Take 5 Minutes To Build Customer Loyalty

I recently blogged about Hyatt’s plan to offer some customers “random acts of generosity.” I’ve received a number of comments about how this program seems  “forced” and may actually backfire if customers start expecting acts of generosity. But the research in that post also showed that unexpected value can cause gratitude which creates a potentially strong foundation for loyalty.

So what should companies do? Take Five!

Disney trains its staff on a program called Take Five. Cast members (employees) are expected to take five minutes from their normal daily duties to do something special for their guests; they call it being aggressively friendly.

These aren’t meant to be random acts like paying for somebody’s drinks, but little things that are contextually relevant to the guest. For example, when one cast member heard that a guest wasn’t feeling well, she went on her own to get some chicken soup and bring it to the guest in her room.

How can companies make this type of program work:

  • Encourage it. Companies need to teach employees to look for and act on relevant opportunities for helping customers. Using language like “Take Five” for the program will help embed it in the culture. As with any of these programs, employees should understand “why” this is happening and also be given clear parameters.
  • Talk about it. As I mentioned in a recent post, storytelling is a powerful tool for shaping culture. Workgroups should share these experiences in normal team meetings (to motivate and to learn) and execs should share these stories at company wide venues to demonstrate their commitment and to motivate employees. 
  • Reward it. One of my 6 laws of customer experience is that employees do what is measured, incented, and celebrated. So companies should think about creating awards to honor employees for going above and beyond their duties to help customers — in five minute segments.

The bottom line: It’s worth five minutes per day to wow your customers.

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

5 Responses to Take 5 Minutes To Build Customer Loyalty

  1. a roth says:

    My family was staying at a Disney hotel in Florida a number of years ago and my daughter (around age 4 at the time) and I were trying to win a stuffed animal in one of the crane games in the lobby. We spent some money, but didn’t manage to get anything and she was getting frustrated. An employee came over, unlocked the machine and set up an animal on the perched edge of the exit slot. Needless to say, we got the animal on the next play and my daughter was ecstatic. I’m sure that’s not normal operating procedure, and since it’s been a few years, I don’t know if the Take 5 program was in existence at the time. I’m no great fan of the Disney company as a whole, but have nothing but good things to say about our experience at their hotel.

  2. Random acts of niceness/genorisity can be forced. Remember Disney’s year of a million dreams where they handed out special experiences to random guests?

    A good experience shouldn’t be down to a lottery where you may or not get it. The experience should be consistent and inclusive.

    Elizabeth Sealey

  3. Bruce Temkin says:

    a roth and Elizabeth: Your comments are nicely complementary. “Acts of kindness” will not be very effective if they are forced or overly orchestrated. But giving employees the freedom and encouragement to decide on their own that it’s a good ideal to help a little girl win a stuffed animal sounds like a good approach. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Pingback: A few of my favorite blogs, Part I – Customer Experience - the customer experience for profit blog

  5. Mike says:

    Thats all good however in this economic climate customer loyalty is limited and scarce…. understandably.

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