Loyalty programs are only as good as your employees make them. The best loyalty program in the world still requires staff buy-in to make it work. If a current program isn’t working, dealers should take a closer look at their culture and create strategies to develop a positive work environment and motivated employees. Here’s how to get started:
1) Find out what’s important to your employees.
The best way to do this is to conduct an anonymous survey. Not everyone is interested in great pay and benefits. Once basic needs are met, many people value things like recognition, advancement opportunities and training. Ask for suggestions.
2) Pay well.
Find out what your competition is paying and try to pay a little bit better. Give your employees opportunities for spiffs and perks, and put them in writing. Since benefits are important, offer the best you can afford. Here’s the thing: the best employees know they are good, and they will always be looking for a place to work that offers good pay and benefits. Also, make sure your employees take their vacation days. Most people need time off to recharge so they don’t burn out.
3) Show your appreciation.
Thank and reward employees for a job well done. Gifts don’t have to be extravagant; it could be a pair of movie tickets or a free lunch once a week to the employee who has put in the most effort that week. Commend them with certificates or letters of thanks. Have an employee of the month and of the year. Remember their birthdays and give them a card.
4) Help them with goals.
Promote employees from within whenever possible, and help them identify a career path within your company. Most people don’t want to feel “stuck” in one position forever. Empower your employees to make decisions, set their own goals and then hold them accountable.
5) Make them feel like they’re part of a team.
A team can be the entire company or departments within the company. Some friendly competition amongst teams can help motivate and boost energy levels. Make it clear how each person’s role contributes to the company’s goals, and therefore their goals.
What do you think makes a positive workplace?
What makes you feel motivated and to go to work every day?
Do you notice a direct correlation between happy employees and happy customers?
Surprise Me! Network Blog | By Unknown | January 22, 2013
Are you beginning a customer loyalty program for your business? Or are you hoping to gain some additional awareness and exposure for your current loyalty program? Before you can begin to see the results of your program, you need to make sure your customers know about it and understand what it is.
Because customer loyalty programs are common in many locations, your customers may already be on the lookout for any clues that suggest you are offering a program as well. If they aren’t, however, you’ll want to let them know about the first time they stop by your business.
Below are a few effective ways for spreading the word about your loyalty program.
Your customer loyalty program is in your business location, so it makes sense to promote it within your location. Whether you own a restaurant, a coffee shop, or a shoe store, including messaging about your loyalty program is a sure way to sign up more participants. Mention the program at your cash register, on your menus, and on in-store signs. Also, train your employees to talk about your program to each customer as well. This will all help encourage your customers to join your program.
If your business has the budget, utilize different forms of media to spread the word about your loyalty program. Radio commercials are still an effective form of advertising, as are television commercials. If these are a bit too pricey, however, think of print advertising in local publications. Also, online advertising is an affordable and targeted way to promote your program. The main thing to keep in mind is to promote your loyalty program where your customers are looking. Once you get your messaging in front of them, you’ll see more sign ups.
Sell the Benefits of Your Loyalty Program
Before any customer signs up for your loyalty program, they’ll want to hear the benefits. Make sure that, no matter how you promote your program, you keep the benefits of the program at the forefront of your messaging. If you offer free surprises or goods for frequenting your location, tell people. If you give away discount codes to your loyal customers, tell people. All these benefits will convert more infrequent customers to frequent customers.
When your customer loyalty program is adopted by your prime customer base, you are building a quality crowd of return customers who will keep coming back and spending money at your business. With a successful loyalty program, your business can count on revenue, and you’ll see it succeed.
Click here for more information about how to spread the word about your loyalty program.
How does your business spread the word about your loyalty program?
Which way is most effective for your company?
What are other effective ways you can inform customers about your program?
Targeted email campaigns are still one of the most effective forms of marketing, and marketers say that email is still a strong performer as a generator of both website traffic and revenue. Experian recently released a white paper titled, “E-Mail Market Study: Acquisition and Engagement Tactics”. Email engagement proves your subscribers are interested in your brand and the content you are delivering. Email marketers are using new methods for email engagement and also improving older methods to gain a greater understanding of their customers’ needs and wants.
Here are some interesting facts and best practices from the white paper:
1) Point of Sale is the Best Place to Collect Email Addresses
• Seventy-eight percent of retail brands use sales associates to collect email addresses.
• Thirty-six percent of brands collect email addresses on paper (not recommended due to spelling errors)
• The majority of marketers (73 percent) source and track email addresses acquired at point of sale differently than other addresses
• Thirty-three percent of marketers report that more than 25 percent of their customers are willing to provide their email address at point of sale
2) Use Incentive Signs at Your Cash Register
A successful example Urban Outfitters used was “Ask to be signed up for our e-mails and receive 10% off your next purchase.” This tactic would be most effective in the service department. Post a sign in your waiting room or at the cash register offering an incentive to sign up for your emails.
3) Use Pop-Up Windows
Pop-up windows on websites are one of the most aggressive and successful method for e-mail address acquisition. When Sport Chalet installed a pop-up window on their website saying “Sign up for Our E-mails,” they experienced an 84% increase in the total number of valid e-mail addresses and a 39% increase in total opens. If this isn’t an option on your site, offer e-mail opt-ins in several places across your website. Experian finds that above-the-fold opt-in locations perform better than those below the fold.
4) Use Opt-Out Surveys
Opt-out surveys are used after a customer opts-out of your emails, and can help identify why your customers are dropping off your list. Ask questions like:
• Do they not like the time of day they’re receiving emails?
• Have they had a life change that would make them unsubscribe?
• Do they not like the frequency with which they receive your messages?
• Do they find your content interesting or useful?
The answers to these questions can help steer your program in the right direction.
5) Use Subject Line Testing
Companies surveyed agreed that subject line testing wins when it comes to results. Over time, if subject line testing is done correctly and consistently, open rates can improve significantly. With today’s sophisticated CRMs, subject line testing on different groups can be accomplished very easily. Every marketer should make this type of testing a common practice.
What are your best practices and recommendations for e-mail acquisition?
What has worked and what hasn’t? Why?
A recent article in Direct Marketing News offers an in-depth analysis of the typical obstacles that companies must overcome to build customer loyalty. If your business is not getting the most out of its customer loyalty program, it’s probably due to one of the following four reasons:
1. Difficulty in measuring and using data
Loyalty programs cannot be measured in traditional ways. In fact, three of the top five reported challenges are measurement related. Measurement needs to focus on these three metrics:
1. Specific changes in the customer value equation
2. Shifts in consumer value
3. Customer engagement and advocacy
Each metric needs a clear definition of success for now and the future. Measurement then becomes part of continuous loyalty loop, in which customer intelligence creates customer insights, which feed into the loyalty program and creates more customer data to start the loop again
2. Picking the right mix of rewards and benefits
Most loyalty rewards involve discounts, but this becomes difficult to execute as everyone has the same offerings and retailers have trained consumers to look for nothing but discounts. This is a delicate tightrope act: give rewards that are too expensive or popular and the budget gets blown. Starbucks, Virgin Airlines and National Car Rental offer just a few of the programs that earn rave reviews with customers, without breaking the bank to do it. The key to success is activating “soft benefits” that have high perceived value.
3. Programs lack true innovation
The average customer is a member of more than 10 loyalty programs. As more and more retailers launch programs, making a splash with a new program isn’t easy. Before loyalty programs, customers would stay with their favorite retailers based primarily on price or location. Loyalty broke this inertia, giving customers a reason to shop at another retailer. If faced with a choice between companies, loyalty broke the tie.
But, as more companies start programs, a new inertia has formed. Nearly 60% of consumers state they only participate in a few loyalty programs. Meanwhile, customers feel they are getting less out of programs. About 30% of consumers feel that there is little or no value in joining a program.
Offering differentiated benefits gives customers a reason to engage. Assess the competition and do customer research to find these benefits. Carefully test to pick the winners.
4. Marketing and operations are not on the same page
Customers can receive years of good interaction with a brand and program only to have it all ruined by one negative experience. Executing a program happens on two levels: systems to identify the customer and present them with the right reward/recognition, and store operations to carry out the needed tactics. System issues are frustrating but easy to explain, while in-store issues cause more frustration.
Soft benefits are ideal because customer benefit outweighs cost. Failed execution means customers will not trust the company in the future; operations need to deliver on marketing promises.
How is your business measuring customer loyalty?
What rewards and benefits can you offer your customers to stay innovative?
How can you train your employees to execute your loyalty program to your customers?
As we enter 2013, the business world remains in a state of uncertainty. Will the economy recover? Will new taxes be in place? Regardless of what happens, your key to success will lie in one thing: customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty builds your business when times are good and keeps you in business when times are bad.
Customer loyalty makes your revenue both more predictable AND more profitable since it costs far more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.
How do you keep customers loyal? Simple:
1. Create and market products that make it easier for your customers to sell to their customers. When building your strategies, start with the needs of your customers’ customers and work backwards to discover how you can be the most helpful.
2. Anticipate what your customers might need from your firm and handle it long before they’re aware they need it. Your goal: provide such incredible service that your customers feel like they’d be crazy to even consider buying from anyone else.
3. Provide extra value that goes far beyond the customer’s expectations of your products and services. For example, find customers for your customers so that they can build their own business and thus give more business to you!
4. Whenever possible, meet your customers in social situations rather than purely business ones. Trade shows and industry events are great, but attending a charity event where your customers will be present is even better.
5. Be more than just a vendor.
Have a great 2013, everyone!
What are you doing to build customer loyalty in 2013?
Have you ever met with your customers in a social setting? Where?