<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=238977&amp;fmt=gif">

Last week, we released the article Superior Customer Service: Your Loyalty Program’s Secret Weapon. In it, we discussed the importance of customer service to any business, but especially to those with loyalty programs, which rely on a positive customer experience to succeed. In part 2 of this series below, we give some tips on how to enhance your own customer service efforts.

I worked in a call center. Briefly.

Fresh out of college, I wanted to be making money as I searched for a “real job” so I took a position that was notoriously easy to get, at a place that would hire just about anyone.

Admittedly, this company put a lot of effort into training according to client expectations. However, it’s very hard to make a group of teens, job seekers, recently laid-off, etc., really care.

Confession time. Whenever I have to call customer service, I always cringe, waiting for that dreaded phone tree before I ever get to talk to a person.

I think my record is 18 selections before I got frustrated and pounded 0, which wasn’t listed but thankfully sent me to the operator anyway.

Seriously, I prefer to use a company’s website to find hours of operation, pay bills, and all the other automated tasks you usually find in a phone tree.

So unless one of your options is “If you would like to hear a duck quack” then I’m probably not going to find my answer automated in your system. No, if I’m resorting to dialing a number, I want to talk to a person, dang it.

Rant over.

Whose job is it to create member / customer loyalty for your organization?

Account managers? Customer service reps? Maybe YOURS?

You may even have a team in your organization dedicated to the client experience, like we do.

According to our VP of Client Success, Emily Hayes, EVERY SINGLE employee is an important player in the member retention and satisfaction game. From web designers to shipping clerks to payroll representatives, each employee should understand how their efforts contribute to happy members.

Because when organizations get it right, and members are loyal, the payoff can be huge. Research shows that 81% of emotionally connected consumers will not only promote the brand among their family and friends, but they will also spend more.

And we’re not talking pennies.

Repeat customers spend 67% more than new ones, according to one study.

So…member retention, engagement and loyalty are clearly a big deal.

But what about the employees at your organization… the ones expected to create engagement-invoking, loyalty-inducing experiences for your members?

What about THEIR retention, engagement and loyalty? Does THAT matter?

Human resource departments are typically tasked with keeping workers happy. And in the tightest labor market the U.S. has seen in 5 decades, HR professionals are learning that it absolutely matters.

A lot.

Engaged Employees Lead to Engaged Customers

Studies show that if you are looking to engage customers, the best place to start is with engaged employees. In fact, a study conducted at Cornell University linked companies on Fortune Magazine’s Best Companies to Work For with higher customer satisfaction scores.

The payoff comes in both retention and revenue. One report suggests companies with engaged employees see 233% greater customer loyalty and a 26% greater annual increase in revenue.

We’ve written before about how engaged employees = engaged customers, but it’s never been more evident than it is today.

New call-to-action

The unemployment rate recently descended to 3.7% - the lowest it’s been since 1969 when millions of men were pulled out of the workforce by the Vietnam War Draft. The Fed considers the “natural” rate of unemployment to be between 4.5% and 5%. So at a rate this low, there are more open jobs than workers to fill them.

And, frankly, it’s impacting the customer experience.

We’ve been sharing the inner workings of the Access’ discount network for a few weeks now. This week in part 3 of our series about the partnership marketing team, we discuss the current effort to enhance the travel experience for members.

When people hear the term “travel discounts,” they usually imagine discounts on hotel stays, car rentals, etc. You know, expenses associated with getting there and staying there.

Indeed, those things are important. Extremely important. So much so, in fact, that we place a great deal of effort into securing major discounts on them. Alone, however, they don’t account for the entire travel experience.

From family activities to business luncheons, travelers fill their days with shopping, recreation, dining out and more.

Last week we discussed the importance of building strong relationships with merchant partners. This week, in part 2 of our series about the partnership marketing team at Access, we explore the importance of valuable offers and why merchants trust their business with Access. 

When it comes to merchant discounts, most consumers just want to know one thing: how good is the deal?

But for merchants, there’s a lot riding on the type of discount they can (and should) be willing to offer.

How is it then that the Access network consistently has better offers from more merchant providers than any other value added benefit in America? Especially when deep discounts are often associated with marketing gimmicks that only attract coupon addicts – customers who give their loyalty to the best current deal, not to favorite brands?

You may have noticed this blog contains many articles explaining why strong relationships are important in the business world. Organizations need a good rapport with their members, businesses with their customers, companies with their employees, etc.

At Access, we know the value of strong relationships. After all, we manage the nation’s largest network of merchant discounts. This kind of achievement only happens when you’re devoted to forming and forging relationships.

As the ‘silent partner,’ we strive to make the experience beneficial not just for merchants but for organizations and their members, too. Consequently, Access spends a great deal of effort honing strategies for communicating with everyone we deal with.