I've written in the past about Curves, a very interesting franchise operation. They've done some brilliant marketing in the past, and the very concept of the operation is a great example of building a service offering for an under-served market segment. I used to be a member of the local operation, but now I'm at a competitor around the corner.
I drifted away in a familiar pattern. Not going very often. Then even less often. Not knowing the staff anymore. And they didn't recognize me either. Finally, it just seemed like a pointless waste of money to keep a membership going that only made me feel guilty and wasn't making me any fitter.
Now they want me back.
A letter showed up at the house a few weeks ago. [And is now part of my collection of good, bad, and ugly customer experience stuff.]
"Dear Past Curves Member" it starts out. A harbinger of the tone of the rest of the letter.
The signature is photocopied.
You know, it's totally possible that they had a few hundred past members they wanted to send mail to. But instead of hand-writing the envelope address, they should really have personalized the inside, and signed each letter.
And their offers kind of left me lukewarm. I can avoid the service fee if I bring in something for the Sick Kids Toy Drive "minimum value $30".
I saw "ONE FREE MONTH", but then read that it's a draw for one free month, and I'm only entered if I bring a friend who also joins. When you are trying to re-engage someone who was a customer, offering a genuine enticement is a good idea. This doesn't really cut it.
This offer was only made available for two days. That's right folks, they're on a tight schedule. They want you back, they want you to buy and bring a $30 toy, they want you to bring a friend and get them to sign up, but you need to do it on two specific days.
Here's the best part: "Appointments will be limited".
Imagine putting all these things together, the toy and the friend and all, and convincing the friend that even though you dumped the membership, we should all just go back because they've repainted or something. Then making the call and being told, 'sorry, we don't have any more appointments during this offer period. We'd love to have you come in at full price next week."
If you want your former customers to take a chance on you again, you need to offer solid incentives. No catches. No gotchas.
If you are a neighborhood operation, as Curves is, you should really make the offer as personal as possible. Signing the letter personally is a good idea. So is personalizing with the customer's name. Definitely do not call me "former customer".
I've written about Curves before. I had to finally close out the comments because the Curves nation was starting to take over the blog.
Making tradeoffs in customer experience design: CurvesSmart, and what it means for the Curves experience. CustomerCrossroads Blog, October 9, 2007
Designing experiences: Prototype, pilot, tweak and adjust. CustomerCrossroads Blog, October 17, 2007
Qualitative research in segmentation: why you need it and how to get value. Slides on Slideshare of a presentation I gave. Curves was in the "good" examples section.
Was the CurvesSmart Program a Smart Choice, November, 2008,on the Leximancer Blog references my earlier posts, and uses their analysis tool on some Curves comment data. Sadly, they got me confused with some other Susan and got the attribution wrong. Such is life in the blog-o-sphere. Their article is interesting all the same, and an example of what can be done with some of the new text analysis tools available.