How “Good Corporate Citizenship” Can Lead to Great Customer Engagement

Oct 26, 2012

In advance of Loyalty360’s annual Engagement Expo in Dallas, I did some homework on a few of the presenters as well as prepping for my own presentation with Matt Hood of BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse (Successful Loyalty Strategies: Maximizing Engagement and ROI through an Exceptional Customer Service Experience). Two of the sessions stood out and had me thinking about the growing movement that is omnichannel loyalty were: Great Customer Experience is Good Citizenship, by Citizens Bank, and Activating Brand Advocates, Internal and External, by Safelite AutoGlass.

Often when people hear the expression “good corporate citizenship,” they think in broad, sweeping terms: Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and its continuing environmental and philanthropic efforts, or Microsoft and its billion-dollar campaign to distribute free computer software to nonprofits. But for loyalty providers, why does the “do good deeds” scope have to be so expansive? Why can’t good corporate citizenship begin with the customers that companies have at hand?

The truth is, the latest omnichannel loyalty tactics applied to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse centers around reinvigorating a genuine customer experience, and instills a sense of good corporate citizenship, beginning with customers first. If companies, regardless of their industry sector, are poor stewards of their own customer relationships, how can they be good corporate citizens themselves? BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse loyalty program, Premiere Rewards, employs the latest loyalty marketing platform and technology to manage and mine customer data, uses social and location-based software to promote mobile-engaged clientele, and gives customers the opportunity to earn one point for every dollar spent, while also linking with social media. Called “social points,” members earn points by tweeting their BJ’s shout-outs when in a restaurant, for example, “checked in at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in XYZ LOCATION and earned points on my BJ’s Premier Rewards card.” Doing so awards members 3 points per visit.

Of course, social media’s intended brand impact isn’t an excuse to let people tweet. Related to the Safelife Autoglass presentation, social media is the modern avenue through which brand advocates can be activated. And through its seamless integration, omnichannel loyalty furthers that brand advocate creation goal, helping aid individual and personalized customer interactions.

The bottom line is that brands know they must be where their customers are and should continually anticipate the next big thing. And brands can improve their customer experience (and customer retention), building their corporate citizenship “resume,” by making sure that all facets of the customer purchasing and engagement lifecycle are addressed –  and that brick-and-mortar interactions work in harmony with mobile loyalty campaigns. Empowered marketers will acquire, grow, engage, and retain more loyal brand customers at the enterprise-level.

In order to become a true corporate citizen, brands must focus on their “citizens” first, turning them at once into loyal and highly engaged customers, and then into brand ambassadors.

In the words of Alex Cummings, Jr., Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer The Coca-Cola Company, speaking on corporate citizenship, “For our business to be sustainable, the communities where we do business have to be sustainable.”

For loyalty program and those involved in loyalty marketing, those “communities,” begin with customers first.  Does yours?