Tag Archives: Customers 1st Blog

TheStreet’s 5 Best, 5 Worst Customer-Loyalty Programs

TheStreet.com took a look at customer-loyalty programs and rated the 5 best and the 5 worst out there for customers. From high-end retailers like Neiman Marcus to the corner Starbucks, find out what loyalty programs customers should sign-up for and which they should avoid. Reporter Jason Notte writes, according to marketing firm Colloquy’s Loyalty Census released last year, membership in U.S. customer-loyalty programs has reached 1.8 billion, up from 1.3 billion in 2007. The census showed that the average U.S. household has signed up for 14.1 loyalty programs, but only participates in 6.2 of them.

We’ve highlighted two of the best and two of the worst – you’ll have to visit TheStreet.com for the rest!

Neiman Marcus
Neiman Marcus’ rewards program isn’t for everyone, but neither are its offerings. First, InCircle’s best benefits don’t kick in until a shopper spends $3,000, which is roughly the amount of a middling offering in the wish book. At that level, the valued customer receives invitations to members-only shopping events, advance notices for sales, double points on a day of your choosing (not much of a sacrifice, as it takes roughly $5,000 in spending to earn back $100), free gift packaging and various literature.

National’s Emerald Club
National’s fast lane for frequent renters that not only gets them from plane to car faster than most folks can call up their rental agreement, but also gives renters their pick of any car on the lot once they arrive.

Celebrity Cruise Lines’ Captain’s Club
While behind-the-scenes tours and increased access is nice and all, it looks flimsy when compared to the $75 to $400 credits that customers receive on competing lines like Oceania.

Amtrak Guest Rewards
Even when a traveler reaches Amtrak’s upper echelon — Select Plus — he or she only get a 50% bump in point accrual, club access and blackout availability. When a points program gives a customer more incentives to deal with partners — Select Plus members get double points at Hertz and Hyatt — its value goes off the rails.

What loyalty programs do you know work the best, what work the worst? Let us know! DM @customerworld

Online Customer Service is Just as Important

According to this post on Econsultancy there should be a strong emphasis on meeting the needs of customers online. The results of a survey conducted by nGeneraCIM show that 91% of UK web users mentioned that customer service is crucial when purchasing online.

If customers needed help when searching through the site, 36% preferred email as a contact means, 26% said they would visit the FAQ section, and only 19% said they would call a customer service number. Many UK websites still haven’t provided adequate means of contacting customer service through the internet. They will have to do a better job, as well as utilize live chat to have an effective online customer service strategy in the future.

Deadly Customer Service Mistakes

I came across this list of customer service mistakes from SEO Hosting that many companies are still committing to this day. Take a look at them, is your company guilty of any of these mistakes? We’re interested in any other mistakes that aren’t on this list as well. Enjoy!

  1. Ignoring your customer after the sale
  2. Not living up to your promises
  3. Not truly listening to your customer
  4. Treating customer complaints as a nuisance rather than an opportunity
  5. Being difficult to reach
  6. Not taking responsibility

Read the full post here.

Join us in Phoenix this November for NACCM Customers 1st

The 2009 NACCM Customers 1st Conference will arm you with the tools and techniques you need to become the initiator at your organization and the skills you need to succeed with all of your customer initiatives. Our world-class speaking faculty is filled with industry-leading initiator’s who are ready to share their secrets to success.

Register by THIS Friday, August 7th & Save $300!

Find out more about the conference and register here: http://bit.ly/G4r9t

Redefining the Secret Shopper

This post on Content Marketing Today highlights how Five Guys Burgers and Fries have taken the concept of the “secret shopper” into new heights. Generally when we think of secret shopper programs we think of a shopper coming in and taking notes on everything that is going wrong with the employee’s customer service skills. Five Guys Burgers takes a different approach.

What the burger joint does is make a note of when optimal behavior is performed and then employees are compensated through bonuses and raises for quality of customer service. Employees are encouraged to give great customer service, and it proves that happy employees means happy customers.

Communication is important in customer service

Aileen Bennett recently wrote a blog post at theadvertiser.com looking how communication changed her experience with a certain local store. She was very impressed with the in-store customer service, but was not impressed with the lack of communication that ensued after she left. There was a void in communication, leaving the customer in the dark when it came to finding out information that was not in the store.

What do you think? Communication is important, and customer service occurs more places than just in person at the store. How can companies ensure that they’re effectivly communicating with their customers both in and out of stores?

Take Your Customer to Work Day

If you haven’t noticed, today is Take Your Customer to Work Day. This post does a great job of discussing why it is important to open up your doors and invite customers into the workplace to meet employees and better understand how your business works.

Bringing your customers to work builds trust, and it also demonstrates the respect your company has for your customers. Customers get to know the company better and the company gets to knows its customers better as well. It’s a win-win!

So invite your customers to your shops and stores!

Are you Tracking Customer Feedback?

Jackie Huba recently posted on the Church of the Customer Blog that a CMO survey showed that most companies are not tracking customer feedback. This poses as a huge problem because companies can not improve if they do not track what is being said about them. Here’s a recap of the findings of the survey conducted on 400 senior marketers.

Of the survey participants:

  • 56% said their companies have no programs to track or propagate positive word of mouth
  • 59% don’t compensate employees based on improvements in customer loyalty or satisfaction
  • only 16% said their companies have a routine system in place for monitoring what people are saying about them or their brands online

How is your company listening to customer feedback?