CGL: Innovative Ideas That Increase Your Customer Engagement


Jon:                  Alright, we are live here at CityGro. I’m Jon. We’ve got Luke Gordon with us today who heads our Account Pro Team.

Luke:                Absolutely.

Jon:                  Welcome.

Luke:                Excited to be here.

Jon:                  Excited to have you here. Just a quick introduction if you’ve been with us before, you know a little bit about what we do. We’re CityGro. We build marketing tools, retention tools to help you bring your customers back. So today Luke’s been tasked with the challenge of coming up with innovative ways to get people to engage with your loyalty programs.

Luke:                And not necessarily just loyalty programs. It’s more with your business and with your brand. Really with the software that we’ve developed here we’re trying to focus on building loyalty, driving customers back, trying to get customers to really strengthen the relationship between you and your customers. And so we have a lot of different tools that we’ve developed to be able to do that. And so I wanted to touch base on some of these tools today, and I know you’ve talked about these tools throughout different broadcasts, but, some of the different ways that other businesses are driving traffic in engagement.

Jon:                  So we’re not talking about the tools themselves, but different ways to utilize them. Maybe, I’m guessing, we’ll see some of the creative stuff that we’ve seen our businesses (clients) do or others that we’ve heard of. Lots come to mind. So let’s dive right in. Let’s see, we’ve got a list. How do you want to organize it? Maybe product based or do you want me to just go? What came to mind?

Luke:                Yeah, let’s go product based. So, one of our flagship products is our kiosk. We have a digital kiosk that not only does loyalty for customers, we also do waivers, as well as a number of other things. And so one different innovative way (to use the kiosk) is; we have one client in particular that I’m thinking of, they’ve added a spin-to-win feature for the kiosk. And so as customers come in, they have the ability to click on a button that will spin a wheel and they have different prizes that the customer can win.

Jon:                  So they are gamifying the experience of… now, are they pushing loyalty, this customer that you’re talking about?

Luke:                They are pushing loyalty, but they are also gamifying the experience. You can get additional loyalty points. So really they’re trying to entice customers to check in more often because they can get more than just the one point or whatever it is for their visit, but they have the ability to spin-to-win five points or two points. Or we’ve even had a customer that did a spin-to-win feature or a random select-a-button to win and they were giving away free drinks or free candy bars and different things like that. So really enticing for the customer. They get excited about it.

Jon:                  I really liked the gamification aspect. If you’re thinking about the group that I think you’re talking about, it fits their industry really well.

Luke:                It does, definitely.

Jon:                  And that’s one of the things you’ve got to think through is; let’s say you have a goal to gamify, or you want to just try it out. What kind of game would your customers respond to? An enter-to-win is really easy. I’m looking through (your list) because I don’t know if you’re already going to go over this kind of stuff, but we had a group during the Super Bowl… We see a lot of people gamifying that, like “Enter to choose your team: are you loyalty blue or loyalty red? Who’s gonna win?” and then you get discounts maybe the next week if that works. But anyway, gamifying by thinking through, “What would your core group of customers like to win?” or “What’s kind of entertaining for them?” worked really well for that business.

Luke:                Absolutely. Not only that, but they’ve also done a phenomenal job in being able to really try to drive traffic other ways. So this customer has recently set up a scratch-to-win. And so when you come into their business, they give you a scratch card, use you simply scratch that card. There’s a hidden offer code. You type that in on the kiosks. After you collect all six prizes, then you get a grand prize type scenario.

Jon:                  It reminds me of the old Monopoly… McDonald’s Monopoly, right?

Luke:                Very similar concept, but a lot easier and less moving parts to be able to do that.

Jon:                  Cool. Love it. Well, let’s keep it going forward.

Luke:                So, another thing… as you were talking about, with the Super Bowl; businesses have had different contests “Who’s gonna win the Super Bowl?” Where you can get them to text in to vote who they think is going to win. You can have them text a keyword. We’ll send them back a link and they can select their favorite team. You can also take polls. If you’re wondering what the favorite product is this week. Or if you’re looking at adding a new shake, or you’re looking at adding a new line of clothes or whatever it might be. You can take a poll with your customers through our text messaging and ability to survey that we have with that text message.

Jon:                  So you send them a message, it has the link in there, they click on that. They can go to the survey.

Luke:                The great thing about this is, not only are they voting so that you can get some feedback from your customers, but we’re also tracking that (information) tied to the specific customer. So let’s say, for example, you decide that you want to add product “A” to your lineup. So now you have a database of people who are interested in product “A”. So now you can turn around and send a direct message to those customers to drive them in and let them know that you’ve added this product. Although we still would recommend you send it out to your entire database because who knows, maybe that wasn’t their favorite one, but it is one that they like, but just not their favorite. And so you still have the ability to be able to drive traffic different ways, but we do give you the ability to segment your database based upon those surveys results as well.

Jon:                  Yeah, I really liked that. Using the gamification aspect of it or that fun-play to actually get real results. So in addition to interacting by getting the sports team, they’re going for, you can gamify by having voting connected with a (menu item) flavor or something like that. Great suggestion.

Luke:                One other way that we had a client do something similar to this with March Madness. March Madness is another great time for you to be able to get customers to engage with your brand using different promotions and specials; favorite teams and so forth. But this is actually a froyo company that did this. So frozen yogurt. They were voting on the favorite flavors and so they had a whole bracket set up where they had four different divisions. Vote for your three favorites in each division and then a week later after some voting, then it went down to two favorites, and then one favorite; and they have the semifinals and so forth. So it was a fun little thing, trying to get more engagement from customers both tied to social media as well as text message marketing. So that’s just one other waythat that people have been trying to engage customers.

Jon:                  Interesting. You almost have to ride the line though, because that seems like it could get really complicated. It sounds like they simplified it.

Luke:                Yes. Yes. You definitely want to make sure it’s very simple for the customers because otherwise if they don’t understand how it works, they’re not going to participate.

Jon:                  Yeah. I’ve seen some really cool bounce back offers tied in with the Super Bowl and March Madness campaigns. And it doesn’t have to always be around sports, but sports tends to create a good competition, even if you don’t know anything about it and you just can choose red or blue. This was back when the Patriots or the Eagles were playing and they did a bounce back where you would actually get an immediate text with what you chose and then you’d have to bring that back within a week for your discount. And I think you got a discount either way. It was a better discount if you chose the winning team. It was a slightly worse discount if you chose the losing team, but they wanted everyone to bring it back either way. So “This is what I voted for.”

Luke:                And speaking of these bounce back messages that you’re talking about. We’ve seen a lot of success from businesses being able to increase their engagement and their participation by sending out these bounce back messages when a customer comes in, whether it’s every visit or just their first visit. One client in particular that I’m thinking of; they were a restaurant and they specialized in doing… I mean they have a full-service restaurant. When I say full service, it’s more of a quick serve, a burger joint type thing, but they specialize in shakes. So after the first visit, they sent out a very aggressive offer where they’re offering 50 percent off a shake if you come back the next day. Now what their theory behind that, is if they’re able to drive the customer to come in two days in a row for a shake, they’re more likely to come in and have a habit. So another great way with bounce back offers, trying to increase that engagement.

Jon:                  The other thing that hit my mind is anytime you’re running any kind of creative campaign, even if it’s a week or a day or however long it is… So a couple of weeks ago we talked about the importance of an invite. Of how big a difference it makes if you train your employees to just extended the invite. Well, what these creative things do is they give easy ammo for that invite. It gives a talking point that they come up and they say, “Hey, we’re running a challenge today. Do you want to choose a team?” or “Hey, we’ve got a spin the wheel function.” It gives them something to do and makes that invite really easy. So it’s not complicated. It’s straightforward and kind of fun. It really energizes the check-out system.

Luke:                Definitely agree with that and I highly recommend that as well.

Jon:                  Okay. So let’s move on. I see some ties into social media. Do you have some social media thoughts for us?.

Luke:                So a lot of our clients are trying to increase the engagement not only within their business but also trying to drive traffic from other customers. And so what we do as people check in, whether they’re checking in on the second, third or the eighth visit, is we’ll actually shoot them a text message asking them how their service was. So that text message would read: “How was your service today? Click here if it was great, or click here (a different link) if we can improve. If they click the link saying that it was great, we’ll land them on a particular social media site in the hope that they’re going to leave a review. Whether that is Facebook or Google or whatever it might be. If they click the link saying that there’s something you can improve on we send them to a feedback form to express their opinion, that we email directly to the business owner or the manager.

Jon:                  So they’re not sending screamers to Facebook reviews. They’re sending it to you.

Luke:   Precisely. Exactly. So we’ve seen a lot of success with that in not only increasing the social media ratings but also being able to get direct feedback from your customers when they have a poor experience.

Jon:                  Awesome. I think a lot of what you push in stores should be pushed on social. You got to remember though, you want them to connect with you, and social, while that’s a good connection, a lot of it should be geared towards, for us, the kiosk, and your signup form, make it a part of signing up wherever your pushing it, make that a part of everything else. 

Luke:                Absolutely. Another big thing is text messages. So we have your traditional text message marketing, but in addition that we’ve added a few things where through our software, you can text in to see how many points you have. That way a customer, at any time, can find out what their point values are. We have the ability to track offers. You have the ability to track and find out redemptions of offers. So if you don’t have a particular kiosk, you can still send out a text message saying, Hey, click here and get 20 percent off your purchase today. And so you’re able to track the redemptions just through a new feature that we’ve added recently.

Jon:                  Awesome. Well, I’m going to spit some off the top of my head that has just to come to mind as you’ve been talking because I think this is all been good stuff. So we had a club (event center) one time, you might remember this, they went to Costco and they just bought a ton of cheap (bottled) water. Do you remember this? I don’t know if you remember this or not. They got a ton of cheap water. You got a free water if you signed up for their text club at their event. And they signed up… I don’t know how many hundreds, but it was significantly more than they did prior to the night that they gave away the water. They looked back at the cost per person to add someone to their texts club. It was… I don’t know, 10 or eleven cents, whatever it was per bottle in those, in those big packets of water, they looked at the lifetime value of customer and that eleven cents is nothing compared to the lifetime value of having someone in a text network, especially in an environment like that where people just don’t come because they don’t know about the event. So, so that one came to mind as a huge win for them. There’s a ton of incentive-based ideas that… And that’s kinda how I think of those; is I think, “How much would I be willing to give away today to get somebody into my loyalty network that’s gonna lead to a higher LTV of what rate?” To the point where we’ve seen, and this wasn’t through CityGro, but we’ve seen groups like the pancake revolution that IHOP did. They might still be doing it, I don’t know, but they did it for years where if you joined their birthday club, you got a free meal. It wasn’t just a flap Jack, it was a free stack of pancakes. And it started you down this mindset of “How valuable is that customer and what would I be willing to give away for it?” So, there are so many that come to mind. That’s one that shot to the top of my mind. But these are all great examples. So to wrap up, anything else that comes to mind for you? I know you see these every day?

Luke:                One other feature that we recently launched is two-way messaging. So with our two-way messaging, this provides the ability for you as a business owner, as you’re really busy, you’re already engaging with your customers out on the floor or in the showroom, whatever it might be. Well, this provides a way for you to be able to text them directly from your cell phone. So for example, if the customer does respond to a promotion you send out, the inbound message gets forwarded to your cell phone, which then you can respond from your cell phone that gets sent over to the customer (using the text number, NOT your cell number). Another great way to increase the engagement and also the participation; we have one business that I’m thinking of, they do buys (purchase items) from the customer, they resell clothing. So when a customer brings in the clothing, once that clothing is ready, then they’ll turn around and they will text the customer and say, “Hey, your buy is ready.”, or we have a car wash place that will do the same thing, “Hey, your car’s ready for you.” It’s a full detail, not just a simple carwash that takes five minutes, but full details take a lot longer. And so we have that ability to have that two way messaging with your customers as we continue to try and build these tools to strengthen that relationship between you and your customers.

Jon:                  Awesome. Well, great ideas, Luke. Thanks for sharing those with us. Hopefully, that’s helpful for someone out there. Again, we’re CityGro. We help you bring customers back. Please free to reach out to us if you have questions or have an idea for a future CityGro live. We’re always looking for the next question that we can kind of spitfire around here and see how we would do it and give you any input we have. But until then, we’ll see you next time. Thanks.

Luke:                Have a good day.

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