Turn Customer Feedback & Complaints into Market Leadership, Dominance, Max Profitability

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Turn Customer Insights & Complaints into Market Leadership, Dominance, Max Profitability

Research has shown that customers are willing to donate their time (approx. 5-10 hours per week) to become a company and brand partner to help your company grow and become more successful

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Key Customer Questions to Grow Your Market Share, Profitability

If you don’t ask your customers for insights, they will share them with someone else in the form of negative feedback, complaining, etc. which will erode your perception in the marketplace

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Golden Questions to Win New Customer, Expand Your Business with New Products & Services

Customers are your best source for insights to help grow and improve your business – if you don’t ask, then you are ignoring valuable feedback that your competitors potentially could exploit to your detriment

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Customer Complaints Can Be Turned Into Gold with the Right Approach

Treat Customer Complaints not as annoyances but rather as gifts to the company and brand(s)

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Transform Customer Complaints into Company Expansion Plans and Customers into Brand Advocates

A carefully constructed customer-partner system will simultaneously cultivate great customer business expansion ideas as well as customer advocates and partners (Research has shown that, by enabling customers to provide continuous feedback and insights, customer longer-term loyalty has correspondingly increased)

Customer Emotions that Drive Buying Behavior

Find out why most companies miss the mark in terms of focusing on generating positive customer emotions

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Solutions to Problems AND Good Customer Emotions Need to Exist for Long-Term Loyalty

Good products and services are only part of the equation in terms of generating customer repeat business, loyalty, long-term retention

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Some Customers Will Work to Destroy Your Business While Others Are Willing Partners in Helping You Grow, Be More Successful

Some customers will actually work to kill your company and brand(s), namely dissenters and defectors, while others will work tirelessly to bolster your sales, reputation, customer acquisition efforts, etc.

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Guidelines for Generating Positive Customer Emotions and Relations

It is essential that all of your customer facing team members are representing the company and brand well, and that they adhere to your stated customer principles

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Sample Steps to Developing an Environment Where Customers Are Motivated to Buy from Your Company

Your customer facing team members need to develop a customer interaction playbook that is consistent with your brand and customer mantra

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Alignment of the customer delivery ‘value chain’ is Crucial

Every aspect of your customer delivery ‘value chain’ needs to be synchronized to deliver a highly consistent and high quality (emotional) experience as rated by your customers

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A Chief Customer Officer’s (CCO) role is to Advocate for the Customer within the CxO suite

** Refer to previous blog article on the 5 R’s of customer loyalty – https://goo.gl/L4IA3q

If you rate customer satisfaction and loyalty as a high company priority, then they must be represented by a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) that will truly advocate for customers and set the customer standards that drive positive customer emotions

Summary:  The following points summarize the content of this blog as follows:

  • In order to develop customer loyalty you must have both great products and services as well as the ability to generate positive customer emotions (customer delight, feeling connected to the company)

  • Segments of your customer base will work to destroy your attempt at market success while others are your partners in helping your company become even more successful.

  • In order to drive positive customer emotions and convert your customers into advocates and super-advocates, you must develop an internal customer relations playbook (develop customer vision, code of customer interaction conduct, etc.)

  • Every aspect of your customer delivery ‘value chain’ needs to be in-synch in order to deliver an end-to-end superb and fulfilling customer experience

  • Every company should have the equivalent of a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) in order to set the customer vision and standards and be the ultimate advocate for all of your customers.

Win a Customer for Life by Employing the 5 R’s of Customer Loyalty

 

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The 5 “R’s” of Customer Loyalty

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Ensure Your Company is 5 “R” Customer Compliant

Following the 5 R’s of Customer Loyalty Will Enable Your Company to Attract and Keep Customers for Life

 

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Ensure Your Company is Customer R-Reliable

 

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Top Steps to Ensuring Your Company is R-Reliable

The First “R” of Customer Loyalty Is Setting High Quality Customer Standards (External) and Goals (Internal) and then Delivering on that Customer Promise for Each and Every Customer Interaction as well as the overall & long-term customer relationship

 

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Example of How a Company Demonstrates Customer R-Reliability

 

 

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Example of How a Company Demonstrates Customer R-Reliability (continued)

 

 

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Ensure Your Company is Customer R-Responsive

 

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Top Steps for Your Company to Become Customer R-Responsive

 

The 2nd “R” of Customer Loyalty Is Ensuring That Customer’s Expectations Are Met: Needs, Concerns, Quality, Cycle Time Expectations, etc.

 

Example of How a Company Demonstrates Customer R-Responsiveness

Example of How a Company Demonstrates Customer R-Responsiveness

 

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Example of How a Company Demonstrates Customer R-Responsiveness (continued)

 

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Ensure Your Company is Customer R-Recognizable

 

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Top Steps for Your Company to Become Customer R-Recognizable

The 3rd “R” of Customer Loyalty Is Ensuring That Your Brand and Company has Distinctive and Positive Characteristics such that it drives positive emotions (driving repeat business, customer referrals, word-of-mouth adverting, etc. 

 

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Example of How a Company Becomes Customer R-Recognizable

 

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Example of How a Company Becomes Customer R-Recognizable (continued)

 

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Ensure Your Company is R-Relationship Oriented

 

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Top Steps for Your Company to Become Customer R-Relationship Oriented

The 4th “R” of Customer Loyalty Is Ensuring That Your Brand and Company develops a high quality and mutually beneficial relationship with your customers based on mutual respect, customer insights, an ongoing and open dialogue and a model that encourages a partnership between your brand & company and your customers 

 

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Example of How a Company Demonstrates That It Is Customer R-Relationship Oriented

 

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Example of How a Company Demonstrates That It Is Customer R-Relationship Oriented (continued)

 

 

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Ensure Your Company is Customer R-Rewarding

 

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Top Steps for Your Company to Become Customer R-Rewarding

The 5th “R” of Customer Loyalty Is Ensuring That Your Brand and Company rewards mutually beneficial customer behavior (greater share of wallet, spend, brand partnership activities, etc.) such that it drives further and longer-term customer loyalty.

 

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Example of How a Company Demonstrates Customer R-Rewarding

 

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Example of How a Company Demonstrates Customer R-Rewarding (continued)

 

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Is Your Company Ready to Take the 5 “R” Pledge?

SUMMARY: If you take the pledge above to adhere to the 5 R’s of customer loyalty, you will enhance your ability to attract and retain customers for life. Key to this is developing the capabilities to be best in class for each “R” and ensuring that you are (cost effectively) maintaining a major qualitative advantage in each customer R vs. your competitors.

The Formula for Creating a Positive Chain Reaction with Your Customers and Clients To Win & Keep Them for Life

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Introducing the Theory of Customer-Relativity

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Theory Of Customer Relativity

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Danger – Critical Mass With Your Customers Ahead !

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Relativity – Treat Customer Like Family

Treating customers, clients and guests like your close relatives will create lasting customer loyalty lasting many generations.

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Memorable Guest Experience Formula

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Critical Mass Formula for Customer Excellence

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Derived Benefits from the Customer-Relative Relativity Formula

Following the customer theory of relativity formula can net your company a distinctive customer competitive advantage

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Family Like Customers

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Critical Mass Formula for Customer Excellence

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Listen Intently – Family & Customers

Listen intently to your customers for improvement gifts in order to improve upon your product and service delivery

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Welcome – Family & Customers

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Fulfill Special Requests – Family & Customers

Discovering and fulfilling unmet customer needs is a golden opportunity for you to grow your business

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Made to Feel Welcome – Family & Customers

Leveraging gathered insights can help you surprise & delight your customers by anticipating and pre-delivering (without having to be requested) on customer needs and preferences

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Gather & Leverage Needs & Preferences to Surprise & Delight Your Guests

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Make Your Guests Feel at Home – Family & Customers

Delivering on a company environment that drives a feeling of belonging, contentment, ‘connectedness’ will endear your customers to your company and brand and make them loyal for life

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Ensure the end-to-end guest experience ‘chain’ is optimal, memorable, etc.

Mapping, analyzing and applying continuous improvement to the end-to-end guest experience on an ongoing basis will ensure each step of that experience chain is high quality and optimal

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Hire & Maintain World-Class (1-in-10,000) Customer Ambassadors who treat customers like family

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Summary

Top 3 Keys to Delivering an Exceptional Customer/Client Experience

  1. Hire passionate ‘customer ambassadors’ and empower them to drive your customer & client experience. These ambassadors are typically extremely difficult to find and are generally a 1-in-1,000 find, but if you know you have found one when many of your public reviews mention this person by name as delivering exceptional (family like) customer service.

  2. Adopt a customer/client first set of policies and practices that empower your entire team to make right any customer perceived imperfection, unmet need, etc. in the delivery of your products and/or services. This is similar of how you would go out of your way to ensure your relatives are comfortable when visiting as guests.

  3. To support #2 above, develop a listening & learning system to collect, retain and then deliver on expressed customer/client needs, wishes, preferences, etc. Ritz-Carlton does this extremely well with their guests and it shows in terms of attained customer satisfaction levels.

Summary:

By employing an E=MC² formula and treating your customers comparable to your relatives, you will create a positive chain reaction experience unlike any other and enable your company to leapfrog your competitors. This formula has worked for numerous companies employing those 1-in-a-thousand customer ambassadors who care about customer with all their heart as they do they own relatives.

The Top 3 Myths (vs. Reality) Associated with Customer Loyalty and Customer Loyalty Programs

Customer Loyalty Myths vs. Reality

                                 Customer Loyalty Myths vs. Reality

The Top 3 Myths Related to Customer Loyalty & Customer Loyalty Programs

The Harsh Reality About Customer Loyalty

                          The Harsh Reality About Customer Loyalty

Achieving High Degrees of Customer Loyalty is Even More Elusive Than Ever

The Harsh Reality About Customer Loyalty - Continued

                          The Harsh Reality About Customer Loyalty – Continued

 

Customer Loyalty is Declining Across the Board for Many Industries

Revealed: Root Causes for Customer Defection

                             Revealed: Root Causes for Customer Defection

 

Why Customers are Defecting to Other, Competitor Companies

Customers Feedback on the Major Factors that Drive Their Continued Loyalty

           Customers Feedback on the Major Factors that Drive Their Continued Loyalty

What Factors Drive Customer Loyalty The Most

 

Myth #1: Understanding Customer Satisfaction is Enough to Predict Loyalty

 

Customer Satisfaction is Only One Insight in Determining both Short-Term and Long-Term Customer Loyalty

Customer Satisfaction is Only One Insight in Determining both Short-Term and Long-Term Customer Loyalty

Holistic Insights You Must Have to Drive Effective Customer Loyalty Programs – Part 1

Customer Satisfaction is Only One Insight in Determining both Short-Term and Long-Term Customer Loyalty - continued

Customer Satisfaction is Only One Insight in Determining both Short-Term and Long-Term Customer Loyalty – continued

Holistic Insights You Must Have to Drive Effective Customer Loyalty Programs – Part 2

 

360° Loyalty Insights Enable High Degrees of Loyalty

                           360° Loyalty Insights Enable High Degrees of Loyalty

Effective Customer Loyalty Programs Are Highly Tailored Based on Multi-Dimensional Customer Loyalty Insights Shown Above

 

Customer Loyalty Management is Multi-Dimensional

Customer Loyalty Management is Multi-Dimensional

Effective Customer Loyalty Programs are Multi-Dimensional in Their Approach and Focus on Many Program Objectives

Customer Loyalty Management is Multi-Dimensional

 

Customer Loyalty is Established & Maintained by Nearly Every Department within the Company

Customer Loyalty is Established & Maintained by Nearly Every Department within the Company

Customer Loyalty is Everyone’s Responsibility within the Company

The end

 

Marketing Master Calendar Development Best Practices

How to Supercharge your Marketing Operational Effectiveness

Integrated Marketing Planning Calendar

Integrated Marketing Planning Calendar

Having developed numerous marketing master calendars for Fortune clients world-wide, here are top 10 lessons learned & best practices for developing a marketing planning master calendar:

1) All involved marketing & supporting departments must have input into the development of, and be fully represented on the master marketing calendar.

2) All the departments represented on the calendar in must understand their responsibilities, deliverables, due dates, inter-dependencies with other departments as well as the metrics that they are being held accountable for in each step in the process.

3) Process Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) shall be in place for each process handoff such that the overall calendar timeline retains tactical delivery integrity.

4) The calendar must be chronologically intuitive (flow left to right for each sequential major marketing event).

5) Process details must be developed for each major milestone represented on the marketing calendar.

6) A process step owner must be identified for each process step with clear articulation of their responsibilities.

7) Calendar post-event reviews must capture marketing event & campaign lessons learned, planned vs. actual metrics, customer feedback, etc.

8) An actively managed marketing best practices knowledge base must be maintained to capture & propagate captured calendar relevant & other best practices & lessons learned to all stakeholders.

9) Marketing executive sponsors & steering committee members must play a role in the development & execution of the master marketing calendar.

10) Periodic calendar process reviews must be conducted to ensure the calendar & critical processes on the calendar are as efficient & effective as possible.

The following are Master marketing calendar and planning best practices examples that I developed for several Fortune 500 clients as represented by this one (of several examples):

 Integrated Marketing Planning Calendar

Integrated Marketing Planning Calendar

A Best Practice Master Marketing Calendar Represents All Major Events, The Critical Timeline and Major Calendar Development Participants and Stakeholders

 

Assessment of Current Marketing Capabilities

             Assessment of Current Marketing Capabilities

A Very Honest Assessment of the Current State Marketing Capability along with Gaps and Development Needs is Critical for Future Process Improvements

Integrated Marketing Planning Solution

               Integrated Marketing Planning Solution

A Future-State Solution Vision Must Be Established in Order to Achieve Future State Capabilities

Marketing Business Outcomes Meeting Summary

        Marketing Business Outcomes Meeting Summary

For Each Meeting on The Marketing Master Calendar, Critical Outcomes must be determined for each Calendar Development Meeting Along with Identification of the Meeting Key Owner

Marketing Master Calendar Development Stakeholder Responsibilities

Every Stakeholder and Responsible Leader Must Be Represented on Marketing Master Calendar Development Meeting Master List

Marketing Planning Event Cadence Map

                  Marketing Planning Event Cadence Map

Clearly Defined Responsibilities and Outputs Must Be Defined for Each Marketing Calendar Channel

Marketing Roles & Accountability

                       Marketing Roles & Accountability

Clearly Defined Accountability Must Be Defined for Marketing Calendar Development

Marketing Roles & Accountability for Each Functional Area

Marketing Roles & Accountability for Each Functional Area

Clearly Defined Accountability Must Be Defined for Marketing Calendar Development

Clearly Defined Accountability Must Be Defined for Each Functional Area

Clearly Defined Accountability Must Be Defined for Each Functional Area

Clearly Defined Accountability Must Be Defined for Each Functional Area (left Blue Boxes) in the Marketing Calendar Development Process

Marketing Critical Success Factors

                Marketing Critical Success Factors

Critical Success Factors Must Be Identified in the Master Marketing Calendar Development Process

Marketing Meeting Summary & Next Steps

         Marketing Meeting Summary & Next Steps

Summary Actions & Next Steps Must Be Identified in the Master Marketing Calendar Development Process

How to Understand the “Market” in Marketing & How It Is Critical to Your Company’s Long-Term Success

Market Analysis Best Practices

                             Market Analysis Best Practice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Effective marketing must include leveraging an array of holistic market insights

 

Market Assessment Components

                                Market Assessment Components

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Effective marketing leverages multi-dimensional market insights: Challenges, competition, customers, growth & trends, size/capacity, etc.

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The following is an array of insights that I created for a client who represents one of the top luxury resort companies in the world. These insights were designed to accomplish the following:

  • Develop Financial and market Insights to Increase revenue while decreasing costs

  • Increase standing in the marketplace relative to the competition

  • Help understand the market dynamics of the target market

  • Assist in identifying root causes for customer purchases, repeat purchases and the opportunity they have to boost customer loyalty

  • Improve the effectiveness of current marketing efforts by more effectively leveraging market insights

  • Develop a 5-year transformation plan to enable new capabilities that allow them to fulfill their future vision state

     

Best Practice Market Trend Analysis

                          Best Practice Market Trend Analysis

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Effective market analysis must include insights into market trends: Growth, Capacity and Expansion

 

Market Capacity Analysis

                                Market Capacity Analysis

Best Practice Market Capacity/Growth Analysis & Insights

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Best Practice Market Supply & Demand Analysis

                Best Practice Market Supply & Demand Analysis

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World-Class Market Supply & Demand Analysis including Market Trend Analysis

 

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Market & Competitor Price Analysis - Comparison

          Market & Competitor Price Analysis – Comparison

Market Competitive Pricing Analysis

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Competitive Pricing Analysis

                             Competitive Pricing Analysis

Market & Brand Competitive Pricing Analysis

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Brand Pricing Consistency Analysis

                             Brand Pricing Consistency Analysis

Company Net Daily Revenue Analysis

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Target Market Sizing Analysis

                                    Target Market Sizing Analysis

Market Profiling, Sizing & Penetration Analysis Example

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Market & Marketing Loyalty Analysis

                           Market & Marketing Loyalty Analysis

Market & Brand Loyalty Analysis: Likelihood to Purchase Again, Loyalty Opportunity

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Best Practice Marketing Effectiveness Analysis

              Best Practice Marketing Effectiveness Analysis

Marketing Mix Analysis & Marketing Campaign Effectiveness Analysis

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Return On Invested Capital (ROIC) Analysis

                   Return On Invested Capital (ROIC) Analysis

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Return on Invested Capital Analysis (ROIC): Spread Growth, Competition’s Return on Invested Capital, etc.

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) Competitive Analysis

              Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) Competitive Analysis

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Company & Competitive Margin, Cost of Goods Sold and Selling General & Administrative (SG&A) Analysis

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) Trend Analysis

                  Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) Trend Analysis

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Selling General & Administrative (SG&A) Projection & Trend Analysis

 

Revenue Target Analysis

                                Revenue Target Analysis

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Historical Revenue Analysis: Budget vs. Actual

Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT) Analysis

              Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT) Analysis

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Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT) Target & Margin Analysis

EBIT Scenario Projection Analysis

                        EBIT Scenario Projection Analysis

Market Strategy & EBIT Analysis

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Best Practice Transformation Plans

                       Best Practice Transformation Plans

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Best Practice Transformation Plans: Balances Capability Development with Corporate Vision & Reality

 

World-Class Transformation Plan Inputs

                   World-Class Transformation Plan Inputs

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A Best Practice Transformation Plan Includes a Multitude of Holistic Inputs

 

Achieving Market Leadership by Effectively Managing Customer Loyalty and Advocacy

 

  • Do you know which of your customers is destroying your company and brand value via negative word-of-mouth comments?
  • Do you know which of your customers is on the verge on defecting from your company and brands to one of your competitors?
  • Do you know which of your customers is promoting your company and brands and generating positive company and brand value on your behalf?
  • Do you know which of your customers is as passionate about your company and brand as your CxOs and should be rewarded as such?

 

To find out the answer to these questions, read the rest of this informative blog article below.

Customer Loyalty & Advocacy

     Customer Loyalty & Advocacy

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Your customer base is almost always represented by the above spectrum of customers. What varies from business to business is the percentage in each segment group. The more well managed your business, the more skewed to the right your customers tend to be. Therefore a business must develop strategies to migrate customers continually from the left to the right from segment group to segment group in increasing numbers. The rest of this blog is dedicated to sharing best practices on how to migrate more of your customers to the right of the spectrum.

Customer Loyalty and Advocacy Framework

    Customer Loyalty and Advocacy Framework

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For any company to achieve world-class status, one must carefully map out a customer loyalty and advocacy framework including the following component steps from the chart above:

  1. Clearly articulated customer segment definitions based on customer satisfaction levels, in addition to customer buy/sell segment definitions (top independent seller, high volume digital seller, etc.)                                                     
  2. A clear customer segment strategy and detailed tactics on the customer treatment that should be employed for each customer satisfaction segment               
  3. Customer cross-segment best practices and processes to drive segment migrations from the far most left segment to the far most right segment (i.e. from dissenters to super advocates)
Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Framework Segments

   Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Framework Segments

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The above customer loyalty & advocacy framework includes the following segments:

  • Customer Brand Dissenters or Malcontents – Very negative and detrimental to the company’s brand(s)
  • Customer Company Defectors – Very likely to defect to a competitor
  • Customer Neutral or Indifferent – Neither brand supporters or detractors of the company’s brand(s)
  • Customer Brand Supporters – Slightly positive about the company’s brand(s)
  • Customer Brand Advocates – Very positive and generating positive value to the company brand image
  • Customer Brand Super Advocates or Delighted Customers – Active promoters of the company’s brands, adding continuous & tremendous value to the company brand image

A formal social and company/brand listening and tracking program is a best practice on how to identify which of your customers exist in each of the above segments (see my previous blog entry on the topic of Social listening programs).

Customer Dissenters & Defectors

Customer Dissenters & Defectors

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From this graphic above, we can see clearly that the strategy should be as follows:

  • Dissenters: Diffuse and redirect customer angst and anger and come to some sort of closure agreement on for the source of their angst/anger.
  • Defectors: Get the defectors to see the entire spectrum of value the company has to offer and get them back to the level of positive company engagement vs. disenfranchisement. Provide insights to how a more positive company relationship would reward them – loyalty programs and other rewards.

Unless the individuals in these segments are high value or high profitability customers, then you would want to minimize the financial rewards to these customer satisfaction segments.

In addition and based on my research and experience, you are wasting your marketing and sales $$ spend to these two segments as they are much more unlikely to respond to any marketing offers due to being so currently dissatisfied with the company and brands (think about it – why would they trust you and buy more of the same when their initial experiences were so terrible?). 

Customer Neutrals & Supporters

  Customer Neutrals & Supporters

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From this graphic above, we can see clearly that the strategy should be as follows:

  • Neutrals: Develop strategies to more of these customers to a net positive relationship by communicating more frequently and effectively with this segment group. The path toward becoming a company/brand supporter should be clearly and frequently communicated to these customers so that they are encouraged to become ever more value to the company and its brands. This group is likely to be lukewarm to your sales and marketing efforts so expenditures here should be highly selective. 
  • Supporters: Develop these supporters into more loyal and more committed customers by developing brand ‘stickiness’ through company loyalty rewards, referral programs, by making it easy (discounts) to buy additional company brands or products, etc. The path toward becoming a company/brand advocate should be clearly and frequently communicated so that these customers become ever more value to the company and its brands. You should have formal programs in place that amplifies their support of your company and brands via social media, forums, etc. 

 

Customers in these segments should be offered tiered financial rewards to incentivize them to want to contribute at even higher levels to brand value and to remain even more loyal to the company and its brands.

Customer Advocates & Super Advocates

 Customer Advocates & Super Advocates

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From this graphic above, we can see clearly that the strategy should be as follows:

 

  • Advocates: This group should be provided with an array of rewards and accolades for helping effectively spread the word about the company or value of the company’s brands, especially if the individual customer is of high value, profitability or influence. The path toward becoming a company/brand super-advocate should be clearly and frequently communicated to these customers so that they are encouraged to become ever more value to the company and its brands. You should have formal programs in place that amplifies their advocacy of your company and brands via social media, forums, etc. 
  • Super Advocates: This group should be provided with top tier rewards and accolades for helping effectively spread the word about the company or value of the company’s brands, especially if the individual customer is of high value, profitability or influence. You should have formal programs in place that, not only amplifies their super-advocacy of your company and brands via social media, forums, etc., but also provides significant rewards for helping increase your brand value (i.e. via a “brand ambassador” rewards program). 
Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Cross-Segment Best Practices

Customer Loyalty & Advocacy Cross-Segment Best Practices

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The graphic above highlights just a few of the cross-segment customer loyalty & advocacy best practices I recommend that companies continually practice to migrate customers from the negative segments that hurt the company’s brand value (dissenters, defectors) to positive segments (advocates and super advocates) that adds incredible value to a company’s brand.

 

Here are the brands for which I am a Dissenter, Defector, Neutralist, Advocate and Super-Advocate for based on my own personal experience and opinions:

 

  • Companies and Brands for which I am an official dissenter:
Companies For Which I am Dissenter

Companies For Which I am a Dissenter

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Sears

Sears

Sears – I received abject customer service back in the late 1980’s and don’t want anything to do with the retailer ever again. I have tried to give them a second chance and continue to have an unsatisfactory experience.  I pledge to never set foot in a Sears store again.

Target

Target

Target – I interviewed for a senior management position at Target a several years ago was treated so poorly that even the HR manager at the time said the treatment of me was ‘questionable’. She then shared with me that she asked upper management “are we really trying to hire the best candidate here?” before she left the company.  I vowed to never shop in Target again and have held true to my word. 

Empire Carpet Today

Empire Carpet Today

Empire Carpet – We had several issues with our carpet installation and follow up customer service.  They are very disorganized, non-customer friendly and do not seem to keep with the volume of sales that they generate.  I will never use this company ever again. We steer people away from this company if asked.

2) Companies and Brands I am likely to Defect from or have defected from and tell everybody about why I am about to leave (or have left) these company & brands:

Companies for which I am a (potential) Defector

Companies for which I am a (potential) Defector

Bank of America

Bank of America

Bank of America – Closed many of the local branches where I live and the abundance of local branches was the reason I opened an account with BOA in the first place. The remaining branches are now crowded and not staffed adequately. This tells me they care more about the bottom line than customer satisfaction.

Marriott

Marriott

Marriott – In my opinion Marriott has lost its way. I used to be a Platinum member at Marriott for many years. Their properties since that time have become worn as compared to their competitors and they seem to not listen well to their customers. An example of this myopia is when they converted the Courtyards to the Bistro concept. Every customer I speak to was disappointed by this change but they went ahead and did it anyway (presumably to save $$ on operations costs).

Frigidaire/Electrolux

Frigidaire/Electrolux

Frigidaire/Electrolux – Our dehumidifier stopped working after only 1 year.  We have been trying to get a credit from them for six months with no end in sight.  The return process is the most customer unfriendly I have ever encountered with no possibility of human interaction. We have been without a dehumidifier for an entire year due to their poor customer service process.

3) Companies and Brands I am Neutral about and don’t really have much to say about them:

Companies For Which I Have Neutral Sentiment
Companies For Which I Have Have Neutral Sentiment

Samsung, Sony, Direct TV, Time Warner Cable, Panasonic, Cuisinart, Hunter Fans, Home Depot, Lowes, Macy’s, Sunoco, US Air, Delta, Tractor Supply, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, Burger King, Chili’s, Pizzeria Uno, American Airlines, Holiday Inn and many more. This category contains the most number of brands due to the distribution across segment group being shaped like a bell curve

4) Companies and Brands I am an Advocate of and share positive stories with anybody who is willing to listen:

 

Companies For Which I am An Advocate
 Companies For Which I am An Advocate
American Express

American Express

American Express – I have worked with American Express as a consultant on several different strategic projects.  They are an extremely well run organization with some very smart people running the company. I have also been a Platinum card member for many years.  They provide excellent customer service and their fee structure is the only thing keeping me from being a super-advocate. I tell everyone I meet I consider American Express a world-class company.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

 

Southwest Airlines – Southwest is just a great airline and makes the flying experience pleasurable. They are almost always on-time, the employees are friendly (some even humorous) and they try to be reasonable to their customers at every turn. I used to hate Southwest and am now a Southwest lover/advocate.

Hilton Hotels

Hilton Hotels

Hilton Hotels – Did you guess what hotel I become more loyal to after minimizing my Marriott loyalty? Guess no further. Hilton has been on a roll creating new and invigorating hotels and I am now an advocate/loyalist and stay at Hilton Hotels whenever possible.

Dooney & Bourke

Dooney & Bourke

Dooney & Burke – Dooney & Bourke creates high quality, classic and trendy handbags and accessories that last over long periods of time even with heavy usage.  Styles and collections are priced to reflect the consistent durability and attractiveness of this brand. If something goes wrong with their products, they stand behind them through high quality customer service.

5) Companies and Brands I am a Super – Advocate of and go out of my way to tell everyone how wonderful my experience has been with dealing with these companies:

 

Companies For Which I am a Super Advocate

Companies For Which I am a Super-Advocate

 

Cox Automotive

  Cox Automotive

Cox Automotive – Cox Automotive has a great company culture consisting of many top automotive brands that includes Kelly Blue Book, Autotrader, Manheim, NextGear, DealSheild to name a few. The company is one of the best places I have ever worked and includes an employee first culture that they actually adhere to and practice. The company is run by a world-class CEO named Sandy Schwartz that has a great vision for the company’s future and is very visible in his support for the employee oriented culture.

Toyota

Toyota

Toyota  – My family has owned Toyota vehicles for many years.  Toyotas are extremely reliable automobiles. I have a Tundra with 132,000 miles on it and have had zero major issues with it. I have such an affinity with my Tundra I have a hard time thinking about trading it in for another vehicle even though it would most definitely be another Toyota.

Ritz Carlton

Ritz Carlton

Ritz-Carlton – I love staying at Ritz-Carlton since the experience each and every time is truly memorable. I also worked as a consultant for Ritz-Carlton to help design the perfect customer experience for guests.  Ritz Carlton’s goal is to create an experience to remember and smile about and they live up to this promise every time.

 

The amazing (or sad) part about my sentiment rankings of the above companies is that, despite spending millions ($$$) on analytic systems and databases, I am willing to bet that very few, if any, actually were knowledgeable about my sentiment toward their brands prior to my writing this article.

This relates directly to a previous blog entry I developed on why CRM (Customer Relationship Management based on historical analytic insights) is dead and a new CRRM model is now a best practice. In this article I point out how world-class companies now query their customers how they feel about the company and brands on a periodic basis. Like me, many customers would be more than willing to share their sentiment and how they are feeling towards the company and their associated brands. Bottom Line: Analytic models provide minimal understand of true customer sentiment when it is primarily focused on historical purchases, spend, etc.

The Loyalty Program Toolkit: Lessons Learned & Best Practices Enabling Break-Away Competitive Advantage

The content of this blog is a customer loyalty toolkit containing a host of loyalty program development ‘how to knowledge’ including best practices, project plan, business case, pros/cons, customer loyalty definition, customer loyalty benefits, loyalty program communications plan, loyalty program change drivers and loyalty program development lessons learned.

Sample Blog Content

                                                               Sample Blog Content

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The market is currently saturated with customer loyalty programs that are either marginally effective or that actually represent an inconvenience to the very customers they are trying to retain. If you are even thinking of launching a loyalty program, consider the Ten Commandments of Loyalty Programs listed below.

Ten Commandments of Loyalty Programs:

  1. The rewards of the loyalty program must be so compelling that customers are actually driven to defect from your competitors and organically refer other customers to your program
  2. The rewards from the loyalty program must be so super-simple to redeem, the customer can do it without any unnatural and inconvenient steps: finding their card, remembering their rewards number, etc.
  3. The rewards from the loyalty program maximize customer choice for redemption: Cash back, points with cash payments, merchandise, travel, buy points, donate points, transfer points, etc.
  4. Company employees are empowered to distribute points to customers based on need such as distributing points to make up for a customer service issue or for a customer’s good will toward the company
  5. Top Tier Customer loyalty achievers for each year are recognized in special ways: Meet with company CxOs to get their feedback; special in-person awards ceremonies, extra unannounced super-perks the following year, etc.
  6. The pre-launch company rewards program is designed such that rewards programs rating agencies (Freddie Awards, Flyertalk), pre-determine the program to be top in class prior to launch based on the design concepts, rewards program content, etc. Ongoing reviews ensure top program billing following the program launch
  7. Rewards program acquisition strategy must include conversion of a customer’s competitor points to join your company’s rewards program at the same level as your competitor(s). (a.k.a. a lateral join)
  8. Any loyalty program should not even be considered without first leveraging Advanced Predictive Modeling Techniques (APMTs) to determine an overall program cost estimate. These APMTs tend to be much more responsive and accurate, quickly reflecting the impacts of all available information on the program liability. Without this APMT component, the program must be cost prohibitive and drive your product/services costs up to unsustainable levels.
  9. The loyalty program must enable communications with its members via the member’s communication channel of choice without burdening members will annoying and redundant member information requests. 
  10. The loyalty program should encourage family company loyalty to the extent of top market leaders (USAA insurance for military service members) such that rewards can be transferred to family members, left to family members after death, allow entry at preferred reward program loyalty levels for select family members of top earners, etc.
Loyalty Program Strategic Drivers & Levers

Loyalty Program Strategic Drivers & Levers

Any world-class loyalty programs that I have helped establish and/or evolve at Macy’s, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Starwood, Marriott, and American Airlines ALL contain (at least, as a common denominator) the above seven (7) strategic levers as part of their loyalty program. 

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Loyalty Program Levers

Reasons People Leave Companies

Reasons People Leave Companies

 The Relationship Between Customers Treatment & Retention

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 Benefits of Customer Loyalty

Benefits Of Customer Loyalty

Benefits Of Customer Loyalty

Company Benefits of Customer Loyalty

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Loyalty Definition

What Is Customer Loyalty

What Is Customer Loyalty

A Good Definition for Customer Loyalty

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 Change Drivers for Loyalty Programs

Change Drivers For Customer Loyalty Programs

Change Drivers For Customer Loyalty Programs

Drivers (Reasons) for Creating a Customer Loyalty Program

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Objectives & Desired Behavior Of A Loyalty Program

Objectives & Desired Behavior Of A Loyalty Program

Loyalty Program Corporate Objectives

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Loyalty Program Approach

                                Loyalty Program Approach

Customer Loyalty Program Approach

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Positioning The Loyalty Program

Positioning The Loyalty Program

Customer Loyalty Program Requirements Development

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Loyalty Program Type & Content Examples

Loyalty Program Type & Content Examples

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Loyalty Program - Balancing Benefits With Company Costs

Loyalty Program – Balancing Benefits With Company Costs

Loyalty Program Customer Benefits & Company Costs

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Loyalty Program Business Case

                            Loyalty Program Business Case

Loyalty Program Business Case and Reward Financial Model

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Loyalty Program Communications Plan

Loyalty Program Communications Plan

Customer Loyalty Program Communication Plan Structure

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Loyalty Program Point Collection Simulator

Loyalty Program Point Collection Simulator

Customer Loyalty Program Reward Point Redemption Simulator

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Loyalty Program Point Redemption Calculator

Loyalty Program Point Redemption Calculator

Loyalty Program Reward Category Point Redemption Volume Estimates

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Loyalty Program Business Case & Project Plan

Loyalty Program Business Case & Project Plan

Loyalty Program Business Case & Project Plan

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Loyalty Program Pros and Cons

Loyalty Program Pros and Cons

Customer Loyalty Program Pros & Cons

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Loyalty Program Lessons Learned - 1 of 3

Loyalty Program Lessons Learned – 1 of 3

Customer Loyalty Program Lessons Learned & Best Practices (1 of 3)

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Loyalty Program Lessons Learned - 2 of 3

Loyalty Program Lessons Learned – 2 of 3

Customer Loyalty Program Lessons Learned & Best Practices (2 of 3)

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Loyalty Program Lessons Learned - 3 of 3

Loyalty Program Lessons Learned – 3 of 3

Customer Loyalty Program Lessons Learned & Best Practices (3 of 3)

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Bottom Line: If you are ever considering implementing a customer loyalty program, please take the above lessons learned and best practices into account as these were all developed after having successfully implemented several of these loyalty programs at Fortune 500 companies across the globe.

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