Customer Equity Accelerator Podcast

Ep. 67 | Deepening the Customer Experience



"At the heart of our company, we care very much about who our customers are, and these are all ways we show them how much we care." - Diane Le


This week Diane Le, the director of digital marketing at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf joins Allison Hartsoe in the Accelerator. Diane relates how her love of technology and love of people have come together to deepen the customer experience at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. The result is an emotionally engaging loyalty program that goes well beyond the discount coupon.     

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Show Transcript

Allison Hartsoe: [00:01] This is the Customer Equity Accelerator. If you are a marketing executive who wants to deliver bottom-line impact by identifying and connecting with revenue generating customers, then this is the show for you. I'm your host, Allison Hartsoe, CEO of Ambition Data. Each week I bring you the leaders behind the customer-centric revolution who share their expert advice. Are you ready to accelerate? Then let's go! Welcome everybody. Today's show is about deepening the customer experience with loyalty. Now to help me discuss this topic is Diane Le. Diane is the director of digital marketing at the coffee bean and tea leaf. Diane, welcome to the show.


Diane Le: [00:47] Hi, thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to be here today.


Allison Hartsoe: [00:51] Most people don't start with digital marketing coming out of school. So did you go through an interesting path to get to the role that you have today?


Diane Le: [01:00] I actually started my career really early on in digital marketing almost from the get-go, before I went to school when I was a teenager I was obsessed with all things technology related, so I was learning about everything from some coding, HTML, CSS really early on, and then I was one of the really early users of all things social media, so I was always obsessed with the Internet and information technology. So it was very natural for me when I went to school to go into that field, and then coming out of school went and worked with agencies that were very digital first, which nine, uh, 10 years ago was still relatively new, and then really just grew my career from there.


Allison Hartsoe: [01:41] Great. You said that you worked at other agencies. Did you also work at other brands before you got to coffee bean and tea leaf?


Diane Le: [01:48]Prior to the coffee bean and tea leaf I actually worked for CPG companies. I worked in the beauty space for the sexy hair. They're the makers of the big sexy hair hairsprays. Prior to that, I worked with agencies that worked with brands across beauty, fashion, nonprofit, just a little bit of everything. So I start off my career in really like brass of clients, and then I kind of narrowed it down to consumer brands after that.


Allison Hartsoe: [02:12] Makes Sense. So tell us a little bit about what your team does or what you specifically do on a daily basis.


Diane Le: [02:18] Everyday is a little bit different, but I always say I handle anything that is not physical in nature. So all things digital. So my team and I are in charge of our mobile app, our website, social media, email marketing, e-commerce marketing, site merchandising, digital ads. I feel like I'm missing a bunch more things. But basically, they have to do with digital that revolves with my team.


Allison Hartsoe: [02:43] Wow. That's a huge spread. You must have a team of like 45 people.


Diane Le: [02:48] Really no one on the brand side is ever that lucky except for a very small portion. So it is a relatively small team that we have amazing agencies that we work with as well, and we make it work.


Allison Hartsoe: [03:02] That makes sense. So tell us a little bit about why should I care about using the customer experience to generate loyalty? I see a lot of people investing time and energy in their store and their store experience. There are tons of examples out there of different brands doing like Nike did a new store experience, Levi's did a store experience, isn't a store experience enough?


Diane Le: [03:30] Store experiences are great, but in this age, everybody is always connected offline, and it's so important to stay connected with your customers when they're not necessarily in your stores. So you know, when you're in the store experience, you maybe have that customer for three minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour, but they're on their phones every other hour of the day. Um, and they're available offline and all of these different times, you know, there's all these different stats and talking about how frequently people pick up their phone or connect to the Internet throughout the day. Each one of those times is another opportunity for you to connect with your customer. So it's so important to have that online to offline experience. Do you want to be able to connect with people both when they're in their store, and then a lot more when they're not in your store, when they're at that moment of consideration on where to go, or when they're browsing, and they want to be entertained by things, or when they want to learn about things that they're passioned about. We're in the coffee space, and we find that people are just extremely passionate and always looking either for coffee near them, or they want to learn more about how to brew things at home, and we want to be able to be that source to provide all that information even when they're not physically in one of our stores.


Allison Hartsoe: [04:36] I love that answer because it really gets to the heart of the person. You're not thinking product first and how can I display my product better? You're thinking about the person and when they might be inclined to think about coffee or have a need that's related to coffee that might not be a coffee or tea and might not be necessarily prompted by walking by a store. You must really love your customers.


Diane Le: [05:02] Absolutely, and I think on top of that, I find that I myself I'm always such a people pleaser see resume about my background earlier. And for me, while I love technology at my heart, I just love people. I love connecting with people, and I'm really fortunate that Coffee Bean, you know, we've been around since 1963 and our foundation of who we are as a company, we've always been about that human experience, that human connection and just making that moment and that connection with people. And that's very much who coffee bean is. That's very much who I am like Diane is a core person. And the wonderful thing about technology is there are so many ways for you to recreate that human experience, that human touch using technology and all of this information you know about people. For me, that's really what drives great customer experience, and that's really what drives loyalty, is being able to know about the person, and then just create a great connection for that person individually utilizing technology.


Allison Hartsoe: [06:00] Oh that's fantastic. Let's talk about some examples, cause you mentioned mobile, and you've mentioned contents. So what are some ways that people should be thinking about connecting at a human level with their customer? Perhaps through the mobile phone.


Diane Le: [06:17] Yeah, so for us, when you start familiar with the rewards APP. It's an app where you come into our stores, and you can scan your phone, and it gives you rewards for what you're purchasing. So wonderful thing as a marketer is that by customers doing that, they're sharing with you what they've purchased, they're sharing with you their customization, what types of drinks they like. They're sharing all of this different information with you. And where you're able to do is what are there in your stores are offline. You're able to know your customers and then create great messaging and experiences around them. So for example, I know when someone's coming a lot, and I know when they're very avid customers of ours, so one really fun thing that we did last year when we were having our annual conference, our theme was guest is best because we really are as a company, just very guest is best. And we thought it would be so much fun to connect with our top customers and hear from them what they really like about our brand, what they think about our brand.


Diane Le: [07:14] And then we wanted to show them around our company and just reward our best customers with a very personalized experience, their brand. And we would have been able to do that if we didn't have a loyalty program in a mobile experience where which they know who they are, but because we knew exactly who they were, how frequently they ever coming, and what their behavior was, we were able to look at our program and say, you know what? Let's make a great experience for our top customers. We contacted them, invited them into our corporate office in our stores, and they got a great tour of how our drinks are made in a behind the scenes look at everything. And this wasn't an opportunity that costs nothing. You could even sign up for it. You could even request it. But it was just a great way for us to go and connect with our customers, give them an amazing experience. They won't forget. And it was so cute and so exciting to see them come in. They were so excited to connect with the brand, and they're taking pictures all around the office.


Allison Hartsoe: [08:05] Oh my gosh!


Diane Le: [08:06] And we were just so excited to have them. And this is the stuff that you're able to do well once you have for us like our loyalty program in place because you're able to know who your customers are, and then you're able to tailor these great customer experiences for them.


Allison Hartsoe: [08:18] Yeah. I wanna pick up on something that's underneath what you're talking about which is the fact that you're not creating a bigger discount for your most loyal customers. You're really creating an emotional connection through that exceptional experience. And I don't mean exceptional experience as in they walk into the store and the recognize, but through this ability to see behind the scenes. That emotional connection has got to be very sticky.


Diane Le: [08:45] Absolutely. We are always working on how we can make it even better, but it was really interesting. So on the topic of discounts and loyalty, right now I think a lot of people who are running loyalty programs with constant discounts and constant offers and that's the way you get people back in. But we actually did a test campaign a little while ago where we first just separate that are groups of people our loyalty program, and we just sent them messaging that was tailored to this stuff that they like, there was no discount attached to it. We just wanted to say, hey, if we just send you highly personalized messaging, knowing based off of what we know about you, could we get people to come in, and could we get bigger open rates, and can we get more foot traffic and transactions from those people based off of just great personalized messaging, and then after that, for those who did not come in, then we went ahead and tested out a number of different offers to see what was convert them, and we were shocked when the results came back in.


Diane Le: [09:39] But just some personalized messaging alone, utilizing their names, showing creative, showing categories of products they really like and making sure it's sent at a time that they would normally open it. We got something like 30 40%, I have to go back the most exact numbers, but it was a significant amount of conversions just from showing personalized experiences, and I think that alone, no discounts. We always send out messages, but when we personalize it like that, we get significantly more traffic. And I think again that just goes to show it's really about customer experience. So I was so happy with that test. I think it goes back to kind of what the core of any good customer-centric businesses. I was looking through our coffee bean handbook, which is written back in the fifties and sixties when the coffee bean was born, long before there was any technology, and in even in the hands up, they were talking about when a customer comes in you want to be able to spend a lot of time with them getting to know what their customer tastes are, and what they like, and what flavors they like, and then you recommend that.


Diane Le: [10:41] And that's what good business is all about. And I'm laughing because now we're in 2019 it's exactly the same thing. We spend our time through technology, through our loyalty program, through all these different data points to know exactly who our customers are, and then once you know who they are and what they like and what their price point is, and how frequently they come in, you can then make the same recommendations at that Barista made back in the fifties and sixties we're making it now, but we're just making it through digital channels, and at the core of it that's what good customer experience has always been and what it still is.


Allison Hartsoe: [11:13] That is perfect. It is right on the mark. When we talked about customer centricity, particularly with Pete Fader from Wharton, I think he actually says this in his first book, he talks about how it really is that kind of hometown feel, that local shop service that you're trying to replicate at scale, and Diane, your example here is actually one of the first examples where I have actually heard someone make that connection, and and say, yes, it is exactly what we're trying to do is connect with people, not just like, I sometimes think the word customer experience is a little bit watered down because it can mean so much. It's beyond customer experience. It's like customer's heart.


Diane Le: [11:56] Completely, I completely agree with you. I think customer experience, many people use that and you know, that could just mean how the customer interacts in their in there, but when they're in your store interacting with your brand somehow, it really is so much more than that. It's about this deep desire as a brand to know who that person is and she to want to resonate with them, to want to make an emotional connection with them, I mean it was so funny. So we actually just had April fool's recently passed, and I oversee all of our channels, and in talking about connecting with the customers. I happen to know that our customers love our ice, which is random. It's not a stat that we track drew any of our consumer experiences, but I know from hearing from the customers and spending a lot of time with customers, our customers are obsessed with the texture of our ice.


Diane Le: [12:42] Ummm. Yeah. It's very funny. But these are the things whereas a marketer you want to have a pulse on even as they're not metrics, but you charge for, you don't charge for special ice, but I just have to know that our customers love it. So we did the full April fool's joke where we spend on social media that we were changing our ice over to if normal ice cube using ice cube trays. And I've never seen so many customers go up in arms about how upset they were that our ice was being changed. And then a few people called out that I can't believe there were this much passion over.


Diane Le: [13:16] And that was one of our most successful social media posts to date. Like it just got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of comments. People being very cashed in people tagging one another about it, and they're just so passionate about this thing. But when you're in touch with your customer and you care about what your customer thinks beyond just sales metrics, and beyond just category metrics, then you get to know these really great things, and that's when you're able to create these moments with them. That's what we're able to joke about these things with them because we know our customers beyond just the regular KPIs and I think other businesses track.


Allison Hartsoe: [13:47] Yeah, I love that because it's like your saying when you really get to know your customers like getting to know a person well enough that you can tease them. That's fantastic. I wanna go back to the deep desire to know who they are and to make an emotional connection. Is that emotional connection that you're you're seeking? Is it for the purpose of really understanding what's the right product to give them or is it for the purpose of understanding how the business can be of service to them of which the product is maybe part of that?


Diane Le: [14:23] Definitely the latter, a part of it. Like you'd certainly want to know what your customers are buying, and you want to know what they're doing, but this sees of into the overarching category of figuring out how you can service your customers. For example, I know that people, I know what our sales mix is of certain coffee products versus tea, but it's not always about just showing people are discounting this particular, I'll just give an example. So our French roast coffee is one of the most popular coffees. I think the easy route to go is just to continuous enough messaging with French roast, French roast, French roast, you know this count on French roast come on and on French roast. But I think when you're looking at through a different lens of the customer's heart and who the person is, then the way that we changed our messaging, we now have this multichannel approach across our digital.


Diane Le: [15:11] Our different properties bring a lot more heart and life into what makes up our French roast. So even though it doesn't directly lead to sales immediately and it's on a direct conversion channel, we write blog posts about the origin and about the people who've made that product, and then we'll go ahead and make a video. It's on five different ways that you can brew this and how to brew the Perfect Cup at home and walking people through step by step on. You know, if you want to make it a little bit stronger, a little more acidic, you can do this type of brewing method or if you want to make a little lighter, if you don't want to take as long to brew and to physically stand there and do something as complicated as like a pourover, then we have some other really simple ways for you to brew this and all of that.


Diane Le: [15:51] All of that content, which is time-consuming to make and it's expensive to make all of this content for us, we believe that sharing that type of content enhances the customer experience. It's not just about the discount. It's about bringing the life and connecting with people across the channel. Yeah, when we talked about customer experience, that's what it's about. Like I need to know what they're buying so we know what to center this around, but once we know what that is, it's so much more than just pushing a discount on one product. It's bringing this product in the license, connecting it to people in a way that emotionally connects with them. Whether that's through combining our product with organizations that we partner with. We're soon going to be partnering with local first responders, firefighters and police officers who had helped with the local southern California fires.


Allison Hartsoe: [16:34] Fantastic!


Diane Le: [16:36] Yeah, we're very excited for that. So whether it's connecting through that method or just connecting them with the people who grow their products, like we are vertically source so, we have connections directly with all of the farmers who make it. We know we want to bring our product to layer all of these channels, and we know that our customers care about these causes, about these social causes and the math these people causes, and we want to be able to through digital channels, show them all of this and connect with them with all of this.


Allison Hartsoe: [17:02] So in a way, when you're bringing the brand to life, you're also bringing little customers into that brand life along the way. Would that be fair to say? Like the more I love your brand story, the more I get deeply engaged with it. Have a great customer experience and as a byproduct almost drive loyalty.


Diane Le: [17:22] Absolutely. Our loyalty program and our loyalty customers are our most valuable customers, and we're constantly looking at ways we can give them new perks for them to connect with the brand. For example, I was in a meeting yesterday, and we are going to be doing like any company, we update our APP, and we have a really exciting update that will be coming soon, and we were talking about how we can first, you know, do you sneak peaks with just our loyalty customers and how we can give them that. Again, non-monetary tangible reward of connecting with the brand. We want to give them first access to able to look at it and give us feedback in tech with them directly. So we're always looking for these little perks, or we're doing some really fun activations that are coming up soon, and we're looking at how we can give our loyalty members first access to all of this. So we're constantly looking at ways to build in these really soft benefits that aren't tied directly with immediate discount, or they aren't tied directly with, you know, come on in and buy this, but there are just ways to really create great customer experience and really create that great customer connection and really reward our most loyal customers with that.


Allison Hartsoe: [18:28] You're making me want to go and download the APP and start, you know, searching all my purchases through it.


Diane Le: [18:35] You really said it a great place to go. It's a great experience we're constantly working on making it even better. Again, at the heart of our company, we care very much about who our customers are, and I think these are all ways that we're trying to show them how much we care and how we're setting our program apart from a lot of the other programs that are out there.


Allison Hartsoe: [18:53] Now, would it be fair to say that because you handle all things digital? We've talked a lot about the mobile APP. People don't necessarily use the APP. They just come into the store and purchase. Is part of your role to understand the connection between online and offline?


Diane Le: [19:08] Absolutely. We want to meet people at whatever level they're comfortable with. For us, they'll suppress. We actually know our customers really, really like mobile apps, and I think in mobile apps may not be right for every brand. So again, you want to look at your customer's behavior first to see what makes sense and what touch points you should connect with their customers. So for us as a coffee company, our guests we know are always on the go that they typically come in, and they request their coffee to go, and then they leave because they're moving from one place to another. So because they are moving from one place to another, it really made sense for us to push a mobile app as our method of connecting with people because we know that's our natural customer's behavior. If you're say something like an eCommerce store, it may or may not make sense for you based off of whatever your customers naturally do.


Diane Le: [19:53] So maybe if you're an eCommerce store where customers, maybe you only make a purchase once a year and it's a really big-ticket purchase, it may not make sense for you to have a mobile app. But for us, again, we're always looking at the customer experience. We look at our customers, and we know that our customers come on the go are usually commuting from one place to another, and they're actually always on their phones. You even see it if they're in our stores and when everyone's in line, everyone I, it's very rare to find anyone who's not on their phones. So we saw that as a very natural connection to our customers because we know that's their natural behavior anyway, so because it's on there, and I made a lot more sense for us to put our loyalty programs through the Mobile App, but certainly there's a lot of other ways for a lot of other companies that they could connect with their customers. I would just say, look at what your question behaviorists see what makes the most sense in it's most natural for your customer and then insert yourself at that touch point.


Allison Hartsoe: [20:41] So, really building loyalty around your customer's behavior first instead of just trying to throw out a bunch of coupons and get people back into a physical store, look at how or why they are interacting with your brand and then put your triggers around that.


Diane Le: [20:56] Precisely. And for us, it's not all of our customers that go through the loyalty app, for example, some customers they don't want to connect their APP, but they love hopping on our wifi. So because like I get to oversee it, the digital, we also make sure that when you connect to our wifi, we give you the option to opt in to special information and offers through our email program. And a lot of customers will sign up via that channel and maybe not through our mobile APP. So we certainly offer them opportunities to connect with us in a variety of areas.


Allison Hartsoe: [21:25] Oh, that's fantastic. So does that also then help you if they're connecting with Wifi, and maybe there are other methods too, but does that help you understand when somebody is back in the store and they're on the Wifi, again and again, it's giving you a clear signal that hey, this person is specifically back. Whereas if they just come in and don't connect, you don't have any digital signal at all. Can you pick up anything about who they are and if they're a loyal customer or is that a blind spot still?


Diane Le: [21:56] We don't store our wifi because wifi requires that people have to log in before they can use your wifi, looking at customer experience we didn't want that to be a hindrance for people, so we don't track that information through our Wifi. We do have other methods in which we track whether someone is coming back or not. Even if they're not necessarily in our loyalty program, so we use different tracking programs and one of the big ones in the restaurants they called marketing vitals, and we use that, and they help us through their networks of apps and beacons track whether someone is returning back. We also use Google store visits, which is a fantastic tool. I was recently rolled out by Google, it's still in Beta program, but if you qualify, meaning you're a brand that has enough stores, may have enough data to ensure like in 99% plus accuracy, then you can actually go in and track your store visits that way as well.


Diane Le: [22:45] We recently got access to that last year and it's been such a game changer because for those in the digital space, particularly if you have retail locations, it's pretty much every marketer's during right now to figure out how you can track this online to offline conversion, and for us Google analytics and their store visits metric has been so helpful because we're now actually able to see based off of an email that we send out, whether you're inner loyalty program, where you're not, how many people come and visit our stores off of that, we're able to see what the impact of SEO and content is. We're able to see how many people come to our website and look at our store locator and then ended up in our stores based off that. So that's been an extremely useful tool. If you are, your brand qualifies, it's actually free. You don't have to pay and it all for it, and it's just a great metric, and it's one that our team is very excited about.


Allison Hartsoe: [23:34] Wow. That's a fantastic insight. I know a lot of people would just kill for that because it's so hard to make that connection especially if you don't want to be creepy about it, you know you don't want to be like, oh we're tracking you now that you've walked into the store, you want a more natural way to do it. And that sounds like a great bridge.


Diane Le: [23:51] Yeah, it really, really is. And of course we're always looking, it doesn't capture all data cause you have to be able to, again, opt in to the services that Google has in order to look at that. But it's certainly a great, great source to begin with. And then we're constantly looking at other ways that we can get information without, as you were saying, like that creepy factor. So again, people are constantly connected in there, more and more opportunities to opt in. So we're always exploring new ways for us to connect with customers, and how we can track who they are and where they are even if they're not necessarily, again, in our loyalty program.


Allison Hartsoe: [24:26] Do you think there's a generational difference between people who are more likely to become part of your loyalty program because they see an immediate benefit about or they suspect that there could be some immediate benefits versus people who maybe are more resistant to giving away information, and really have to be kind of wooed into it? Do you see a generational difference?


Diane Le: [24:50] I thought so, so when you begin this program, my thought was the younger millennials and Gen z would be all about this, and then maybe our customer base or Kudos, we tend to skew a little bit older would be a little more resistant to this, but looking at our data, actually our loyalty program, demographics and even our digital demographics was a whole, even on social media, which tends to skew a little bit younger, it actually matches up very well with our customer base, which makes me thrilled because that means that those who, for those who are a little bit older or who may not be as tech-savvy, they're still seeing so much value in this, or they're adapting to it, and the demographics for our loyalty program fits our customer profiles almost exactly. So I don't think it's as much a generational gap. I certainly know that when you look at just personalities and different people types, there are certainly people who don't like to share as much information, but we're finding for us our loyalty program as a whole, it's growing by double digits. It's growing significantly year over year. We're not hearing as much of an issue right now it's 2019 I think more and more companies are gathering this information, so people are becoming more comfortable with it versus say like five years ago it would have been a different story.


Allison Hartsoe: [26:10] Uhuh, yeah definitely, and seems like you are on the forefront of loyalty and really understanding what's driving loyalty. Are there new ways that you're thinking about how to serve the customer beyond the mobile app as well, maybe into other devices or other ways of helping people?


Diane Le: [26:25] Absolutely. So we're always testing and trying to see what resonates most of their customers. So right now, for example, we recently announced that we are working with connected travel who is a travel provider in cars, and they provide you a way of ordering your drink and preordering your drink from your car. So again, a lot of our customers are on their way. They're constantly driving and are driving to us. So it seemed like such a natural fit to talk with. We're still rolling out, they're still working on it, but it has been announced a, seemed like such a natural fit to allow people to talk in their cars, hands-free and say, hey, place my order. I want my latte. And it automatically takes care of everything. So while you're driving, you tell your car that, you show up at our stories and come pick up, and you can go, and you're back in your car and ready to go. So we're constantly looking at new ways for us to connect with our customers. But the filter in which we look at that is always what is our customers' behavior has to make their lives better. So for us, again, you know, we know people are on the go. We know people are in their cars. This seemed like a natural fit. But we're always looking at new opportunities for us to service our customers.


Allison Hartsoe: [27:29] Oh I love that because it's not just customer lead, but you're really listening and deeply thinking almost ahead of the customer to think about, well, what would make their life more convenient? Here's the scenario of what they're doing. This is perfect. Congratulations. That's really innovative and smart to get ahead of not just what they want today, but what they will want tomorrow.


Diane Le: [27:51] Yes, thank you. We're very excited, and I think there's just going to be more and more opportunities as technology evolves and it's evolving so quickly now, there are more and more opportunities for just create customer experiences and again, I think that's my filter, and that's my north star. It's hard when you're overseeing marketing, and you're overseeing all of these new channels that taught that day in and day out, and you're trying to figure out how does my brand sit within all of this? I always say my north star is, if you were to take away the technology, what is a great customer experience? Now looking at that filter of great customer experience, what are customers, who are customers are and what they want? Does the technology fit in there and there are some things? I get pitched a lot of different things each day, and there's a lot of things that I say, no, my customers would not want that or I would not even want that. As when I come in as a customer I would not want that and this technology does not fit within that. But then there, once I come by and I'm like, absolutely, that makes so much sense. So certainly like connected car travel and the ability to order from your car completely makes sense to me. And I think it makes a lot of sense to our customers. But there's definitely a lot of technologies that I looked, and I said this is not a great customer experience. Generally, they fall in the realm of this is just creepy, and add much value. So that's when I say no to a lot of things.


Allison Hartsoe: [29:13] Anything in particular that you want to call out like, oh my gosh, I can't believe somebody is pitching me this.


Diane Le: [29:18] Again, for us as a certainly see where there save cases in the other companies, so take everything I say with a grain of salt, but there was one that pitched to us, and they have the ability to do facial recognition as soon as he walked to the store. So they were like, oh we can. It was one of the things that someone wears wearable technology for our Barista, and they were like, oh, as soon as they walk through the store, you're going to be able to facial recognize who this person is, and you can tell them what their drink is ahead of time. And I was like, that's crazy. If I've only come in one time, you may like you may have the technology to know exactly what I ordered, and when I came in six months ago, but I know you don't know me, you know you don't know me, and I for me, I think that's right now at this point in time that's a little too creepy. And I think more customers returned off by it than not, if you know, would that be weird if all of a sudden you walk into a place that you haven't walked in for a year, and they are like facially recognizing you, and they're telling me what you last ordered like however long ago and your name and everything about it. I think that's weird.


Allison Hartsoe: [30:17] Yeah, it takes away choice, and I guess as humans, we always want to believe that we have a choice to make a left turn on our decision. Even if we are fairly predictable and fairly similar in a variety of ways.


Diane Le: [30:29] Yeah, and I mean, I'm so a little wary to that by facial recognition, that is not securely based. Yeah, I still get, I personally still, am a little wary to that by all the different news cases of it, and I think for our brand and what they were pitching to us where it just does not make sense. I certainly again seeing use cases for security-related items or there are great use cases just for our brand that does not make sense, not definitely not right. And again, I'm always just saying would I as the customer appreciate this? If not, then that's a no.


Allison Hartsoe: [30:59] Yeah, yeah in a sense, you are customer number one, your the only, your own best customer. Excellent. Let's say that I'm convinced and I really want to try to move forward with my customer loyalty program, help me understand what I should do first, second, third, what's, what's a great way to start?


Diane Le: [31:21] Great question. So if you want to start off with loyalty, first to see, right now loyalty is kind of a hot space, and everybody is coming out with a loyalty program. I personally think loyalty program work really well for customers who buy things on a frequent basis. So, for example, I don't necessarily know if real estate companies, for example, if you're going to be buying a house, you're not going to be doing it a ton of time. So it probably doesn't make sense for someone in that space to have a loyalty program. And that's an extreme example. But I think first I would look and see what are you trying to achieve with this loyalty program. If you're trying to get a more sales and transactions, I would definitely look at your customers to see there's a loyalty program makes sense based off of how frequently people come into your store.


Diane Le: [32:06] Because a loyalty program takes a lot to keep it. It's loyalty. So people are expecting, you know, kind of they're expecting the best customer experience, and if you don't have the time, effort or resources to put into that, it may or may not make sense for you at first. There may be other ways for you to drive and meet those goals without a loyalty program. So that's my first caveat. Just make sure you evaluate your business to see does a loyalty program actually makes sense for you. Once you do that, then you kind of have to figure out what different structure looks like. And again, there's a lot of data that kind of goes into what do your customers want for us. We did a lot of research prior to launching our program. We actually partnered with a consulting company, and we talked with a lot of customers.


Diane Le: [32:49] We did a ton of surveys, and we spent so much time, we spent months trying to figure out what our customers are wanting. We actually launched a Beta program, so prior to launching the actual coffee bean rewards, we actually had a test loyalty program, and that was kind of our MVP. It was built on a different platform, and we rolled it out to just a handful of stores to kind of see what our customers were doing and what they liked about and didn't like about it. And based off of that data we went ahead and build as the full experience as you see it now. And for us, it was really important because it means that data to know what our customers wanting. What is the right point to kind of send our program around? How do we connect this information with all the other information that we have?


Diane Le: [33:30] What was the right channel for us to give it? Initially our last, when we first started doing this, everyone was saying you can't do mobile, only dumped, do mobile only. You need to have a punch card for people. You need to be able to have a phone number for people. You need to be able to have all these different things. And it took a lot of time for us to look and say, here's what makes sense, here's what we're leaning toward. And we've definitely took some risks when we did this by saying it's only going to be available, automobile app going to be available. You can only check in using a scan. You have it open. But I mean when we planned this, this was three, four years ago when we had to look future facing. And I would recommend for anyone who's looking at this, look at how much time it's gonna take for you to roll it out and then think forward. And then from there, set your KPIs and track them and measure them, and I highly recommend that aside from just the transaction in sales inflammation, one of your KPIs should be guest affinity, however you want to measure this, so whether it's net promoter score, whether it we gather all of our feedback from our guests, we look at reviews, we look at a number of the metrics, the guests affinity is certainly one of ours because we want to make sure ultimately for us that we're creating great customer experience, and that break customer experiences driving sales.


Allison Hartsoe: [34:42] Yeah. Ultimately that your loyalty program is making people happier and more satisfied, not that it's having an adverse effect.


Diane Le: [34:49] Correct, and that ultimately I know for all the shareholders that are not as marketing or branding days. Certainly we have a lot of research, and we have our data shows that ultimately great customer experiences lead to more sales. We are just making sure that everyone's aligned on the strategy and making sure that you have your metrics in place.


Allison Hartsoe: [35:08] Those are great takeaways. And I really appreciate you spending time on the show. If people want to get in touch with you, how should they reach you?


Diane Le: [35:16] Yeah, they can certainly find me on LinkedIn. So you can look me itsDianeLe at the coffee bean and tea leaf. Feel free to connect with me there. You can also connect with me on Twitter. My handle is missdianele with one e.


Allison Hartsoe: [35:31] Dianele, one e in diane and one e in le, exactly. And then is there a promo code you'd like to share for the APP?


Diane Le: [35:36] Yeah, so actually for right now, for anyone who wants to try it and sign up for the APP, you actually get a free coffee or tea, and you can choose whether coffee, you can choose whether tea hot or ice when you sign up for the apps. So you actually don't have, you even see a promo code for right now. If you download the APP, as soon as you make your first purchase, we're actually going to give you a free coffee and tea. And then you also get 20 points, which is about halfway through the year to your first reward. So it will be a long round super, super long time. And I don't have the exact expiration date, but if you download the APP now, there's a ton of perks that are coming with it.


Allison Hartsoe: [36:10] Oh, I love it. I'm going to do that.


Diane Le: [36:13] Definitely! Go give it a try and give me any feedback if you had it, and this goes for anybody. If you guys have feedback, certainly let me know. I love hearing from everybody, and I think again as a marketer, the more you listen to people, I think the better your products become. So do you have any feedback or anybody here has any feedback, reach out to me and let me know.


Allison Hartsoe: [36:30] Absolutely. That's fantastic. As always, links to everything we discussed slash podcast. Diane, thank you so much for joining us today.


Diane Le: [36:40] Thank you for having me. It was so great to talk with you.


Allison Hartsoe: [36:43] Yeah, I really like a lot of your insights. You're really right on the mark in terms of where the business should be thinking, and so just congratulations for that, and keep doing what you're doing. Keep that customer at the heart of your business because that's so hard for many businesses to do. They kind of get separated and distance grew or charts or through maybe misalignment in a variety of ways. So the fact that you guys have it dialed in is a real credit to your company. So thank you for sharing the insights and some of the ways that you're doing that on the show. Remember everyone, when you use your data effectively, you can build customer equity. It is not magic. It's just a very specific journey that you can follow like Diane to get results.


Allison Hartsoe: [37:30] Thank you for joining today's show. This is your host, Allison Hartsoe, and I have two gifts for you. First, I've written a guide for the customer centric Cmo, which contains some of the best ideas from this podcast, and you can receive it right now. Simply text, ambitiondata, one word to, three, one, nine, nine, six, (31996) and after you get that white paper, you'll have the option for the second gift, which is to receive The Signal. Once a month. I put together a list of three to five things I've seen that represent customer equity signal not noise, and believe me, there's a lot of noise out there. Things I include could be smart tools. I've run across, articles I've shared cool statistics, or people and companies I think are making amazing progress as they build customer equity. I hope you enjoy the CMO guide and The Signal. See you next week on the Customer Equity Accelerator.


Key Concepts:  Customer Lifetime Value, Marketing, Digital Data, Customer Centricity, Long-Term Customer Value, Marketing Leaders, Analytics, Creativity, Product Development, Audience Research

Who Should Listen:  CAOs, CCOs, CSOs, CDOs, Digital Marketers, Business Analysts, C-suite professionals, Entrepreneurs, eCommerce, Data Scientists, Analysts, CMOs, Customer Insights Leaders, CX Analysts, Data Services Leaders, Data Insights Leaders, SVPs or VPs of Marketing or Digital Marketing, SVPs or VPs of Customer Success, Customer Advocates, Product Managers, Product Developers

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