Your most effective customer survey tool is e-mail: strategically-applied, loyalty programs can boost customer frequency and provide direction for tomorrow's outreach campaigns.

Author:Schaden, Tim


Just about every franchise system in America has access to the world's most effective, most relevant customer survey and relationship tool and it is less expensive and more accurate than third-party surveys because the reactions are based on real-world opportunities. When used strategically, e-mail loyalty programs can increase customer frequency and be a guide for shaping future messages to new and existing customers.

Once implemented, a combination of advanced techniques designed to improve e-mail deliverability, response and viral effect will often grow a brand's loyalty, database significantly in the first year and more for many years to come. The most powerful plans combine this increased reach and response with a well-structured customer profiling strategy. This can be especially advantageous for franchise marketers because it can be applied at both the corporate and local store levels, thereby enhancing the opportunity to create the most valuable relationship with the brand and the individual service provider.

Act Globally and Locally

Build the program using the two most powerful franchise resources, corporate brand recognition and local customer contact. When inquiries arrive through the corporate Web site. grab the ZIP code of each online visitor or let them select the store nearest to them. At the store level, allow customers to drop business cards into an entry box to receive information and offers. Of course, an initial incentive can help increase volume. The intake forms should have simple checkboxes designed to create a customer profile for each person entering the program. A good form can yield demographic information, as well as specific product and service interest. Testing can reveal which incentives move people into permission-based programs and which don't, giving the franchise system a better feel for the tastes of incoming members and to answer such questions as to whether customers value a luxurious trip more than things that are free.

Typically, the e-mail address of each visitor to the site will be tagged with a specific nearby store location. That tag allows the store to provide its local customers an offer exclusive to that location or supplemental Site. For example, when a major sports event is coming to town, the local store can send offers related to get-togethers to the people associated with their store. Deeper community relationships can even be developed by mentioning that a portion...

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