What happens when you merge social CRM, location based marketing, mobile marketing, loyalty rewards and targeted social marketing? The answer is Rockit – a new company whose goal is to prove to the world that managing customers in the new multichannel, multimedia world is far from “rocket science” (get it?).
The company provides a loyalty-enabled platform allowing customers to sign up for offers in categories of interest or by company and these companies can use the platform to track customer loyalty, communicate and push out special offers and incentives.
Lest you get this concept confused with daily deal type solutions which give deep discounts, the idea here is the exact opposite… It is to create a VIP program which appeals to your best customers and to get more people to become VIPs.
Once a customer is connected to a company they are able to instantly communicate with the organization regarding anything. Let’s say they had a burnt pizza come to their table – they can immediately launch the mobile app and send a verbal complaint to the company. The company can see immediately that a very loyal customer just had a poor experience and can respond with an offer, apology or whatever they need to do to keep this customer happy.
Founder and CEO of Rockit, Roger Toennis explained the platform is like a closed-loop Yelp with multimedia. He also told me it's like a modern social PBX. I met Roger a decade or so ago at a TMC conference – possibly ITEXPO or Planet PDA and soon thereafter he showed me a mobile VoIP app which worked with the Avaya PBX. He was working for the company at the time. It was really ahead of its time and Rockit seems to be as well.
Part of the goal of Rockit is to reduce the "too much information" problem customers are faced with today
Another interesting thing the app allows is the ability for customers to see how they rank in terms of their loyalty. It even lets them compete for the next tier. This is exactly what American Airlines did over the last few decades to engender massive amounts of loyalty with its customers and I can tell you from experience that customers will compete with each other and are proud to be Platinum or Gold members of their respective airline, hotel or rent-a-car company.
You can further use the system to send promotions to a subset of customers. Let’s say your top 20 most loyal or the 50 people who haven’t come into a retail location or visited the website this month.
Business consultants will tell you it costs eight times more to get a new customer than it does to keep one – and this is the sort of solution which is designed to keep customers loyal. Moreover, you can use it to encourage your most loyal customers to encourage their friends to become customers as well. To get their assistance, you can offer them something in return and as Roger says, there is a high likelihood the new customer will have similar age and demographics and could also end up becoming a loyal customer.
As Toennis explains, this solution is different than daily deal offers which erode prices by giving current customers the ability to pay less than they currently do. He goes on to say this gets customers used to paying less and they could soon start shopping for lower prices when they are ready to purchase again. He also doesn’t see location-based punch card services like Foursquare as serious solutions as he explains the intersection of people checking in and loyal customers is not that great.
He told me about all sorts of loyalty offers for top customers such as potentially allowing free voice and video calls as well as giving access to free music from local bands.
He also sees this solution as real social CRM – he equates companies who try to market via Twitter and Facebook as the equivalent of walking around with a sandwich board promoting their products while two potential customers are sitting and having lunch.
This doesn’t mean the platform doesn’t integrate with email, Twitter and Facebook – it does. The company doesn’t however provide a listening and analytics platform like Hootsuite.
We all know most small businesses don’t make it – he thinks this is the exact sort of differentiator they need to increase their chance at being successful. Moreover, it meets the expectations of today’s customer who wants to have online conversations, be social and get rewarded for their loyalty.
I downloaded the company’s app at rockit.me and after registering was able to get access to a variety of companies in Colorado (where the company is based.) The only challenge is if you register with Facebook on the web, you can’t login on your mobile device. I registered once through Facebook and again with a Rockit specific password so I could get my phone to login to my account. Once I selected the cities and companies I was interested in the iPhone app gave me different options and associated rewards/offers. But in this case the offers were points – not deep discounts.
The service is free for up to 50 loyal customers per year per location and premium services for more loyalty lists start at $199/month and max at $2,499 per month. Other paid features include a multi-location dashboard, advanced data analytics and custom social media integrations.
Will companies want to be associated on the same loyalty platform as their competition? The answer here is probably most companies won’t mind but a few paranoid entrepreneurs will avoid it. I believe they will do this at their own peril, especially if Rockit goes mainstream.
The company does have some big companies in Colorado backing them it is a huge world and going from regional to national is always a challenge.
The biggest problem the company has is the breadth of a solution it is providing. It is indeed an immense challenge merging social CRM, location based marketing, mobile marketing, loyalty rewards and targeted social marketing. But it does make sense as it brings the tried and true model of the American Airlines frequent flyer program to every business and moreover allows many small companies to leverage an extremely sophisticated, state-of-the art, social media integrated-marketing platform.
Although many separate disciplines have been integrated into Rockit the result is a clever and relatively simple interface. This solution has the potential to change the way many companies think about customer interactions.
I have invited Roger to speak at TMC’s Social CRM Expo Feb 1-3, 2012 in Miami, FL so be sure to visit him there.