CUSTOMER SERVICE AT THE HEART OF YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY WILL DRIVE OVERALL SUCCESS

Customer loyalty isn’t what it used to be. There has been a significant change in the process that controls business structure brought around by the digital world we live in.  We are all exposed to Internet access 24/7.  As a result, this has intensified competition and completely changed the way people look at products and service.  Every company must become customer-adaptable in todays volatile and competitive environment.

Never before has there been more of a need for outstanding customer service.  This is instrumental in crafting a company’s brand promise and solidifying customer loyalty. In many cases, service is the deciding and most important factor in brand selection today.

Business must act in a highly collaborative way or risk losing customers through less than exemplary service.  This will no doubt set up a path to failure.  Customer loyalty can only be won when customers feel that the brand cares and has their best interests at heart.  Customer loyalty is fundamental to survival and therefore an organization must center their entire business on the customer and delivering those outcomes their customers expect and want.

Brands and service providers in all sectors are experiencing pressure to boost customer loyalty and enhance customer engagement.  In the past, brands have relied on discounts and loyalty schemes to win customers. Many times this proves costly, ineffective and shows little ROI.

Businesses need to gravitate towards the opposite outcome by providing service that stands out against competitors. When a customer has a good experience, they will remain loyal.  In this generation of using customer insights to deliver smarter results, services and product recommendations are a differentiating factor.  Just look at the amount of money business invests in data analytics and CRM tools to realize rewards.  This data is used to create a more valuable, one-to-one relationship with customers.

When a consumer has a quick, effortless and efficient experience and know the company has gone the extra mile to meet their expectations they are much more likely to recommend services via word of mouth or write positive reviews.

If organizations want to instill company-wide best practices to ensure success and drive loyalty, they must focus on Customer Service.

Our clients and their customers are important to us; they are the core factors of our business.  We build and value partnerships with our clients and deliver solutions to support their objectives, their products and their customers.

 

Written by LuAnn Jalet

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JNR Incorporated is a globally recognized leader specializing in creating custom programs that motivate, engage and reward the employees, customers and channel members of our Fortune 1000 clients. For over 35 years, JNR has designed and delivered a comprehensive suite of solutions including incentive travel, prepaid reward and gift cards, meetings and conferences, events and entertainment, technology solutions and marketing communications.  Our programs produce measurable results and are proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Mexican Travel Spotlight: Top Destinations

Few locations rival the country of Mexico in the realm of incentive travel and corporate meeting planning. With an abundance of world class resorts offering thousands of square feet of meeting space and services ranging from renowned spas and championship golf courses to crystal clear waters along private beaches, Mexico is truly an enticing destination for any company to consider for its next reward trip.

Mexico is an ideal locale due to its close proximity to the United States, easing the hassle of transportation and facilitating a worry free trip for a firm with an inclination for organizing an international program. Throughout the years, JNR has enjoyed several successful incentive trips to Mexico, and with its hospitable accommodations and excellent weather, it is a destination that is continually on the radar for an increasing number of clients.

One of Mexico’s most outstanding benefits is its privileged coastline on both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, providing multiple options for 5-star lodging for both west coast and east coast companies with an eye for this beautiful country. JNR has been fortunate enough to operate programs in some of the most exceptional Mexican locations, highlighted by Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, and the stunning Riviera Maya.

Puerto Vallarta: Puerto Vallarta is a coastal town on the Bay of Banderas on the Pacific side of Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is a unique blend of landscapes for visitors to the city.  Hiking through a rainforest or lush jungle in the morning and relaxing on the golden sands  in the afternoon is all possible within the same day. Puerto Vallarta has become a tremendously popular vacation spot in recent years, as the number of gourmet eateries, boutique shops and remarkable accommodations has exponentially risen to accompany the colonial and historic vibe that the city is founded upon.

Cabo San Lucas: Los Cabos or Cabo San Lucas is a lively and energetic resort area on the tip of the Baja California Peninsula. With over 20 miles of white sand beaches, Cabo San Lucas is a wonderful destination for beautiful resorts and water activity aficionados. The turquoise blue waters and famous sea arches are a perfect location for sport fishing, wave running or whale watching, giving any company a plethora of options for its guest’s activities.  For the land dwellers, Cabo San Lucas has a lively night scene as well as multiple old town shopping experiences from vivacious downtown Cabo to the quieter San Jose del Cabo.

Cancun: Cancun is a world famous tourist destination on the Yucatan Peninsula that does not disappoint with its glamorous beaches, first class all inclusive resorts, modern attractions, and exuberant nightlife. Cancun has been on the map as a gorgeous destination year round with its ideal weather and surplus of distinguished hotels and spas. While it is known for being a spring break oasis, Cancun has a multitude of space for higher end travel and a large airport that allows for ease of travel in and out of the United States, as well as its proximity to the luxurious Isla Mujeres and historical Chichen Itza.

Riviera Maya: The Riviera Maya is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the entire country of Mexico. Straddling Highway 307 along the Caribbean Sea, the Riviera Maya encompasses some of the most striking locations including Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Xel-Ha, and Xcaret which boast arguably the best beaches in the world.  The Riviera Maya also includes the Island of Cozumel, which is celebrated for its reef where snorkeling and scuba diving adventures abound. The Riviera Maya is a first-rate location for international programs as this shoreline hosts more all inclusive resorts than any other region in the country and is close to the ruins of ancient Mayan civilization.

Mexico is a year round playground for sunshine and adventure, and in recent years it has become a mecca for corporate travel. JNR is no exception and has been going south of the border for both large corporate meetings and action packed incentives as Mexico meets multiple needs when planning any type of program. The international value for the domestic price tag cannot be beat, and Mexico continues to dazzle its guests, leaving any visitor to the country wanting to come back for more of its hospitality. For inquiries into setting up your own corporate program to any of these fantastic sites, visit JNR Inc for more information.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Andy Tallon

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Puerto Vallarta” by Harvey Barrison is licensed under CC By 2.0

Are You Focusing on Customer Retention Enough?

Increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by as much as 95% according to the Harvard Business Review.

Take a moment to grasp how powerful this statistic is. Despite the fact that there is a massive opportunity to improve company profitability by placing an increased focus on customer engagement and loyalty, many companies devote very little time and resources into keeping their existing customers happy and coming back for more. The lifetime value of one loyal customer can be extremely high when you take into account their purchases over the years.

We all understand that customer acquisition and awareness building is vital to growth and should be prioritized. However, it is time that customer retention is treated as an equally important initiative.

Customer Retention is Downplayed (Source)

  • 34% of those surveyed said they will increase their investment in acquisition in 2014, compared to only 18% heightening their focus on retention
  • 71% of content marketers said one of their main goals is acquisition, while only 65% cited customer retention and loyalty
  • 31% of marketers feel that their personalization efforts had a “high impact” on awareness compared with only 24% on retention and loyalty

To break it down into dollars and cents, we look to a powerful B2C example that demonstrates exactly how much more profitable it is to sell to a current customer than to acquire a new one.

The study determined how many pairs of shoes the company had to sell to achieve a profit of $100,000 under two particular conditions.

Under the first set of conditions, the company is investing a great deal of money into advertising to generate sales. Since 98% of their business is first-time buyers, they are spending $20 in acquisition, $10 in general administrative costs, $5 in shipping, $50 in product cost and have a profit margin of $15. High advertising costs and lower loyalty are causing acquisition costs to spike.

At these costs, 6,600 pairs of shoes must be sold in order to gain a profit of $100,000.

If they flip the script and devote 98% of their budget to selling to existing clients, the profit margin increases by $20 per unit to reach $35. $100,000 in profit will now be achieved when only 2,800 pairs of shoes are sold. That is a 58% decrease (3,800 units) in amount needed to reach that profit target.

Although the advertising and profitability numbers will be different for every industry, a similar picture remains. It is far more profitable to gain repeat business from your existing customers than to seek out new customers by exhausting large advertising budgets and/or devoting resources to lengthy selling cycles. New business is a must, but the value of repeat business is severely undervalued.

With that said, incentives for repeat customers should be considered. This might be as small as offering a $1 off discount coupon on the purchase of a car wash to a consumer or as extravagant as gifting a trip to South Africa for an advertiser that exceeds $10,000 in spend. Size of customer purchase will greatly affect incentive choice.

Sometimes even a simple, genuine “thank you” can go a long way…and this does not cost more than a moment of your time.

For more ideas on some interesting ways to thank customers, check out “24 Classic Tried-and-Tested Ways to Thank Your Customers” here or send us an email at jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com to pick our brains. We have been implementing programs for companies with some of the most loyal customers in the world for over 30 years in a variety of industries and would love to share our findings with you.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

German Spotlight: Microsoft Operates One of the 8 Best New Restaurants in Berlin

September features Germany as our destination focus for the month. We started with a recipe for German honey cookies and now, sticking in the culinary realm, we’ll let others do the cooking as we share a list of eight new and innovative Berlin restaurants compiled by Thrillist. We honestly feel you would be remiss in not sampling at least one of the establishments on this list when in the area.

The list was compiled in December and every restaurant mentioned has proved to be a smash hit as predicted. Foodies of all kinds will enjoy this list as it features everything from paleo options to ramen bowls and even an establishment run by Microsoft.

In no particular order…

Cocolo Ramen X-Berg

Searching for Japanese food in Berlin? This is probably the spot for you. After previously operating in a very small location, they are open now on Kreuzberg’s Paul-Lincke-Ufer. Rice bowls, ramen with smoked chicken, Miso, spicy TanTan and the pork dish Tonkotsu highlight their splendid menu.

Muse Berlin

The Prenzlauer Berg hotspot functions as a supper club on the weekends hosted by guest chefs and a popular gourmet sandwich spot during the week, particularly busy during lunch. Slow-braised brisket with comté, Montreal Currywurst and Berliner Boa with maple-glazed pork belly are just two of the dishes that Muse has become known for.

Lamazère   

West Berlin’s Lamazère is the mastermind of Chef Régis Lamazère who has perfected classy French fare with this concept. Lamazère, son of a Parisian celebrity chef, serves up escargots, pork confit and tarte tatin to its slew of guests daily.

Microsoft Digital Eatery

Microsoft Digital Eatery, actually owned by Microsoft, serves not only as spot to dish up up soups, pastas and sammies, but also a place for the company to allow people to test their new tech products before they hit the market. Much of the produce is sourced locally and the menu is rather simple, yet tasty.

Sauvage

Promoted as “the world’s first paleo restaurant” and raising some eyebrows as a result, Sauvage in Prenzlauer Berg is the sister location to the Kreuzberg spot that opened in 2011. Apple-fed pork belly and filet mignon with wild mushrooms are interesting points on a menu packed with proteins claiming to serve food that “enhances fat burning and sex drive.”

Dean

Located on the former site of a famous club called Delicious Doughnuts, Dean consistently books prominent disco and soul DJs while crafting renowned specialty cocktails. Phillip Bischoff (Amano Bar) & Tino Hiller (Reingold) contribute unique drink recipes to this amazing nightlife option on the strip of Rosenthaler Strasse.

Jää-äär

The restaurant name translates to “ice age” or “edge of ice” in Estonian and is quite a difficult one to pronounce for Americans. Their edgy, modern menu offers homey dishes such as apple cheesecake, cabbage pie and garlic bread along with rum-style Estonia liquor and various events.

Neni Berlin at Twenty Five Hours Hotel

Neni’s menu specializes in Israeli-inspired dishes dreamt up by Chef Haya Molcho, such as flavored hummus and Jerusalem-style mezze. The hotel that houses Neni is also quite impressive as it features a bikini lounge and sauna with a view of the Berlin Zoo.

Germany is an amazing option for any company’s sales incentive program. We have operated numerous programs there and the customers, dealer principles and employees of our clients have unanimously considered it to be an amazing reward and incentive destination and experience they will never forget.

If you have any further questions about Germany or want to discuss how to plan an incentive travel trip, meeting or event, please feel free to send me an email or give me a call at 949.476.2788.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Kristopher Hewkin

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Microsoft Berlin: Cafébereich der Digital Eatery – 1” used with permission from Microsoft

Incentive Travel Industry Spotlight: 2014’s Positive Outlook

Are decreasing travel budgets a thing of the past? We certainly hope so. Since 2008, the incentive travel industry has been privy to the turbulent effects of a fluctuating economy paired with a watchful sentiment towards travel budgets. Program size and duration have scaled down and large, more elaborate programs have become few and far between. Now a new Pulse Study, titled 2014 Trends in Engagement, Incentives, and Recognition released by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) show results that are consistent with incentive travel budgets stabilizing and an increasingly positive outlook.

For the past six years, the IRF has documented trends in the incentive travel industry and noted unstable economic conditions that have impacted the way companies approach their budgets. In 2008, 81% of respondents felt that the economic downturn had negatively impacted their ability to plan an incentive travel program for their organization. When comparing this to current findings, the IRF has found that the number of companies decreasing their program size has shifted from 40% in 2008 to only 11% in 2014, on average. The IRF also found that 36% of respondents are increasing their budgets, pointing to a more prosperous incentive travel environment.

The research, which was conducted from April 15 through May 2, 2014, suggests that the increases in travel budgets are going into the non-meal components of incentive programs. These components include gifts, additional excursions and activities as well as comprehensive payment of all airline fees and transfers. This trend is expected to continue and, while slight program expansions are expected, we find planners wanting to increase the quality of programs over increasing the quantity, ultimately leading to a more profound growth in the non-meal component sectors.

Other Incentive Travel Trends:

– North America, the Caribbean and Europe remain the top destinations for incentive travel with Central America, South America and Asia representing the second most common group of destinations for incentive travel

– Planners looking outside the box are choosing areas such as China, Bali, Vietnam and Peru most often due to improved infrastructures and the opportunities they provide for genuine, uncommon experiences

– Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) continues to grow in importance for planners with 47% of them integrating it with their programs

– 62% of respondents said they are interested in utilizing wellness programs

– 60% of incentive travel planners are implementing social media to enhance onsite, pre and post event communications.

An incentive travel program is designed to motivate employees, customers or clients to engage in a certain behavior with the hopes of generating a particular result. These results may include increasing sales, ensuring customer satisfaction or creating greater loyalty. An incentive travel program is a proven form of motivation and increasingly, those who qualify for these rewards want a more robust experience where items on their personal bucket list are checked off. Clients are realizing that a higher quality program with fewer participants generates a greater behavioral change than a large program with no “WOW” factor.

To organize a trip that hits the mark, incentive travel companies need to have great industry relationships and connections, innovative ideas and the experience to manage all the elements. With over 30 years of experience in the industry JNR can help make your dream incentive trip a reality. If you would like more information on how JNR can provide your company with the tools to engage your workforce, please email jnrinfo@jnrcorp.com.

Suggested Reading:

Traditional Advertising vs. Incentive Programs

Group Travel is the Number One Motivating Tool

Safety Incentive Program Saved Massey Energy $5 Million

Pharmaceutical Sales Incentives: A Case Study

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.