Guest post from Beth Narrish, Market Segment Manager, IBM Business Analytics
I love when a bad customer experience turns out positive, which is what happened at my regular Dunkin’ Donuts this week. It impacted my customer lifetime value.
I’m a creature of habit. I like to have my regular morning Dunkin’ Donuts “Large coffee, extra skim with two Splenda.”
However on this particular day when I arrived to the office, I realized the coffee was made with extra cream and not extra skim. Ick!
I was annoyed. I had already taken off my coat and wasn’t particularly enthused about walking back into the cold to the store to correct their mistake.
But, I didn’t want to settle, so across the street I went.
Lavelle, the manager, spotted me and could tell that something was wrong.
After I shared the situation, he not only told me to always come back if my order is wrong, but he gave me an XL replacement and told me the next coffee was on him. He also mentioned that it was his job to make sure I'm happy as a customer and for Dunkin’ to meet my expectations.
This whole experience is a perfect example of an employee doing right to ensure customer satisfaction and impact customer loyalty.
How many of us take the time to actually go onto a website and give positive feedback? Well, I was so impressed with Lavelle that I went to the Dunkin’ Donuts corporate website and did just that.
What does this positive experience do for Dunkin’ Donuts in the long run?
There are almost 50 Dunkin’ Donuts within a one mile radius of the Chicago downtown “loop” and all are independently owned. The only way a store can differentiate itself from the other franchises, let alone those other coffee shops, is customer service.
One could argue that getting to know your customers – their preferences, their likes and their behaviors, or even just their name – all contribute to customer intimacy and, in the long run, customer loyalty. To store managers and GMs, this means long-term revenue potential. And who are we kidding – it takes a lot of cups of coffee to increase profit margins!
I printed out the message I submitted online and went to personally deliver the note to Lavelle with my colleague, Kurt Peckman, who often regales this blog with tales of IBM Decision Management.
Kurt and I were invited to see the ‘inner sanctum billboard’ where Lavelle posts the weekly reports he receives from Dunkin’ corporate on satisfaction levels.
It turns out he would have received my comments without personally delivering them, but I’m glad I did. Kurt’s coffee was on the house, and we each received a Dunkin’ Donuts t-shirt, which appropriately says, “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.”
The moral of the story?
These customer experiences impact customer loyalty and have the potential to impact others’ actions as well. I’m a pretty social individual and subsequently, somewhat influential (hey, it comes with the territory).
Those in my sphere of influence have similar tastes, preferences and expectations they want met from a satisfaction and service perspective. Based on this slam “dunk,” it’s safe to say my sphere has heard how great it was. Kurt’s too.
From a business standpoint, better understanding all of these factors will ultimately impact and influence each individual customer’s lifetime value.
While my story is but a small microcosm to Dunkin Donuts or any organization that I interact with on a daily or weekly basis, the bottom line: a sharper focus on the individual customer. In other words, get to know me.
This will allow organizations to grow customer lifetime value by better targeting existing customers to improve loyalty and profitability.
And, like with Dunkin’ Donuts, I’ll keep coming back for more.
For more information:
· Read the whitepaper, “Five Imperatives for Impacting Customer Lifetime Value”
· Watch the video to see analytics maximizes customer lifetime value
· Learn more about IBM Customer Analytics solutions