Making Members Matter: Build Loyalty One Member at a Time
Why does a customer choose your business over another? Member experience initiatives are the intangible benefits of conducting business with one company over the other. According to SuperOffice, a CRM software company, “If you want your customers to stay loyal, you have to invest in the experience,” they say. “As a result, Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations.”
Exceptional customer service builds trust, relationships, and credibility.
Here at Advantage|ForbesBooks, we have an incredibly diverse product sweep from a six-month publishing process to a one-year, renewable marketing program. With an array of services, it’s important to maintain, foster, and cultivate our customer relationships to bring about the best results from working together as possible.
Establishing a solid member experience program is key at Advantage|ForbesBooks to ensure that each and every Member is taken care of throughout their journey, whether it be publishing their book or crafting stellar marketing services for their brand. We want each Member to feel valued and a part of our family, so that’s why we’re taking matters into our own hands.
Why Do Advantage Members Matter?
At Advantage|ForbesBooks, we want for our Members to have the best customer experience possible. That’s where Ben Coppel comes in. As the Member Experience Manager, Coppel choreographs world-class customer service initiatives for our Members to create lasting memories and build enduring relationships.
Coppel joined the Advantage Team in April 2016 from Mercedes-Benz, where he acted as the Product Concierge at the flagship store in New York City. There, he would walk customers through a one-on-one overview and personal tutorial of the car they purchased, core features, technology, integration, and personalization. Prior to that, he worked in consumer-focused marketing events for other automotive manufacturers, such as Toyota, Kia, Cadillac, Hyundai, FIAT, Lincoln, and many more.
Coppel knows cars, but he knows people better. He takes his piles of knowledge in creating a luxury experience for new car owners to the world of Authority Marketing and publishing as he acts as their tour guide throughout the entire process.
“Our Members are taking a long journey with us, so to the degree that we can enhance and maximize touch points,” says Coppel. “These individualized interactions, such as giving a personal gift and celebrating milestones, are really important. They keep the Member engaged, and make it a fun experience.”
By having an excellent member experience relationship, we organically create internal marketing and promoting on our behalf because we bring top tier service. When it comes to retaining our Members, this philosophy is just as important as gaining new ones.
“This is a really unique, powerful, and special culture so we’re incredibly protective of it, not only when we hire new Team Members into our family, but when we accept new Members into our family as well,” explains Coppel.
Give ‘Em What They Want
How do you even begin to create a member experience initiative? Ask the people what they want! From Coppel’s initial talks with Advantage|ForbesBooks Members from his first few months of research here, they ask for three main things. The first is setting expectations and clarifying what our core products and services are, including who we focus on and who we serve, and setting those expectations up front to make sure there’s clarity on both sides. We’re making sure we’re the right fit for a Member just as much as they’re the right fit for our family.
“Setting expectations also comes down to the navigating process, so being that proactive voice, or the guiding light, to have the confidence and authority to make thoughtful and poignant recommendations with each individual program and their program is all part of it,” states Coppel.
Members are also asking for clear communication, so we’re regularly communicating with each Member throughout their book project and their AMS program, and whatever style works best for them.
“Some people work better over email or sometimes it’s over the phone,” Coppel says. “All of those intricacies in communications and the vehicle for it should be vetted out so we’re meeting and exceeding members’ needs and interacting with them in a way that’s comfortable at all times.”
Finally, consistency is extremely important. Great member experience programs—no matter what business you’re in—always start with being on time and keeping your promises. It sounds so fundamentally simple, just doing what you say you’re going to do, but in a heavily involved process when multiple people are delivering work into a finished product is not as easy as you think. Just ask Michael Sciortino financial advisor and author of Gratitude Marketing: How You Can Create Clients for Life by Using 33 Simple Secrets from Successful Financial Advisors.
In the book and in his day-to-day business, Sciortino emphasizes the use of his coined term Gratitude Marketing™: a dynamic, client-centered strategy designed primarily to narrow your focus and maximize the relationships you have already cultivated. Gratitude marketing is a consistent program that appreciates clients openly and often and produces dramatic results for you. It boils down to something really simple: when clients feel appreciated and valued, it becomes easier to gain their trust, which is the foundation for long-term relationships.
“Gratitude Marketing is a change of mindset,” explains Michael. “It is a strategy in which your clients go from being sold something to being prescribed something. It allows you to go from just making money for your clients to making a meaningful difference in their lives.”
Keeping the Promise
Promises are meant to be kept and fulfilled, and there are dozens of exceptional examples. From Apple’s “Think Different” slogan, to Geico’s “15 minutes or less can save you 15 percent or more on car insurance,” some of the best companies have kept the promise, which also happens to be their slogan.
“A brand promise is nothing if it’s not followed through with action,” states Kevin Leifer of StellaService, a company growth service. “The one thing strong retailers do well is deliver on their brand promises consistently. You can make a commitment to your customers, and if you don’t deliver, you’ll lose them.”
Advantage|ForbesBooks also implemented mandatory weekly updates, sent out to all of our marketing and publishing Members so communication is consistent and everyone knows where things stand, what they’ve done, what’s ahead of them, and what the next step deliverable looks like for both parties. All of these steps support the consistency we’re striving for.
As we strive to keep our promise, the final step to that puzzle is to, well, keep our promise! We’re making sure deliverables are coming through in an organized fashion and on time based on a strategic approach to time management.
To combat time management, we utilize Scrum to get our projects done. Used since the 1990s, Scrum is a process framework that helps manage complex projects where you can employ your own process and techniques, and shows you your efficiency of product management and development practices so you can improve.
Advantage|ForbesBooks isn’t the only company to successfully use Scrum, either. Microsoft, Google, Adobe, and Netflix are among the top companies in the world to incorporate Scrum into their day to day operations.
Net Promoter Score
Aside from Scrum, Advantage|ForbesBooks has peppered in other globally recognized techniques to track their effectiveness. Net Promoter Scores are used at any large company with a service-oriented component and are a universal benchmark for measuring customer rapport. Southwest Airlines, Macy’s, American Express, Lego, DirecTV, and many more corporations all implement the NPS system.
Advantage has recently implemented this scoring system, which allows for a monthly recurring survey for active Members where they can leave feedback in a quick, informal, and easy way. Advantage|ForbesBooks asks one question: “Based on your most recent experience with us, how likely are you to recommend Advantage to a friend?” This question is sent to all Members that have an active or ongoing project with us on a monthly basis. Then, there’s a section underneath where they can elaborate on their answer.
Net Promoter Score groups people as a Promoter if they score a 9 or 10, Passive if they score a 7 or 8, or a Detractor if they score a 0 to 6. As good practice and good customer service, Coppel takes pride in following up with each Member individually and personally within 48 hours of receiving their score. Whether they score a zero, or whether they score a ten, they’re going to hear from Ben.
“The NPS allows a fantastic opportunity to understand why the detractors rated us the way they did and then we can offer up a phone call or something else that will help turn things around to make their experience better,” says Coppel.
Member experience matters. By creating an excellent relationship with your clients and customers, you can organically create internal marketing and promotions that cost you little to nothing— just top tier service. Having that reputation can only increase your growth as you continue to venture into 2017. We’re taking all of these steps to ensure the Advantage|ForbesBooks Family is happy and continues to grow, day by day.