Survey Says Loyalty Programs Must Get Personal

In a new study, “Giving Customer Voice More Volume,” conducted by the CMO Council and sponsored by Satmetrix, they found that despite the importance of guest experience and customer word-of-mouth marketing, senior marketers are not taking firm action to utilize such feedback in marketing decisions.  Thirty-eight percent of the 480 executives surveyed admitted that they did not have any word-of-mouth tracking in place and even when tracking was in place, effectiveness of programs was not present due to a lack of follow up and aggregation of data.

As learned in the recent Coyle study, “The Word of 5000 mouths,” travelers certainly have a variety of factors influencing their reaction to an experience.  While some common themes are present in various segments and overall, much of the experience is affected by personal preference.

In this evolving world of vast online consumer feedback, loyalty programs and mass e-marketing efforts, what can companies do to improve brand advocacy?  The ongoing theme seems to be the same.  Get back to basics (maybe not technologically but in the method of collecting and utilizing feedback)..

  1. Listen to guest feedback no matter which end it is coming from and find a way to track performance and concerns in a meaningful way.
  2. Personalize the response.  Instead of sending a mass email to everyone on your list about a promotion, create targeted promotions based on guest history, feedback and preferences to truly engage your guests.
  3. Master the art of service recovery. When a guest complains, you are given an opportunity to be their hero.  Test and master this art and guest loyalty will follow.

Though the principles are simple, managing such vast feedback, harnessing it and using it to best market to and serve guests is far more complex.  Strategic partnerships can certainly help and it will be interesting to see the new innovations that companies develop to truly track and personalize each guest experience, in person and online.

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