Thursday, November 11, 2010

Customer Loyalty Can Be Surprising

Many companies use a customer loyalty scheme whether it be miles, points or other free stuff. All are based on dollars spent and frequency of usage.

None of that is big news.

I am a member of plenty of these programs. And many of us will admit,
some of those companies we really do not like yet the attraction of the
benefits keep us using the product or service. But I have to tell you about
one that has my attention.

This summer Panera Bread Company introduced
Enrollment requires a visit to the website to enter the needed information.
The card is presented to you at the store. Here is what I like about their
approach – you can go to an in-store terminal and register immediately.
Once registered you are surprised with a free item (mine was a bagel). No
accumulation of spending, just an immediate reward. In a very short time, I
had a number of surprises offered - $2 off of an entrée, free drinks,
99 cents for a higher priced pastry. I never know what “surprise” will be
offered. I like that for a change. Panera is not in a business where I am
working to accumulate points for a trip so no tracking is really necessary.

Surprise works. also has an expiration on the offers. So I am motivated to
get back in to redeem and of course spend even more money while there.
The offers print on the receipt along with the expiration date and can be
found when logging into the account online.

Just this morning, I opened my email to find a “special surprise” in honor
of my birthday this month. Their goal is to surprise in unexpected ways –
it is working for this now loyal customer.
Start thinking about what you can do to surprise your customer. Simple
stuff works especially when the customer does not expect it.

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