How to Turn Online Haters into Loyal Customers

Posted by Brandon Carter on Mar 22, 2016 12:54:30 PM

If you do anything in public, eventually you will encounter a hater.

Running for political office. Opening a business. Voicing an opinion. Even something as innocuous as writing about loyalty will bring out people who strongly disagree. Some even get personal about it on occasion.

It stinks. No one likes hearing they’re wrong, or to be challenged in their beliefs. Most of us aren’t comfortable with the idea that someone out there doesn’t like us.

As it is, disgruntled voices can play an important role in our ecosystem. They question our stances and practices. They call out errors and offer passionate feedback. They help us discover alternative viewpoints and lines of thinking we hadn’t considered.

And when the hater is an angry customer, they present an opportunity to win them back - possibly for a long time.

In this article, I'm going to discuss how to find your online detractors, and how to address them. We’ll take a look at one important step to prevent them, a book about haters you need to read, and why you should spend time with those who love you the most.

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Topics: customer service, customer loyalty

The Two Types of Loyalty, and How to Earn Them

Posted by Brandon Carter on May 21, 2014 4:54:00 AM

I had waited weeks to take my wife to the Greek restaurant. It was MY restaurant. I didn't own it or even work there, but I found the small joint tucked away in a typical nondescript strip mall just a mile or so away from our home. The food was out-of-this-world amazing, the service personable and the prices cheap. Perfect.

The food was brought out, and I was so excited for her to try it that I didn't even notice my own plate. I just wanted her to love the place like I loved the place.

She took a bite.

No reaction.

Another bite. A slight look of concern.

"Well? Isn't it just the best you've ever had?!" I asked.

"It's...really dry."

DAGGERS!

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Customer Incentives, Mobile Coupons, Member Benefits, Viewpoints, customer service, customer loyalty

The High Pressure (and Amazing Benefits) of Customer Engagement

Posted by Brandon Carter on Apr 8, 2014 3:05:00 AM

The following is a true story:

In a previous life, before my days at Access Development, I consulted with a number of small businesses on marketing strategies. One of my clients was a managed IT firm that focused on end-to-end outsourced technology for small businesses. Exciting stuff, but a very well run business that just needed some help taking the next step.

We began executing on a two-pronged plan - lead gen on one side, customer retention on the other. We brought in new clients, then focused on keeping them through regular engagement and open dialog channels - we invited customers to offer feedback anywhere, anytime, on any communication channel.

Much to the client's surprise, their customers took advantage of these channels. Frequently. And my clients freaked out.

"I'm not sure this is working out," they said. "We're having to expand too much to service the customers. We don't like having to manage this many people."member benefits

This is where the loyalty marketing professionals all collectively slap their foreheads.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Customer Incentives, Viewpoints, customer service, customer retention, customer loyalty

3 Characteristics of Companies Built for Customer ROI

Posted by Brandon Carter on Apr 1, 2014 4:30:00 AM

ROI. It's a phrase we business types all know too well. "Return on Investment" is a simple way to measure the effectiveness of a dollar spent. We're conditioned to look for it, measure it and improve it.

And now, a highly educated and economically distressed population of consumers has caught on with as well. It's why millions of people are cutting their cable or cancelling newspapers. They know they can get the same services for cheaper elsewhere - better ROI, in other words.

It's also why people are willing to spend hundreds on a smartphone. It's worth it to them because smartphones have an infinite number of uses, from connecting with family and friends to entertainment to simply keeping up with social status. $500 for that (plus monthly charges) still provides great ROI.

Every purchase is being analyzed on what it can do for the consumer. Even long after a purchase is made, ROI is being mentally assessed through customer service interactions, the verbiage on bills and statements, the posts a company makes on its Facebook page. Yet many companies build themselves around the initial purchase and focus solely on creating transactions.

Think of it as a challenge - how irrelevant can your cost become to your customers/members? What can you give them that either literally recoups their investment or gives them so much value that the price is irrelevant? What can you do to help them feel like they're getting one over on you?

Here are three primary characteristics of companies that operate with customer ROI in mind. They're not the only characteristics, but they're critical traits of companies that thrill their customers:

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Customer Incentives, Discount Programs, Member Benefits, Viewpoints, roi, customer roi, customer service, customer retention, customer loyalty

Customer Retention: Cheaper than Acquisition; Still Not Easy

Posted by Brandon Carter on Mar 18, 2014 2:13:00 AM

There’s a longtime adage in business that says it costs five times more (or even more) to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. It’s cited all over the place, but no one is quite clear on its origins. Don Peppers attributed it to a Harvard Business Review article “from a couple decades ago.” Ipsos Loyalty says it’s outright untrue.

The truth is, there are a number of cost variables every company has in play that muddy the waters between retention and acquisition. There are complicating factors on each side of the equation, but in general, it’s going to cost more to bring a customer in than to keep one in the fold.

That makes it sound so easy. Combine it with the Pareto Principle (80% of sales will come from 20% of customers) and you’ve got yourself a simple game plan for untold fortunes.

What those adages don’t mention is that customer retention is harder than acquisition.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Customer Incentives, Member Benefits, Viewpoints, customer service, customer retention, customer loyalty

The Simple Loyalty-Building Tactic Many Companies Ignore

Posted by Brandon Carter on Jan 2, 2014 1:21:00 AM

Try to count the methods companies use to generate customer loyalty, and you'll quickly run out of fingers. And toes. And the fingers and toes of your friends and family. A quick glance at our collection of loyalty statistics shows that companies are attempting a variety of tactics, and customers are lapping it up - if not necessarily always returning their loyalty.

Points and miles, punch cards, gamification, discount programs, insider clubs...brands have become incredibly creative in trying to capture the elusive hearts and minds of customers, with decent results most of the time. If a loyal customer is so much more valuable than trying to pull in new ones, then it's very much worthwhile to invest in any idea that can bring a customer back.

Which is why it's so mind-boggling that many companies are overlooking the small stuff that has a direct impact on a customer's perception of the brand. Specifically, there's one area where many brands are simply not doing enough.

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Topics: Rewards Programs, Points and Miles Programs, Ongoing Incentive Programs, Discount Programs, Member Benefits, Viewpoints, customer service, customer loyalty, social media

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