Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fairwinds does Loyalty the right way!

Sometimes it feels like no one appreciates the everyday consumer (me!) and then I find someone doing something really special to reward us.

I just found an article (see below) by Myriam DiGiovanni in the CU Times that talks about a credit union rewarding member loyalty. This is the way it should be done - rewarding and providing value with a business's (in the case Fairwinds Credit Union) products and services. Wouldn't it be nice if all businesses did this for their customers???

"Member Loyalty Rewards Put Wind in FAIRWINDS Credit Union's Sails
September 03, 2008

By Myriam DiGiovanni
ORLANDO, Fla. — FAIRWINDS Credit Union is out to prove membership has its rewards.

The credit union recently relaunched its 2006 member loyalty program dubbed Relationship Rewards, where members earn points for interest paid on loans, dividends earned on deposit accounts and for each year of membership. The points can be used to lower interest rates on loans, earn a higher rate on deposits, waive fees and reduce costs on insurance coverage. Members can sign up on the newly revamped site at

A second loyalty promotion that members can take advantage of is the Member Referral Campaign that will run on a quarterly basis. The promotion is geared to encourage members to share the benefits of a FAIRWINDS membership with family and friends. For each new member referred, the existing member will receive a 500-point Relationship Reward bonus and be entered into a drawing for a pair of round-trip airfare tickets, courtesy of AirTran Airways.

"We felt a rewards program that enhances products that our members need would provide more value than using points to purchase a household item or merchandise typical of other reward programs. By simply using their credit union, members create perpetual discounts and bonuses for themselves," said FAIRWINDS CU Executive Vice President of Marketing Dianne Owen. "For example, if a member wanted to finance a $40,000 car for 72 months with an APR of 6.29% and then use 5,000 of his Relationship Rewards points, the rate would drop to 5.79%, which equates to a savings of $600 over the life of the loan."

As an added benefit for the month of August, members will automatically earn double points during the "Double Rewards Summer Bonus." In addition, both new and existing members can earn even more by opening a Clear account, which gives members the freedom to customize their financial services.

Owen said the programs are part of FAIRWINDS ongoing commitment to increase its membership while making the most of its over 65,000 member e-mails.

"We have a lot of initiatives on going green, so as we were thinking of growing our membership and that referrals are the No. 1 source for new members, everything aligned and it was the optimal time to do something like this," said Owen.

She added that the loyalty and rewards programs provided an opportunity to leverage its new e-mail marketing initiative by making it easy to not only refer friends and family but also help those referred open their accounts online in just 10 minutes.

"Members can simply plug in the names and e-mail addresses of five of their friends and family who are then shot an e-mail inviting them to check out their credit union and just click here to open an account online in less than 10 minutes," said Owen. "We're really excited about this because it is so convenient and easy to do and happy members are our best source for new members. FAIRWINDS service statement is 'every member an ambassador' so we value and want to reward those members that spread the word about what we have to offer."

Plans are underway to continue to send promotional e-mails quarterly in a bid to keep the programs fresh.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Earning Loyalty Thru Customer Service

For the past several years, I've counted on my Lexmark laser printer for printing all of those things that I need to put on paper. Even though I had to beat that printer into submission every time I used it, it would come through in the end and I would get my document. Maybe a little covered with inkdust, but still - I did get my doc.

Well, after a year of having to bang the cartridge door open and shut multiple times before I could get a print job done, I finally broke down and got a new printer. This time I settled for an HP because there are so many choices and I was in a hurry.

I've had my printer three days. It was lovely the first and second days, and then sporadically decided to print gibberish when I would print some things off the internet. My Mapquest directions printed as an interesting combination of readable highway icons and crazy, unreadable symbols. I was frustrated. I was angry. I was ready to tell HP where to put their printer.

I called HP for help. And while I appreciate that lately it is difficult to understand the accents of some of the technology service people named Penny or Dan who are obviously speaking from India or Bangladesh, I did get through to someone to help me.

Now I don't know what program HP is using for their customer service training, but I can tell you it is working. OK, I know HP won't give me free ink, or even give me a little discount on their products, but I'm now a firm believer in using HP. Why? They seemed to really care that I got the help I needed when I asked for help. Their customer service is impeccable. Their supervisors get on the phone to make sure their employees helped.

While giving away gifts and products will always help make people loyal to a certain product or brand, good service will go that one even better. I'm convinced - and my printer works great!