The “Undercover Boss” should also play the role of customer


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Yesterday I was having a bit of trouble getting into the website of one of the loyalty programs I belong to. When I typed in my username and password, I learned that “Your username is not recognized” on several tries. OK, it’s been a while since I’ve used the site, I thought, and I’m probably misremembering this particular username. So I decided to create a new account–using the same username. Which I couldn’t do because “That username is already in use.” In use, but not recognized?

And when I tried to navigate the “forgot your username?” section, I was asked the security question: “What’s your mother’s maiden name?” Though this answer I was completely sure of, the site claimed that the answer I provided was wrong. (How do I break the news to Mom that she’s been using the wrong maiden name all these years?)

You as a loyalty marketer might be thinking, what does this have to do with my areas of responsibility? This is a tech problem. Yet, it’s indeed a marketing problem–a customer-relationship problem. In my case, I must wonder if the executives operating the loyalty program I belong to have personally experimented with the website login? Are those executivess themselves members? Have they lived the experience that members face? Does the site recognize those executives’ moms? And to the positive, have these executives personally experienced the goood, and the great, to learn what works and what could work even better? Despite my website fumblings, I find the earning and redemption systems, the call center interctions and the in-person experiences with this brand to be excellent, and I hope that those executives understand how important that excellence is in keeping customers–including, this particular customer.

In other words, for all our efforts of understanding customers through data analysis, surveys and segmentation, have we properly understood those customers in terms of actual operations? In addition to the critical best practices of listening to your program members, tracking members’ activity. mining data, crafting relevant offers, and being innovative, I encourage the entire loyalty team to get on the ground, whether on the website, in-store, or on your mobile app. Be a customer–be a member. See what your best customers see, to correct deficiencies and to celebrate and leverage excellence. And when you see what the customers see, learn what customers experience, tell me what my mom’s real maiden name is so I can get into my program’s website.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bill Brohaugh
As managing editor, Bill Brohaugh is responsible for the day-to-day management and editorial for the COLLOQUY magazine and, the most comprehensive loyalty marketing web site in the world. In addition to writing many of the feature articles, Bill develops the editorial calendar, hires and manages outside writers and researchers and oversees print and online production. He also contributes to COLLOQUY's weekly email Market Alert and the COLLOQUYTalk series of white papers.


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