overcome with a renewness to workout in a clean environment. I signed up for the $10.00 an month program with $20.00 initiation fee and have since started going to this new location.

Working out for me is a much better experience and eventhough I receive tremendous price savings because of my loyalty, it comes at a price. At some point, that huge savings may not be that great of a deal if the experience is not improved soon.

Companies need to reinvent themselves and update their look

This example really showed me how critical it is to keep updating and maintaining a pristine look. Too many companies are trying to get by but investing the minimum into the client experience. Now some people would say, that people do not like change. This may be true, but who doesn’t like to go to a place that has been updated.

People are loyal with respect to price, but people love newness and the feeling that they are loyal to a company that is cutting edge and always trying to improve upon its processes and image. Clients want a better experience. There is a high value on this particular feature.

Companies need to create “much” better experiences for their clients

How would clients talk about the experience they get from your company? Are you making little changes which may not be noticed or are you really taking time to create a much improved experience. There is a difference.

Focus on building a better EXPERIENCE than designing another loyalty program

Price is only one factor. Build and experience where the client is in control and takes hold of the experience and makes it personal.

Focus on creating a better experience in the following areas:

  • client service
  • website
  • phone call
  • reception at the front door
  • parking at your company
  • outside/inside physical look
  • personal visit or personal letter
  • hiring higher-standard people

People will pay more for a better experience! Always remember that!

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

Digital – The Next Major Project

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Digital StrategyYesterday, I talked about some of the digital discoveries I had made in 2015.  Today, it is a new day and it is time to take what I have learned to a new level.

I briefly talked about things that I am looking at with respect to these discoveries, but what I quickly discovered is my current digital state needs a lot of work and everyday the landscape is changing. I have been discussing these ideas with a number of friends and co-workers to get their opinions.

At first, I typically get the “deer in the headlights” look. Questions like, “Why are you looking at things so futuristically?” “How will we ever get to that point?” After a few more exchanges in dialogue, the conversation ends with, “Wow! – That would make work life so much easier.” “Our clients would love that!”

It is time to look at Digital as the next major project. It is as big as a company-wide system implementation. It is going to be a lot of work and I believe it is the differentiator moving ahead.

Button – Driven (A brief comment of how perceptions need to change)

As I have noted, people are now more online than ever before. People are wanting quick answers to their questions. In the past few days, I tried putting a button on our company home page with the words, “GMO Analysis”. In the past, I would have thought that this approach may have been a bit unprofessional because it is simply a button and not some type of text explanation. Today, I can say, this type of approach is working much better than I thought.

People want fewer clicks, simple processes and easy to understand experiences. If the experience is cumbersome or confusing, many people are quick to leave. Start thinking smarter and strive for simplicity.

Need for Better Data

Employees want good data about their clients. Employees want to know that their time and efforts ultimately affect the company’s bottom-line.

Clients want good, simple data. In my case our deliverable is an analysis report. The report needs to convey analysis information in a way that is understandable and also in a format that can be sent electronically for uploading into the clients’ own company information system.

Management wants good data. Data with respect to financials, productivity, quality. Data that can be used to make future decisions and gauge client trends.

Start looking closer at your company data and understand where you need to be to effectiely serve data needs  of the companay and its clients.

Clients Are in Control

How can we better serve clients needs? How do we create a client service model that maximized the companys’ knowledge and time to effectively serve clients.

This area is the key. Today, many people work harder than ever because systems are not necessarily in place to handle client needs effectively. Typically the superstar employees find ways to overcome these obstacles to serve client needs. The problem with this model is that more and more people are working longer hours and putting in more time to try and uphold old processes that have not been updated to meet the current level of support.

Clients can tap just as much information as businesses. Make sure you, as a company representative are doing your part by knowing what your clients want and identify process improvements to meet the clients’ needs.

Planning

It is critical that planning take place today and that everyone is onboard with where the company currently is and where it needs to be in the future. This process takes a lot of time and right now people have a wide variety of opinions on what the ideal system should be to share data internally and externally.

Going forward for 2015

The goal is to have a system in place that does the following:

  • Makes data accessible for internal and external client needs
  • Continue to simplify processes. (Eliminate dependencies and disruptions as much as possible)
  • Continue to watch the way people use data: acquire knowledge, make purchases, share information and communicate information

Time is wasting and we are in for major technological reform by 2020. The way we communicate and share information will be changing at such a rapid pace over the next few years. It is our job as company representatives to make sure we look for ways to bring our companies closer together to insure data quality and build processes that allow us to use data in the most efficient manner possible.

Picture Source: Pixabay

 

Top 5 Discoveries (Going Digital) in 2015

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Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

2015 has been an interesting year. It is an exciting time to be in marketing. There is so much happening and it really feels more like a sprint than a jog. Clients want more. Management wants more. Employees want more. Everyone is looking at data from their own perspective and in the end it will take vision, planning and collaboration to understand how complex this process is and how critical it is to insure that data processes are designed to be much simpler to allow for more flexibility and rapid growth in the future.

Here is a list of my top 5 discoveries in 2015

(1) Create and share content – The only way content can be successful is if it is shared and received. Social media channels are great channels to use for sharing content. In addition, it is also critical that information is shared  through other industry sites and/or liked to from other websites. Creating content that is valuable is the key.

(2) Linkedin – The best place to establish a presence with other professionals. The Linkedin Blogging Tool is powerful because it helped people share content with other connections and gets people much needed exposure for their message. In addition, Linkedin Pulse also looks at posted content and makes determination if the content warrants future exposure on the Pulse Network. Writing content that goes viral on Linkedin is awesome.

(3) Hubspot – A great software package that really looks at the visitors that are coming to your site and how to best capture their interest and ultimately get them to do business with you. The process is not as hard as you might think and the supporting reports are really informational and help marketers focus their time in areas where they can find the most success.

(4) Going Digital – This year I have read a number of books and articles on digital marketing and digital as a management strategy. Looking at digital from a high level, really gives you a better perspective of where you currently are with respect to managing data and where you need to be in the future.

(5) Updating Website Content – This year, I am in the process of overhauling some website pages and adding data that could add more value down the road. Have you ever considered taking the questions which clients have asked you, regarding your services and putting that information on your website? I created a FAQ Page and it has really generated a lot of traffic and alot of great keyword search related results because of the niche type of questions being addressed. In addition, I have worked on cleaning up sites to make them more simple in design to help facilitate a better mobile experience as well.

My advice to you is the following:

Work with the people you come in contact with. Make sure client service teams and account managers have the best information and processes available to them. Start by making a list of their needs. Once you have received this list, find ways to combine and consolidate lists to create formal digital projects.

Think like a radical customer. Don’t just build something to meet their needs or make little 10% gains. Look for ways to make big differences or 110% gains.

Find good examples of how companies have found success in the digital age and see if you can learn something from these experiences.

Work on a plan today if you have not already to see where you need to go with respect to building a digital company. You will quickly see how complicated the process is in the beginning. Take the time and map out your vision, you will start to see things more clearly and will be able to work towards a goal that will benefit not only your customers, but the people in your company.

The return on this investment is more phone calls, more emails, more client questions which translate to more new accounts, return business and increased revenue.

The conditions are right for you and your company to make a breakthrough, the key is to consistently work at this process day in and day out to see the results.

Picture Source: StockSnap.io

Stop Retweeting – Seriously!

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Twitter RetweetDo you want a better experience on Twitter? Stop retweeting! 

Check out your home feed and you will see someone retweeted someone else’s comments. Why did they do that? What are they trying to tell me by retweeting? What is the point?

Look at the example image. Last night there was a great College World Series Game.  I’ve been attending the College World Series for over 30 years having lived here in Omaha most of my life. I was rooting for the underdog, Virginia. Virginia overcame injuries, poor regular season, opening series loss and more. Did you get that message from my retweet?

I guess my point is retweets are the thing to do on Twitter. In fact, with all the changes Twitter has made, it is sometimes hard to do anything else but retweet another person’s comments.

A few months ago, I made a conscious effort to stop retweeting so much. It was out of control for me and I wasn’t seeing any return from retweeting other people’s comments other than being a part of a larger group who were also retweeting the same comments.

Start Commenting More 

Now, I take a little more time and I copy/paste the article link and associated people mentioned and I add a short comment like the following, ” A must read for marketers”, “A good perspective”, “You should read this” , “Excellent article”  These short comments give people perspective on why you are mentioning their work.

In the beginning it bothered me because sometimes I would add the RT and sometimes I would leave it out. I am over that. People like to be mentioned and appreciate kind words much more than someone just retweeting their work with out a reason.

A few final tips

Don’t start a tweet with @username. Start with some text or a period in front of @username. You will get more visibility

  • When a Tweet starts with a @username, the only users who will see it in their timeline (other than the sender and the recipient) are those who follow both the sender and the recipient. Source: Twitter Help Center

Tweets retweeted by other people:  Source: Twitter Help Center

  • You can see Retweets your followers have retweeted in your home timeline.
  • Retweets, like regular Tweets, will not show up from people you’ve blocked.

Tweets you have retweeted:  Source: Twitter Help Center

  • If you retweet someone you follow, it will be visible on your profile timeline.
  • If you retweet someone you do not follow, it will be visible on both your home and profile timelines.

Did any of those statements make sense to you? I am sure some of you are more confused and others of you already knew this. It can be confusing and there are a number of rules that people are unaware of that are actually preventing them from having more influence.

Best Advice 

1) Start your tweet out with some text, not a @username

2) Don’t retweet – consider commenting. Take time and copy/paste link and names associated with the tweet and start a better conversation.

3) Be different than all the rest! People will notice your work as a result of these steps and you will be able to use your time on Twitter in a more effective manner.

A Simple but Effective Storefront Tip

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Visitor ParkingWhen you are meeting someone at their company, it is always a challenge to find a parking place close to the building.

What if you extended an invitation to your clients and actually invited them to park as close to your office as you could. Think about it. Today, many businesses reserve parking spots for handicapped or pregnant mothers. This is great and it does provide a very important service to these people.

However, what about your day-to-day clients? A few years ago, I suggested that our clients should get the prime parking spots at our company and not our top executives.

It is amazing what a difference this small change has made for our company in several ways.

  • We can now recognize our clients and guests and greet them appropriately as they enter our company doors.
  • This simple act made it easier for our clients to bring in their samples to be analyzed.
  • Our guests save time by not having to find a parking spot and they can come in and leave at their convenience.
  • It helps insure they will come back and it makes coming back more routine with less distractions.

I know this little approach may seem trivial, but overall I can show you statistics that show that the number of  clients, (new and returning) have substantially increased since we installed these reserved parking signs three years ago.

Parking SpacesIf you look at the customer experience through the eyes of your customer, you might also start seeing ways to improve their overall experience.

Consider reserving some parking spaces for your clients and see if it makes a difference for your company. You might be surprised at the outcome!