Delivering world-class experiences on a consistent basis isn’t easy — especially when you’re managing multiple locations. However, businesses that are able to go above and beyond customer expectations see higher loyalty, higher overall star rating, and higher revenue.
To find out how multi-location businesses can delight customers consistently, we decided to sit down with Amberlee Maya, Director of Marketing at Rent King. We heard some of her secrets to designing a fantastic customer journey across every business location.
Can you tell us about Rent King?
Rent King is a leading retailer in the mattress and furniture space. We are based in Central Florida and currently have 18 locations.
You are currently working as the Director of Marketing for both brands. Can you tell us what your work entails?
Currently, I am a one-woman marketing team. So I manage all things marketing and take care of a lot of the technical issues that arise as well. I work directly with our CRM and social media ad companies. I respond to our reviews myself, manage our print and digital campaign creation and implementation, social media content creation, email marketing. It’s a busy job.
Do you mind breaking down some of the biggest challenges facing the retail industry for our readers who might not be aware?
There’s been significant disruption in the supply chain due to COVID-19. In addition, we’ve seen a notable increase in demand since consumers are spending more time at home. The result is that across the industry, we’ve seen delays when it comes to actually receiving products.
Ok, so now let’s take some time to understand what your customers’ journey typically looks like. How do you typically acquire new customers?
Google is a big source of new customers for us. We get a lot more qualified leads and a lot more conversions off of Google than we do on social media. I try to do everything I can to keep our website updated and make sure that it has all the information that Google needs. I also pay close attention to online reputation, because I know that Google cares more about what other people say about Rent King than what we say about our brand.
What steps are you taking to provide great experiences in this initial discovery phase?
Our prospects should be able to find us on Google when they are looking for nearby furniture stores — so we need to make sure we are optimizing for search engines. I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to rank higher in search results is by continuously getting reviews from our current customers. These reviews often have specific keywords that we would like to rank for like ‘best furniture store’. This helps our store locations to show up in results when prospects search for those terms. As an added benefit, these reviews give prospects the assurance they need to move forward in their journey. It’s a win-win strategy.
A few months ago, we started soliciting reviews automatically with Birdeye. Almost immediately, we started seeing results. In just the first few weeks, we saw a 280% increase in our Google reviews. We started seeing a big SEO benefit as well. I saw that our average search position for our target keywords increased by around 11 positions since we’ve gotten started with Birdeye.
Once a customer discovers your business, it’s important to make it easy for them to reach out to you and get in contact with your team. How do you make it easier for them to do this?
We’ve just installed a website chat widget on our website. These will be managed by individual location managers who can answer questions from both customers and prospects in real-time. I strongly believe that this is a great way to deliver quick and convenient service to anyone who wishes to contact us.
How else are you communicating with your customers?
Right now, we’re communicating with our customers via mass text messaging. Texting is great not only because customers are so used to it, but it’s so easy for our team members to respond. They don’t need to sit behind a computer all day. They just can conveniently respond to customers through their cell phones.
Previously, the texting platform that we were using only could send text messages from one central number. Now with Birdeye, we can send mass texts from individual stores, so different locations can respond to only their own customers and don’t end up stealing customers from each other.
Earlier, you mentioned some of the supply chain issues you’re dealing with because of the pandemic. How are you ensuring that your team is setting the right expectations for customers?
Even with the supply chain issues the industry has faced, we haven’t seen any increase in negative reviews. We trained our employees so that they’re explaining to customers upfront that the products they purchased may not arrive tomorrow or even next week. It’s all about setting the right expectations as quickly as possible.
What steps are you taking to ensure that your existing customers are coming back year after year?
Our employees go out of their way to cultivate relationships with customers, asking questions like, “How was Susie’s dance recital?” or “How was Billy’s soccer game?” They build strong connections which you don’t get at most retail shops.
We also have a loyalty program where we offer customers what we call King Dollars. Every time they make an on-time payment, they get a King Dollar, which they can then use to either pay off the last payment on their product or towards a new agreement or a new product. It gives them an extra incentive to pay on time because they essentially get free money out of it.
I know that Rent King does a ton of events. How do these events help your team build stronger relationships with your customers?
It works like this: If we get a new manager at a store, we might do an ice cream social. It also functions as a kind of a meet and greet with the new manager, where we give them the opportunity to meet their customers and have a good time together.
We typically at most will do one event every other month. We have Christmas parties where we actually have Santa come into the store and have free pictures of the kids. It doesn’t have to be extravagant every time, but we’re making sure that it’s always fun.
In addition, we’ll do a VIP sale for our customers and offer the best deals that we have. Then, we offer an actual sit-down dinner and other red carpet events to make the customer feel special, which is not something they’re going to get from our competitors.
Does Rent King have any kind of referral program in place to get customers to spread the word to family and friends?
Referrals are big for our business. We have some of the stores that literally hang a twenty-dollar bill from the ceiling behind the counter. So customers say “Hey, what’s that?” Then, our employees explain that customers can get $20 in cash for every friend who opens up an account.
Previously, we were using a pen and paper system to manage our referrals. While we were getting good results, it’s difficult to track leads and make timely incentive payments when you’re using a system like that.
Birdeye makes managing a referral program significantly easier. Instead of having to keep track of all these different forms, you can see all your referrals in one place and make sure that incentives are paid out immediately.
Get started building a fantastic customer journey
Looking to get started building a fantastic customer journey across all touchpoints? Get started with Birdeye, the #1 Experience Marketing platform. Rent King is just one of the 60,000 brands that use Birdeye to turn customers into loyal brand advocates.