Sunday, February 13, 2011

The New Consumer-Driven Customer Loyalty

In our new marketing reality, consumers shop for quality, added benefits, and look for perceived bargains that validate their buying decision. This same “new consumer” wants an experience, not just a service. It’s our job as a business operating under these consumer-driven guidelines to create that experience; one that is far better than our competitors.

For those who operate small to medium sized businesses, you may be far better off than you realize. You have the ability to influence a larger majority of your staff and affect how they treat your customer base. Just over a year ago we, at Moyer Indoor|Outdoor, redefined our service technicians. The Moyer Service Professional™: More than just a technician. A trusted advisor. Of course this impacted our marketing, but even more so it was imperative that we work on providing opportunities for our customers to see the benefits of working with a Moyer Service Professional™.

Just the other day, one of our Customer Service Representatives told me that many  of our customers had been calling, telling her how much they appreciated the ice melt we left for them - part of a program we started for all of our pre-pay lawn care customers. Every touch our customer receives from their Service Professional adds to the unique experience they perceive. During the off season, this quick service is a reminder: Our blue & green lawn care truck pulls up (somewhat shocking when you can’t even see your lawn buried under the 2-feet of snow) and their Service Professional, dressed in uniform, stops by to give them an easy-pour bottle of ice melt as an added bonus. They even receive a notice that we’ll deliver more if they need it throughout the season.

The customer experience doesn’t end there. The challenge in lawn care is that many times the homeowner isn’t present during the application. Using a voice broadcast system we’ve instated Call Ahead Care™. A day before their treatment, our customers receive a call notifying them that we’ll be coming. After our visit we place a flag in their lawn and information in a bag on their doorknob. We’ve now created an experience for the customer: tips to help them maintain their lawn until the next treatment along with the ability to move their treatment until after their neighborhood bar-b-q.

Pool & Spa Care has it’s own set of marketing challenges. Primarily because not all homeowners need this service and many of those who do, want to be do-it-yourselfers. Here’s how we addressed the problem. Our new Silver Reflections Program includes 1.5 hours with a Pool Service Professional. During this time the homeowner can ask questions; learning how to operate their pool throughout the season. This time with the customer creates a bond and displays our expertise without forgetting the customers end goal; avoiding stress, avoiding expense, and increasing time spent with their family. Next time they need a part replaced or service during their vacation, the trust will be there with a call to Moyer.

Portion of a post card
describing the benefits of
attending Pool School.
Free workshops have become a trend for business-to-business marketing. Workshops provide networking opportunities and encourage idea sharing. We took this structure and created Pool School. When you look beyond the catchy name, this workshop scheduled twice a year for any area pool owner helps us build relationships. Over time we’ve found such value in these interactions that in 2011 we’ve decided to restructure our Pool & Spa Care service with a new store location and dispatch center in the heart of our service area. On a daily basis, pool owners can receive the same quality care that they’ve found at our Pool School workshops, during our visits, and over the phone, right inside the store.

For businesses operating in this consumer-driven world, we have an opportunity to adapt. You can do so by starting conversations with your customers, building relationships and creating positive interactions. Each small experience adds to your customer’s loyalty and encourages referrals.

This article was written for IBS Direct, a direct mail house in King of Prussia, PA. It will be published in their spring 2011 newsletter.