3/24/09: Talking Trust + Loyalty with Fred Elsberry of the BBB and Marc Ellis of Thanks Again

Fred Elsberry of the Better Business Bureau joined us this morning to talk about trust, honesty, and integrity which are more important now than ever before especially for small businesses. Whereas big companies often don’t put as much stock in developing that type of relationship with their consumers, it’s no less important but it doesn’t affect them as much. However, for small businesses, it’s a life or death scenario. If your customers don’t trust you because you haven’t been honest, you will feel it in your bottom line. The Better Business Bureau plays a key role in supporting that relationship. Each of their member companies are accredited by a very careful selection process. Rest assured that if you are doing business with a highly-rated BBB company, you will most likely have a satisfactory experience. And, as a merchant or business, this is a great badge of honor to be one of the 3,500 or so companies out of the 150,000 in the Atlanta Metro area to be listed as a Better Business Bureau accredited company.

Marc Ellis, of Thanks Again, came on GFR to discuss customer loyalty. He says the economy doesn’t really scare him because what they are seeing is that because consumers are more discerning, they are flocking to businesses that offer them incentives beyond the typical discounts. In fact, even if the monetary value of a discount and a reward is different, there is more perceived value in the reward (airline miles, gift cards, charitable donations) because they are aspirational goals. People will frequent a merchant more because of that customer loyalty program because they are working toward something such as a free trip. Thanks Again offers a great service to both the consumer (enrollment is free!) and the merchant by saving everyone money. At the same time, however, they are the conduit for a great relationship between a company and its customers. He also credit social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) for helping business owners listen and respond more quickly to their customers’ wants and needs.

Great show today! Thanks to both our guests. Have a stellar week and we’ll see you next Tuesday at 10am!

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