Tag Archives: loyalty programs

LIve from FOCI 2013 – Relationship Matters: Is Being Too Connected a Disadvantage

Eric Lucan, of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, led a
discussion about the benefits and drawbacks of social connectivity for the
hospitality industry. Kimpton employees have been empowered in the same way
that employees at the Ritz Carlton chain have: Delight the customer ‘ it is
your budget and in your power.
To help attendees think about the differences across rewards
or loyalty programs, Eric lined up the attributes of membership programs versus guest
initiatives
. Under a membership program, guests are considered to be part
of a program in which they accumulate points in a tier-based manner that is
based on their transactions.  The result
of a well-managed membership program is loyalists. 
Kimpton takes a guest initiative tack toward rewarding their
loyal customers.  Kimpton is focused on
ensuring that guests feel like part of a family, and makes a point of noting
and responding to their preferences in order to capitalize on opportunities to
delight customers.  Kimpton emphasizes
the relational aspects of their guests’ business, and desires to engender trust
in customers.  The result of Kimpton’s
orientation to guests is evangelists.
On their website, Kimpton encourages guests to respond to
several open-ended questions that reveal more about them ‘ most notably, the
prompt: ‘If I wasn’t working, I’d be”
Kimpton hotels are in the boutique category, with each hotel
having a distinct personality.  The
hotels average about 250 rooms, and each hotel determines how it will build
trust and delight customers, as there isn’t a set budget across the chain for
these customer relationship efforts. 
Kimpton has grown to about 60 hotels, nearly doubling over the past
years, and they are determined to grow. 
Kimpton is even more determined to sustain their customer relationship
building through the personalized service and compelling outreach to guests
that is their trademark.
As Kimpton taps in more to social media, it is conscious of
the need to ensure that social listening does not become creepy.  Kimpton believes that maintaining the human
component in their transactions, listening to the reward program, and will keep
them close to customers. Being careful to hang onto the culture that Kimpton
has developed means that Kimpton can continue to grow but still keep doing what
makes them special. 
Connectivity can mean that the humans are taken out of the
transaction. Automation and Smartphones could eliminate what makes the hotel
stay special. As a result hospitality may be becoming less hospitable.  But at Kimpton, guests will continue to say, “You
had me at ‘Welcome‘”.

Gigi DeVault writes a market research column for About.com
Market Research Guide
http://marketresearch.about.com/

Free Web Seminar: Defending the Loyalty Function: Lessons from Chief Customer Officers

Defending the Loyalty Function: Lessons from Chief Customer Officers

Loyalty is elusive, and justifying ROI for loyalty initiatives is even more difficult. Yet, many companies have placed such a premium on customer loyalty that they’ve created a new C-Suite role called the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) to serve as the definitive and authoritative view of customers across the company and to drive customer and corporate strategy at the highest levels of the company.

During this session, you’ll learn how to:
1. Quantify the impact disloyal customers can have on your business
2. Measure the success of loyalty initiatives
3. Communicate the value of loyalty in terms understood by the CEO, the CFO, and especially the CCO
4. Enlist the help of the CFO in championing loyalty

Reserve your Webinar seat, mention priority code G1M2200W1BlogLI
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/263968281

Customer Service Basics

Have companies forgotten about how simple and effective thanking customers can be? This post on Get Elastic discusses how appreciated Philip Mikal felt after he received a hand-written thank you note from Rackspace hosting. He even mentions, ‘A handwritten note and cow bell to celebrate their recent IPO; Rackspace understands that customer service is the new marketing.’

Businesses will have to revert to basic principles this holiday season in order to keep customer loyalty high, especially because of our current economic situation.

How many loyalty cards do you have?

In a recent blog by Robert J. Howard at Customer Think, he addresses the loyalty card subject I’m sure we all have dealt with. How many loyalty cards do you have on your key chain right now? He points out that businesses have overrun the customers’ wallets with loyalty cards, and the market is at the point of saturation.

It all began with rewards for airline miles, then hotels, and now it’s moved to restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and to anything imaginable beyond that. So what do customers do with their addiction to their rewards? How do businesses find a way to still reward their customers who frequent their business? Do you have a solution to this current plastic crisis?

Customer Loyalty

A recent article at the blog Customers are Always pointed out the huge difference between a customers having loyalty cards and customers being loyal to stores. Just because a customer has a loyalty card doesn’t mean that they will continually be loyal to this store. To ensure that a customer does stay loyal to your store, you must give them customer service that they want to come back to your store for. What do you think? Does great customer service automatically guarantee customer loyalty?

Customer Loyalty Programs

This article in Advertising Age discusses the role of loyalty during economic downturns. Hilton Hotel’s senior VP of customer loyalty discussed how the members of the Hilton Honors program are responsible for the current success of Hilton and the chains ability to maintain business. While many view customer loyalty programs an important part of business during economic hardships, some corporations think about cultivating these loyal customers only during troubled times. This blog post raises the interesting point, that there is never a ‘best’ time to encourage engagement in loyalty programs, instead it is important for companies to be constantly conscious of this need. The author of the post made this statement Let’s consider a simple loyalty lifecycle: (1) Engage customers, (2) build loyalty, (3) reinforce loyal activities. Downturns are the worst time for (1) and (2) because there are fewer customers. It’s the time to really hone in on (3). So if you just start thinking about loyalty during a downturn, it’s too late. What is your view on customer loyalty programs? Do you think that corporations have not been responsible enough in terms of cultivating consumer loyalty when they don’t have a pressing need for it?