Monday, November 12, 2007

A Day in the Life of the Rewarded

I had a great day yesterday. I flew to Columbus, Ohio. That's not why it was great.

I flew United. Got a first class upgrade and got to bypass the scary long security line and go in the "special" frequent flyer line.

When I arrived I got to bypass the scary long AVIS rental line and go directly to the "Preferred" area where my name appeared in lights on a big reader board telling me where my car waited - clean and ready to go.

When I checked into the Marriott my name AGAIN appeared (not in lights but in a framed welcome sign) because that visit signified my obtaining GOLD status (stayed 50 nights this year with them).

I went shopping last night at the local mall to stock up on AVEDA products. I was told that I also hit a milestone with my points. I get a free day at the spa!

Love all day long. Why? Because the people I do business with track my business, and thank me constantly for it.

What have you done for YOUR frequent flyers lately?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Membership Drive vs. Membership Bribe

iPods, George Foreman Grills, Cash, chance to win a car. I'm seeing it all. And it makes me sad and worried. Why are we resorting to bribing our members to join?

It’s simple. Because they’ve stopped referring us. But let’s be honest. Who is the person willing to move their checking account (and a sticky one at that) for an iPod? Someone who really wants an iPod. Is that bad? I don’t know. Consider this. If they DO come in (as a result of that offer) is your new account experience going to create word-of-mouth or is the gift masking the process.

We are in the business of managing moments of truth.

A moment of truth: Your product is service. It’s manufactured WITH the member present. You only get one chance at a first impression. That first impression is the opening of a new membership.

It costs, on average, five times more to get a new member than it does to serve an existing member (and that stat does not include the grill of MP3 player). That first impression needs attention.

If you haven’t reviewed your “experience” lately I have a quick and efficient way of doing so. The Net Promoter Score (NPS). Your challenge. For the next month, send a two question survey to each new member AFTER they’ve opened the account (like a week after). Here are the two questions:

1. On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend (insert CU name) to a friend, family member or co-worker?

2. Why did you answer the way you did?

Some people see that and say “Well, the member doesn’t have enough experience with us to answer correctly.” What I really hear is - “We don’t create a good first impression.”
I think that’s why we are giving away grills......

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

How much money DO I have to have on deposit?

A neighbor of ours just lost her husband of 45 years to cancer. She doesn't drive. She wants to sell his Buick.

She called her credit union last week to get the book value of the car. She was told that it took too long to do that and since she wanted it for personal reasons, they couldn't do it for her. If she had wanted the value because she was going to get a new car and a loan, no problem.

She has over $10,000.00 on deposit with this credit union. My question is - "How much money DO I have to have on deposit to get good service?'

Have we become so bottom-line oriented that we don't help members any more? These stories are becoming more and more common among financial institutions. It just scares me.

From a loyalty economics perspective, we are making some bad decisions with our policies. This story has made the rounds in our neighborhood. Word of mouth WAS and IS the best marketing. If you're not measuring that, you don't get it.

The best way to measure it is with the Net Promoter Score. I attended a conference in New York City earlier this year and wrote about the NPS in CUES.

If you think that service is your differentiator, you need to start measuring it and managing it and giving out book values for cars for your members who have been loyal. That's just my opinion.....

Monday, June 18, 2007

AVIS sort of gets it.

Recently AVIS informed me that I am now "AVIS First" which entitles me to complimentary upgrades (when available) and a FREE MP3 jack. Just simply ask for it (the letter said) the next time you're at an AVIS rental counter.

So I did. Last week I was in Tucson (for about the 8th time in the past 8 months) and when I went to the counter, asked if I could have my complimetary MP3 jack. The poor girl just rolled her eyes as if this is like the 4,000th time she'd been asked that question. "We don't have them here." she informed me. "Our office is too small. You'll have to go to a BIG rental location to get it."

Wow. What if I never go to big rental locations? What if I only go to smaller towns (which, BTW, Tucson is not that small). Wouldn't it have been easier if they had just MAILED me the thing? It couldn't weigh an ounce.

Later that same week I found myself in the Orlando Airport at the AVIS Counter. I asked the girl if I could have my complimentary MP3 jack. She mechanically reached in a drawer, grabbed one and slapped it on the counter. Didn't say a word.

The car she rented me was too old to have the line in for the jack. I wasn't feeling the love.

But hey -- AVIS tried harder. Right? Just not sure at what.....

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Marriott Makes Me GOLD!

How do you measure loyalty? One good deed at a time.
I've been loyal to Marriott hotels since I started my own business 6 years ago.
Yesterday, that loyalty paid off - big time.

I have been Marriott Elite Silver for a couple of years. You only need to stay 10 nights to get it.
Last year I almost made Gold (50 nights a year) but some smart person at HQ (let's call him J.W.) decided I was close enough AND added up my years of loyalty and made me Gold anyway.

Why is that such a big deal? Two words. Concierge Lounge. I get upgraded to that floor if at all possible (for no charge) but am guaranteed access (with the secret key in the elevator) each time I stay. Adult beverages, shnacks, breakfast, and gorgeous surroundings. Aaahhhhhh.

It's a much better world when you're at that level.

Thank you Mr. Marriott for getting the economics of loyalty.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Green Stamps and Loyalty

I remember licking them. Sheets and sheets of them. And trying to line up their little perforated lines to the lines on the pages. When a book was full it curled from the spit and made a satisfying crackle noise. We kept the full ones in the glove box of the Dodge and waited for the day we had enough of them to go to the store and get that Twister game.

Man, that’s loyalty. I’m talking about S & H Green Stamps. Only certain gas stations and grocery stores in my neighborhood gave “stamps.” And these green things made my mom crazy loyal.

There are two components to creating that kind of loyalty.

1. What does your company want ME to do?
2. What are you going to do for ME if I do it?

In the case of the S & H Green Stamp, you wanted my mom to only shop at Safeway. Every time she did she got Green Stamps.

These things represented buying power in the Green Stamp Store. Since you didn’t KNOW exactly what she wanted, you let her choose with her books of stamps. You gave HER the buying power.

Banks don’t get it. They want all your business so they set up relationship pricing programs that use terms like “aggregate balances”. "In exchange for having an aggregate balance of X dollars - I will waive your money order fee." I’m not kidding.

WOW -- you mean if I MOVE my car loan to your bank, you'll give me a dollar?

But what If I’ll never purchase a money order in my entire life? "Oh, well, we’ll give you a cashier’s check for free too." But..... oh forget it.

United Airlines gets it. They treat me like a queen because I fly over 100,000 miles with them each year. Of course they give me miles, but what I really want is comfort. So I have the option of using those miles for first class upgrades OR free membership in their Red Carpet Club. I also get the priviledge of boarding the plane first, and a secret phone number where people actually answer. They get it. In fact, their frequent flyer program was inspired by the folks at S & H Green Stamps.

On average 20% of your customers give you 80% of your business. What have YOU done for THEM lately?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The sky is falling...

If you are a member of Continental FCU, the question you have to be asking yourself, "How loyal AM I?"

The boys at OpenSourceCU have an amazing discussion going on that really boils down to loyalty.

Wings Financial is attempting the first ever hostile takeover in the history of credit unions. Basically they are asking the members of Continental FCU how loyal they are?

Some people may want to sit back and wait and see if it happens. I have to ask how did THIS happen? How did we get here?