Browsing articles from "August, 2012"

What Incentives Does Your Dealership Use to Bring Customers Back?

By Mike Gorun at Performance Loyalty Group  //  2012, August  //  No Comments

What Incentives Does Your Dealership Use to Bring Customers Back?Dealers using an incentive program (such as our BeBack card), find that approximately 18% – 20% of prospects return and purchase a vehicle within 10-15 days of receiving the incentive card. Salespeople select the prospects who are leaving the dealership without making a vehicle purchase, and give them a denomination-based incentive card as an enticement to return and buy. These have been proven to work, time and time again!

 A good incentive program also provides your dealership with a method to determine why customers did not purchase and maintains contact and top of mind for several more weeks as they consider their vehicle purchase more closely. Wouldn’t you like to know why your customer did not make a purchase? E-mail a survey to your prospect as soon as they leave the dealership. The survey should seek to determine the exact reason(s) why the customer did not make a purchase. Based upon the customer reply, create another response tailored to their reason. You will be surprised by the candid customer responses. Our dealership customers who do this typically get a 30-40% response rate to the survey.

What incentives have you used to get customers back into your business?

Do you do surveys to find out why customers didn’t buy? If so, what are the main reasons?


How to Win Customer Loyalty in Social Media With Smart Inbound Marketing

By Kathy Winslow  //  2012, August  //  No Comments

Many marketers out there still think that a Facebook “like” is a proof of customer loyalty. Or when the do promotions and give coupons and freebies this will help to tie customers to their brand. But the “like” button is mostly clicked by expecting a reward to do so.

An increasing number of people who like a brand page are looking for valuable and helpful content.

Customer loyalty can be won and kept by encouraging them to spread the word about the brand they are satisfied with and help those customers to become brand advocates.

The today customer depends on his friends, family and social network when he is researching for new products and services on the web. Furthermore the today customer wants to be entertained and informed from brands and not overwhelmed with sales pitches.

Customers want brands to listen and to respond to their needs, wishes and complaint because this is what makes them feel understand.

The top five most popular things customers expects from a brand are:

1. Providing a great 24/7 customer service

2. Rewarding them for purchases, their feedback and referrals they bring in

3. Sending them exclusive and relevant offers and specials

4. Provide them with personalized products and services

5. To know them when they visit or call a brand

How can you utilize those above information to set your business apart from your competition and to fulfill your customer’s needs?

Ask yourself, what will future customers find about me when they research for products and services on the web which I have to offer also?

When the above described customers ask friends and family for recommendations on products and services, will they recommend you or your competition?

As people go online to research, and customers want to be informed and entertained, what do you do to inform and/ or to entertain your existing and future customers?

In simple words, how do you separate your brand from the competition?

To separate your brand from your competition you need to understand that those above stated five points are your business advantage when used wisely. When you are able to improve these points than you will be always several steps ahead of your competition, but only as long as you do not stop improving what you do!

Inbound marketing offers you a strategic and smart approach to be and to stay several steps ahead of your competition.

Inbound marketing is the marketing strategy that focuses on getting found by customers when they research online for products and services your business also has to offer.

With inbound marketing businesses “earn” their way to the customer and his loyalty, by publishing helpful information on a blog, in social media and forums.

Inbound marketing includes: Content creation like blogging, video, photo, whitepapers, eBooks, podcasts, press releases, comments in social media and other blogs and forums, Social media two way communication, lead generation, lead conversion, lead nurturing and closed-loop analysis.

Inbound Marketer VS. Outbound Marketer


B2C has more information where you can learn more about inbound marketing and the reasons for the decline in outbound marketing.

Source: Social Media, June 27, 2012. Author, Dragan Mestrovic

What do you do online to inform and entertain your existing and future customers?

Give an example where you have sent your customers an exclusive and relevant offer.

What types of inbound marketing tools has your business used? How success were they?


Don’t Just Acknowledge Complaints, Use Them to Improve!

By Mike Gorun at Performance Loyalty Group  //  2012, August  //  No Comments

 Don’t Just Acknowledge Complaints, Use Them to Improve!While occasional complaints are to be expected, if the same complaint is repeated on a consistent basis, it’s time to look at what’s going on internally. Often, one or several employees are responsible for the same complaints. Or, it could be an internal process that isn’t working or a scheduling problem, i.e. not enough employees to effectively deal with the volume of customers.

 Fortunately, identifying the source of customer complaints is not difficult. All it requires is tapping into the customer service agent or whoever else is responsible for addressing customer complaints.

 Who is responsible for dealing with customer complaints? Is it a customer service agent or agents, or is it individual department managers? Hold a brief weekly meeting to gather information on complaints. How many and what were the issues? Was the same issue complained about more than once? Was a specific employee named?

 If an employee is responsible for the complaints, don’t immediately criticize that person. They may be genuinely unaware how their behavior is affecting customers. Instead, be gentle but informative, and give specific advice on how that person’s behavior should be.

 If you are receiving complaints about your product or service, first you have to put aside any defensive feelings you may have on the subject. Just because you feel like your product is the best, or your service is the best you can offer, doesn’t mean that all your customers will agree. If the complaint is repeated, change may be necessary; either in the way you’re providing the service, or in the internal process itself. If the problems are with a product, there’s less you can do. This may just be personal preference on the consumers’ part. But addressing their concerns and checking into them to see if there is really a problem with the product will go a long way towards creating goodwill with that customer.

 Resolving customer complaints is a necessary first step towards building customer loyalty; but resolution alone will not ensure that the customer will come back. Using information from complaints to implement genuine change within your organization will both reduce customer complaints and increase the likelihood that your customers will return to purchase, again and again.

What system do you have in place to handle customer complaints?

What do you do once they’re resolved?

 Have you ever changed an internal process because of repeated complaints? If so, how did it turn out?


5 Best Practices for Loyalty Programs

By Kathy Winslow  //  2012, August  //  No Comments

5 Best Practices for Loyalty ProgramsA few weeks ago in this space I posted When Loyalty Programs Are a Waste of Money, analyzing the criteria under which a loyalty program would be most appropriate for a business. The most effective kind of loyalty program is one that uses the information provided by a customer’s rewarded behavior to fashion more relevant, personalized, or satisfying services or offers for that particular customer, thereby earning more and more of the customer’s loyalty. In this earlier post I showed how your own loyalty program’s appropriateness and economics would depend largely on the characteristics of the customer base you serve.

As these kinds of programs have proliferated, however, and as customers themselves have become more interconnected and knowledgeable through social media, the better loyalty programs seem to be characterized by five important best practices, which I often recommend to companies. There are lots of other considerations, but if you’re thinking about a loyalty program for your business, or if you’re trying to evaluate or upgrade your current one, then these five best practices can serve as a quick checklist:

1. Never waste an opportunity to gain insight about a customer. An effective loyalty program will offer a choice of services or treatments in order to reveal more about a customer’s personal preferences. Providing points in return for completing surveys or responding to inquiries can generate a wealth of insights, but so can more specific offers designed to illuminate different customers’ different motivations. A financial services firm, for instance, could improve insights into a customer’s needs and investment perspective by offering a mix of awards based on either lifetime achievement or short-term behaviors. With an appropriate mix of awards you could even encourage customers to specify their prizes in advance of earning the points to redeem them, in order to gain these insights earlier.

2. An effective program offers modularity, enabling participants to mix and match aspects to their own preferences. Modular offerings are a practical way to allow for customer-driven personalization of a program without going to the extreme of full customization. Key aspects of the program, like member qualification, can be developed with several alternatives, and customers can be offered a set of guided choices to select from. A sophisticated marketing approach would offer different sets of choices for different groups of customers based on their value–so everybody wouldn’t be choosing from the same set. For example, a lower value customer might chose from rewards alternatives that include a service upgrade, while high value customers might have choices that include additional redemptions or alternative merchandise. In addition, modularity will allow a program to incorporate partners and co-sponsors more easily.

3. Consumers value openness. They want a service or program that works with other programs. The more open your program is, the more beneficial and attractive it will be to customers. Transferable points and rewards offer the customer the greatest flexibility in using program earnings. As you gain customer insight, your program can mature into a more and more open proposition without endangering customer loyalty, because the barrier to a customer’s switching will no longer be purely economic (i.e., the value of the points earned), but convenience (having to “teach” another program about individual desires and preferences). Openness is inevitable in loyalty marketing programs, and companies must choose whether to lead the charge, or to react to it. If your competitors’ points or miles are available for purchase on the open market (as is the case with many airline frequent flyer programs, for instance), you may even want to allow your best customers to redeem the points you issue for prizes offered by your competitors! Think about it: if you run an airline, don’t you want to know what competitor airlines your best customers also like to fly on?

4. A loyalty program should be managed around customers, not products. Align the organization of your program around certain identified sets of customers, and then measure your marketing managers by the impact they have on customer behaviors within these different groups. This is the most direct way to make progress in each customer segment, and to improve the loyalty (and lifetime values) of the individual customers in each segment.

5. Above all else: simplicity. The fewer rules and restrictions you have, the more engaging your program will be for the customer. It’s better to narrow your offers to those you can deliver consistently, rather than including elements that can’t be relied upon. Airline programs frequently suffer, for instance, when they publicize high-value redemptions that turn out not to be very readily available. Such offers often do more harm than good, by unnecessarily raising customer expectations and then not delivering. If you can’t deliver reliably on what you promise in your loyalty program, you not only damage your program’s credibility, but you could undermine trust in your whole brand.

Don Peppers is a speaker, consultant, and co-author of Extreme Trust. Follow him on twitter @DonPeppers

Source: Fast Company, July 7, 2012. Author, Don Peppers.

What are you doing to make your loyalty program more effective?

Is your current program flexible for your customers? If so, how?

How many different choices of services/treatments does your loyalty program offer? How do they differ?

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