Posts Tagged: loyalty and membership programme

10 Great UK Hotel Breaks this Autumn

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The start of Autumn can be a pretty depressing time of year. The evenings begin to draw in, there is a definite chill in the air, and that two week break in the sun is soon just a distant memory as you settle back into the daily grind of work.

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Looking for loyalty? Just ask.

Companies have always looked to instil loyalty in their customers. It’s an invaluable way of increasing customer retention, generating incremental revenue and growing a business.

Loyalty can be encouraged through a variety of methods, including e-marketing, offering consumer rewards and demonstrating excellent customer service. But perhaps the most effective way of forging a lasting relationship with your customers is by asking for, and acting on, their feedback.

With this in mind, The Rocket Marketing Group present their 5 Top Tips for generating and utilising customer feedback.

1. Why do you want it?

Your first task should be to determine why you’re conducting the research, and whether you have the resources to make changes on the back of it. You may want to start with general questions to find out what customers think your strengths and weaknesses are, or you may already have an idea of what needs to be improved, and wish to tailor your questions accordingly. Is your poor customer service putting customers off shopping with you again? Is the ordering process easy for customers to understand? Are your prices prohibitively expensive? Once you have an idea of what may be alienating your customers, you can adapt your questions to find the specific things that annoy them, and get their suggestions for improvements.

2. How do you get it?

You also need to decide what form your customer feedback will take. There are several options to choose from including online surveys, emails, suggestion boxes, a ‘comments’ section on your website and utilising your call centre operatives, who have direct contact with customers every day. They all have their advantages, but it’s essential to match the method of generating feedback with your customer base. For example, online surveys or emailed questionnaires have the benefit of anonymity, which may allow customers to be more honest in their assessments. However, they are unlikely to elicit a useful response unless your customers are web-literate.

Generally, speaking to customers over the phone is a really good way of generating feedback, as it feels more personal, helps to develop a two way relationship between business and consumer, and allows you to investigate dissatisfaction by asking additional questions. Also, do not be afraid of receiving negative feedback from your customers. After all, if they only tell you what you’re doing well, you’ll never discover the improvements that can help your business reach its full potential.

3. The Reward (for your customers)

Many companies shy away from carrying out feedback surveys for fear of annoying their customers. But demonstrating a genuine interest in their thoughts and feelings lets them know that they are valued, and that you’re committed to providing the highest levels of service possible to them. Providing you’re polite, unobtrusive and respect the wishes of people who don’t want to participate, you should get some great results.

You can also offer consumer rewards and incentives either from your own company, or from a specialist provider of loyalty and reward programmes to sweeten the deal, and remind them that you took the time to ask for their opinions. Remember to thank your customers for taking the time out to answer your questions, and if their comments end up changing something about your business, tell them!

4. What do you do with it?

There is little use in spending the time and resources generating customer feedback if you’re not going to do anything with it. This is where the initial objective of carrying out the research and tailoring your questions to determine specifics about your business becomes so important. There’s no point conducting research into, say, the price of your product, if you don’t have the necessary margins to alter it when your customers tell you it’s too high.

If you’ve used a numerical system of questioning (asking customers to rate aspects of your business from 1-5 or unsatisfactory to excellent etc), you can analyse the data in a spreadsheet and look for trends, especially if you have also gathered information about the customers you’ve questioned, like their age, gender and the product they’ve purchased. If you’ve used a more anecdotal style of questioning, you’ll need to spend some time reading through the responses to understand what issues were uncovered. This may take longer, but it should give you a more detailed understanding of what your customers think of your business, and also has the advantage of providing ready made testimonials from those who’ve had a good experience.

5. The Reward (for you)

In time, you should start to see customer feedback as an intrinsic part of a cycle of excellent customer service that doesn’t simply stop once someone makes a purchase. Instead, by acting on the recommendations of your customers, you’re showing that you value their ongoing custom, and are willing to make alterations to your business to make them happy. Customers may also feel that they have an investment in your company if you make it clear you’re taking their ideas on board, and this connection between consumer and company is a key ingredient in building brand loyalty. When done correctly, it will help you increase customer retention and incremental revenue, as well as ensuring that your customers stick with you during the good times, and the bad.

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The dos and don’ts of email marketing

Email marketing has become
one of the primary methods of communication for companies looking to
generate incremental revenue from new and existing customers.

The strengths of email as a
marketing tool lie in its ubiquity, speed and economy, and when used
correctly it can be an invaluable tool to generate revenue, drive
customer retention and encourage repeat business.

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New marketing avenues generate big increase in online revenue

With
VAT set to rise to 20% in 2011, the retail sector will welcome the news
that online sales jumped by 22% in May, compared to 2009 levels.

The
online market has become a key sector for businesses, in part due to
the financial limitations imposed by the recession. Companies have found
marketing and selling their products online to be a very cost effective
way of generating revenue and attracting customers, with the latest
figures
showing that shoppers spent £4.5bn online during May alone.

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The own goals of World Cup marketing

Brands have been queuing up to
align themselves to the World Cup, as spending on marketing campaigns
looks set to top over £1bn by the end of the tournament.

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The VAT rate will revert back to 17.5 percent on 1st Jan 2010, will this change the way consumers shop or is sales promotion a bigger factor?

As we approach Christmas and the new year comes ever closer, retailers’ attentions whilst fixed on the issues of Christmas revenue, are also looking at the changes that are due in the new year. The lower VAT rate of 15% will rise again to 17.5% little over a year after it was lowered. Will this encourage consumers to spend more money before the prices go up again, or will they even notice a difference? Sales figures have been up on the same period last year but surely has more to do with the rise in consumer confidence. The Nationwide’s Consumer Confidence Index shows that there was no improvement last month in consumer confidence but the previous months’ increases have meant that year on year the increase has been significant. There does seem to be hope on the horizon as other major economies have recently exited the recession and companies such as Sainsbury’s and many more are reporting higher profits once again.

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What are the rewards of consumer sales promotions for businesses?

It is clear what the benefits of sales promotions are for consumers – and they know it. Demand for rewards and consumer incentives have grown immeasurably in the last year and it’s now what consumers expect wherever they shop. On the surface it would appear that this is a one-sided relationship in which consumers are holding businesses over a barrel. Sales promotion shouldn’t and mostly isn’t something that businesses are forced to resort to. Managed properly and thought out thoroughly, sales promotion can be mutually beneficial – particularly in the current economic climate. So what are the benefits of consumer sales promotions for businesses?

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How will consumer incentives for discount hunters change the way people do their Christmas & New Year shopping?

Whether we like it or not Christmas is on the horizon. You can’t ignore the first signs of the festive seasons creeping into our shops – surely we have Halloween and Bonfire Night to exploit before we even want a glimpse of the likes of chocolate advent calendars and twinkling lights in every colour? No such luck for retailers who are in desperate need of a sales boost and are still pulling out all the stops with consumer incentives, improved offers in loyalty and membership programmes and many other recession solutions.

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Internet ad spend overtakes TV – what other competitors are there to this traditionally expensive media?

In the first half of 2009 the entire ad spend in the UK shrunk by 16.6%
but online advertising accounted for 23.5% off this – a growth of 4.6%,
according to a study by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)
– the trade body for digital marketing – in partnership with
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the World Advertising Research Centre
(WARC). These statistics not only point towards the change in spending
but they are very telling of the reasons why. Maybe this isn’t just a recession solution,
might it be signalling a permanent change in the way marketers approach
their marketing strategies? So if traditional medias such as TV are
shrinking what are the other options in an ad saturated world?

Read more on Internet ad spend overtakes TV – what other competitors are there to this traditionally expensive media?…

Make promotional marketing work for your brand

Promotional marketing is a great way to reach your customers and engage
with their purchasing experience by giving them more of what they want
– encouraging customer retention and/or increase customer spending.
There are a number of agencies that specialise in developing
promotional marketing strategies and those that offer high quality
sales promotion/ affinity marketing solutions. We’ve identified some of
the key elements that make a successful campaign and promote customer
retention so that you can see how sales promotion or affinity marketing
can work for your business.

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