3 Lessons in Customer Engagement from Dunkin Donuts

3 Lessons in Customer Engagement from Dunkin Donuts

I’m a regular visitor at my local Dunkin’ Donuts shop. I know the product inventory well enough not to get hooked on any specialty coffee flavor, like Irish Crème, or a decadent heart shaped glazed donut because they are considered “limited availability” items and arrive based on an upcoming season or holiday.

When I’m at the register, I’m thinking that this company really “gets me.” They know me as a customer, they know how to keep me, and they’ve done something smart to get me to keep coming back. So what is IT that they’re doing? Read on.

Here are three ways that Dunkin’ keeps me hooked, something that each and every one of us can use in our organizational life as we think about customer engagement.

1. Think “Cross Promotion” – Double your outreach efforts. This past summer, Dunkin Donuts teamed up with its “sweet” sister-brand, Baskin Robbins (31 flavors), to offer ice cream flavorings for the coffee: Jamoca Almond Fudge, Butter Pecan and Cookie Dough. Who doesn’t love these decadent flavors of ice cream? If you are craving something sweet and cold, it could be ice cream, it could be an iced coffee, or it could be a blend of the two! These flavorings are delicious in iced coffee. Simply divine! So ask yourself if your organization could benefit from joining forces with another group or company with a similar customer base. A partnership could help you double your ability to outreach, extend the impact of your efforts to promote a program, engage, even increase participation rates or dollars raised!

2. Come back for a refill! Let it not be just a one-time purchase. Several choices await you on the “merchandise” rack: an insulated travel mug, specialty flavor k-cups, gift cards, and other non-readily-consumed items. While these heavily branded items are perfect take-aways from your visit, they serve a greater purpose. Repeat engagement. Often, with promotional items, if you bring your refillable mug back, you will earn a small discount on your refill order. Pick up a DD Card, and earn points for every dollar you spend when you pay through the DD Perks program. Other perks include a free drink when you join, free drink on your birthday, and rewards at every 200 point interval! Your organization should be forward thinking, using merchandise to engage your community, clients, and donors, but with a secondary purpose in mind. For example, a travel mug, or any company “give away” item can be seen as a metaphor for a “one shot deal.” Instead of letting the relationship develop with the product, use the product to continue the relationship. Engage your customer in repeat connections. Reward loyalty with opportunities to learn more about your company and its mission. Get customers to come back for the “refill.” When appropriate you might consider including coupons offering a free class, workshop; or an offer for a free consultation. Your thoughtful efforts will go a long way toward furthering an individual’s connection with your organization.

3. Get to know your people! A Customized Approach. I see the customers in front of me in line who order their daily coffee with three or more sweetener packets and extra cream, and those who take their coffee black, with double sugar, and a straw. If you’ve ever arrived at the register to have your drink already prepared for you, then you know, the staff is acknowledging how well they know you! Every organization has a mission that addresses the needs of a population. Engage your donors in the part of the mission that speaks to them. Is it environmental? Gender specific? Social, cultural or artistic? Listen carefully. Observe their donation patterns, event attendance, then use the data to guide your client and your customer engagement levels.

So whether it’s a quick cup of hot coffee, or an easy, flavored ice-brew, maybe you too are getting more than just a delicious beverage. Did yours come with any customer engagement lessons today? If so, how will you use them to make a difference to engage your customers and future clients?

Photo credit: Dunkin Donuts


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