Word of Mouth Marketing and Loyalty Programs

Posted on February 17, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Research shows customer loyalty and reward programs foster positive customer experience. New research connects positive word of mouth marketing with the success of your loyalty program. The two go hand in hand.

Why Loyalty Programs?
MediaPost touches on new research that looks at the success rate of loyalty programs from Colloquy Marketing Consultants. The results are impressive:
- Reward program members are 70% more likely to recommend the brand
- 32% of brand purchases are from non reward members
- Reward program members are more likely to engage in word-of-mouth marketing for the brand, including engaging the online space with Web 2.0 (think Twitter and Facebook)

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Topics: Customer Experience

Starbucks: It's the customer experience not the blend

Posted on February 16, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Starbucks is the king of specialty coffee. The brand has maintained a strong presence in light of the economic recession. Which brings up the question: What are consumers drawn to; the coffee or the experience?

Advertising Age reported Starbucks has an interest to expand the brand to include instant coffee. Currently, consumers can grab Starbucks brand off the shelves at the local grocery. The brand's availability at the grocery store doesn't hinder customer appeal to the stores. There must be a strong customer experience at the store which is not recreated at home.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Microsoft brand's store-front approach

Posted on February 16, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Microsoft recently announced plans to launch a line of retail stores. Microsoft has dominated the PC software business for years. Apple is the biggest competitor, who surpasses Microsoft in terms of integrating customer experience with the brand.

Apple's retail stores have been core to their customer experience program. Customers receive one-on-one service with a human tech to help with everything from software, purchases, and repairs. Apple's store setup is well thought out: simplistic, core products displayed, and clean feel which is a part of their branding.

Some experts believe Microsoft has lost "focus on the individual user" while growing their enterprise customers. Microsoft's move to expand it's presence with retail stores is a visible shift in priorities. The question in everyone's mind is whether or not their stores will put them back in touch with the individual user.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

Employee Satisfaction = a Good Customer Experience

Posted on February 15, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Ever have a boss you loved to hate? You'd bite your lip when he or she spoke, afraid you might say what you were really thinking. If so, you already understand how employee satisfaction equals the customer experience.

Not long ago, as I shopped at a local discount store, I overheard several employees bashing their boss. Obviously, the ladies did not like their jobs, but they needed the work.

When I asked for help, I received half-hearted service--just enough to get by, nothing more. My customer experience was sorely compromised. Perhaps the boss was difficult to work for. I'll never know because I won't be shopping in that store again.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Combining Mystery Shopping with Customer Opinions for the Best Data

Posted on February 13, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

As we've talked about before, the best users of mystery shopping programs offer additional methods to capture data that can be used to make necessary improvements. The reason why these different strategies work together to create such a comprehensive program is because they offer a variety of perspectives that, when combined, give great insight into the total customer experience. For the most part, mystery shopping programs look at the customer experience from the viewpoint of the customer and that of the store staff.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Physical placement affects the customer experience

Posted on February 12, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Customer experience is more than friendly service, clean floors, and well stocked shelves. Retailers are learning from research that customer experience includes the set up of your store.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Education Learns Something New

Posted on February 12, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Retail chains have long been the leaders in utilizing mystery shopping as a means of measuring employee effectiveness and customer satisfaction. Recently, the medical industry has taken note, with some medical systems employing mystery shopping as a way to report on patient care and patient satisfaction.

Now, education is jumping into the mix. As education becomes more customer-oriented, the practice of using mystery shoppers is becoming more common among online and offline colleges who want to measure the quality of the admissions recruiting office. This growing segment of mystery shoppers are paid to "shop" educational institutions, recording their subjective observations about service quality based on a specific set of criteria such as:

"¢ Was the phone answered in three rings?
"¢ Were you asked your name at the start of the conversation?
"¢ Did the representative ask questions to gauge your level of interest?
"¢ Did the representative inquire about your timetable for enrollment?
"¢ How much time elapsed before you received a call back or followup email?
"¢ Were your questions answered sufficiently?
"¢ How friendly and professional were the advisors?

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Creating the Best Customer Surveys

Posted on February 11, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

You can measure your customer's experience using several methods. The most popular being customer surveys. The effectiveness of the survey depends on the method of delivery and design of the survey.

Terry Varva and Douglas Pruden of ICC/Decision Services, co authored an incredible white paper on how to get the most from consumer research. The authors start by discussing what makes consumer research different than market research.

"The special regard in which customers or employees hold the survey means the researcher probably should conduct the research somewhat differently than if he or she were contacting consumers at large."

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Topics: Customer Experience

Increased In-Store Marketing Campaigns

Posted on February 10, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Where is your in-store marketing campaign going? Banana Republic is launching a new program with musicians and iTunes. Shoppers will get a free iTunes gift card with participating purchase. Denny's offered free breakfast to celebrate their first Super Bowl commercial. Companies across the board are using in-store marketing to help draw in consumers.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

Does your brand make consumer's dance with excitement

Posted on February 9, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Do your customers react positively to your brand? Olivier Blanchard would ask if you are dancing with your customers.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

What's Really Bugging Your Customers

Posted on February 8, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Once upon a time, you could enter a store and expect to be met by a friendly, helpful sales associate. Today, in many cases, you're lucky if you can even find a sales associate to ask a simple question.
In a study conducted by STORES/BIGResearch, 19% of shoppers believe rude employees are at the core of poor customer service. With the next overly-indulged generation of sales associates about to come of age, today's customer service is not likely to improve.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Sprint Extends Customer Loyalty Programs

Posted on February 6, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Sprint continues to invest in making their customer service programs better. The company knows how important it is to create a great customer experience for new and loyal customers.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Technology Customizes In-Store Promotions

Posted on February 5, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Giant Eagle plans to implement new system to make in-store promotions more effective. The retailer has invested in deploying the Promotional Display Optimization Solution from Galleria Retail Technology Solutions in all stores.

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Topics: In-Store Marketing

Customer Experience of Retail Therapy

Posted on February 5, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Every time a consumer opens the newspaper or turns on the TV, news of rising unemployment and struggle economic are beaten into their heads. What's the best feel good therapy? Shopping!

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Topics: Customer Experience

Retail Survival Guide: Keep it hot!

Posted on February 4, 2009 by Nanette BrownComments

Yesterday, CNNMoney had an amazing article on what retailers need to do in 2009 to get shoppers in their stores. Author Parija Kavilanz says it boils down to retail basics:

1. Products
2. Price
3. Service

Instead of following suit with the auto industry, whose woes are well published, the article advises retailers to show off. Attract consumers with keeping in-store promotions enticing and consistent. Avoid pulling back in fear of the economy. Instead, focus on what customers want in terms of product variety and competitive pricing.

Retailer's first step is to entice consumers into the store. Don't slash prices excessively, rather focus on exciting in-store promotions that draw consumers in.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Customer Experience Update