Gaining loyalty in a global economy

Oct. 17, 2012 | by Chris Gilder

The global economy has had benefits for some businesses and created more challenges for others. It's a big world out there and keeping up with it can be exhausting. Gone are the Mad Men days with small targeted markets…or are they?

I think that sometimes you can get lost if you look at the global society as a whole. Rather than getting lost in the details or focusing on that pie in the sky, it may make the most sense to focus on a slice. 

Odds are you've put a lot of work into finding your customer and have enjoyed some business relationships serving them. But "next," as in the next customer, is not the way to approach your business growth. Self-service can re-program "next" to mean, "until next time," engaging your customers to return again.  

Customer loyalty is about creating repeat customers and maximizing your return on attracting and retaining that customer. Did you know that repeat customers tend to spend more money and talk about your business to others? If you look at big biz..they've figured that out. There are customer loyalty programs everywhere; frequent flier, credit card, bank, grocery store, retailers — you could probably think of at least 10 within two minutes.

So ask yourself: What does customer loyalty have to do with self-service? Loyalty programs are comprised of attracting customers, servicing customers and engaging customers. That can be a tall order if you think about it globally. If you focus on the whole pie, you won't know where to start. Self-service helps you to focus on that first slice.

The best part about self-service though, is that if you like that first slice, you can go after the whole pie.

What I mean about focusing on the first slice with self-service is taking a global brand, or even a multi-location regional brand, and editing it down to a first segment or location. Focusing on that particular location and making it local. A loyalty card self-service solution can take the administrative burden off of your staff. They can spend their time selling and serving and your customers can have access to your product without having to wait. The great thing is your staff will have more quality time to spend with the customers that do want to wait. Loyalty solutions can provide information, print custom loyalty cards, provide loyalty incentives and engage your customers in multiple ways.

Our design thinking process was established to really understand our customer's expectations, walk through the self-service process and bring up questions that they may not have considered. Our goal is to make your solutions successful and many times that takes a few conversations — so we can understand the ingredients needed to make that great loyalty pie. Some of our most successful deployments have included multi-use solutions that our clients initially deployed as prototypes. Our clients can basically try out that slice, see the results, and then go after the whole pie by deploying our scalable solutions globally. 

Building loyalty can be a complex undertaking. However, if you do your due diligence work with a consultative provider and monitor the health and production of your solution, you can have your slice and the entire pie — no matter your location across the globe.

Topics: Customer Enrollment Kiosks , Customer Experience , Retail

Chris Gilder / Chris Gilder, CEO & Founder of Meridian, brings more than 20 years of entrepreneurial successes to the senior management team. His vision and drive to succeed has led Meridian’s double digit growth for well over a decade. Meridian has been recognized as the leader in the self-service kiosk industry and an innovator with the development of the Self Service Technology Center in partnership with Intel, HP, Microsoft, Zebra Technologies and Storm.

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