Customer Loyalty Surprise

Many companies use a customer loyalty scheme whether it be miles, points, or other free stuff. All are based on dollars spent and frequency of usage.

None of that is big news.

I am a member of plenty of these programs. And many of us will admit, some of those companies we really do not like yet the attraction of the benefits keep us using the product or service. But I have to tell you about one that has my attention.

Last summer Panera Bread Company introduced MyPanera.com.  Enrollment requires a visit to the website to enter the needed information.  The card is presented to you at the store. Here is what I like about their approach - you can go to an in-store terminal and register immediately.  Once registered you are surprised with a free item (mine was a bagel). No accumulation of spending, just an immediate reward. In a very short time, I had a number of surprises offered - $2 off of an entrée, free drinks, 99 cents for a higher priced pastry. I never know what "surprise" will be offered. I like that for a change. Panera is not in a business where I am working to accumulate points for a trip so no tracking is really necessary.

MyPanera.com also has an expiration on the offers. So I am motivated to get back in to redeem and of course spend even more money while there.  The offers print on the receipt along with the expiration date and can be found when logging into the account online.

Just this morning, I opened my email to find a "special surprise" in honor of my birthday this month. Their goal is to surprise in unexpected ways - it is working for this now loyal customer.

Start thinking about what you can do to surprise your customer. Simple stuff works especially when the customer does not expect it.

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Lisa Ford has over 20 years of experience presenting to businesses, associations and government. She designs content personalized for each audience and the challenges they face. Her presentations focus on customer service, leadership, teamwork and change. Her most recent book is Exceptional Customer Service: Exceed Customer Expectations to Build Loyalty and Boost Profits.

Published: November 18th, 2011

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