Nutrisystem used to focus on acquisition.
But in 2014, it began shifting that focus to customer loyalty and retention. So, we caught up with Nutrisystem CMO Keira Krausz to talk about it.
Here’s how company officials have rethought customer engagement and customer loyalty.
Jim Tierney (Clarus): There is so much talk in the industry about rethinking loyalty these days. Many brands have done this in a variety of ways. Can you talk about how Nutrisystem has rethought loyalty?
Keira Krausz (Nutrisystem): Five years ago, Nutrisystem thought primarily about acquisition. We also had the benefit of having a customer-centric and mission driven culture, but loyalty per se was not a top focus. In 2014, we built a customer engagement team, and that enabled us to make engagement and loyalty a priority.
In the past few years, we’ve taken a number of steps to support our customer engagement goals:
- We instituted analytics so that we collect and analyze behavior and have a much more robust view of the customer. In addition, we are now predictive; we can anticipate customer behavior and adjust to drive loyalty.
- We revamped our apps. We have high engagement with NuMi and the South Beach Diet apps. Usage is at an all-time high. This allows us to understand our customers AND gives us many more opportunities to engage. For example, we have regular contests – so effective at helping people achieve their weight loss goals while having fun. We also can send personalized messages to each app user. So, two themes for the app – functionality and personalization.
- We invested in meaningful health and wellness content. Some common themes behind everything we do. We’re backed by science. We simplify the complex. We’re here to help. Our content sites – The Leaf and The Palm have evolved enormously. We have a large number of targeted newsletters, and readership continues to grow quickly. This allows us to deepen the relationship with our current customers and continue the conversation even when a customer decides to end a particular weight loss effort.
- We continued to invest in our counselors. We have arguably the best team of employee counselors in the business. They are not sales people; rather, they are there to support customers. Completely convenient; no appointments necessary, and available via phone, email, or chat, seven days a week. A higher percentage of our customers take advantage of this free service, and we believe it supports our mission to help as many people as possible lose weight and improve their health.
Jim: What is Nutrisystem’s philosophy when it comes to customer loyalty?
Keira: Our mission is to help people lose weight and maintain a healthy weight to live healthier, happier lives. That means we want to be there when you first choose one of our weight loss programs, support you through your weight loss journey, continue that relationship even if, at times, you do not need to buy anything from us, and be there for you should you need a “tune-up” in the future. And when someone asks you “what’s your secret,” we want you to share your secret! It’s us!
We believe that by providing excellent service, delivering on our brand’s promise of simple, easy-to-use programs and tools that lead to safe and healthy weight loss, and providing support, service, and opportunities to engage in ways that fit into your life, we build loyalty.
Jim: Can you talk about your customer engagement goals?
Keira: We have specific goals for increases in metrics that measure engagement. Some examples:
- Percentage and number of customers who download our apps, and then number of sessions and customer-driven interactions
- Contest participation
- Sessions, paid views and other metrics that indicate how well our content on The Leaf and The Palm is serving customers’ needs
- Open rates, click-thru, page views for e-newsletters
- Social media participation and engagement with our social media content
- Our speed for responses to social media enquiries and comments
- Tenet and tone of social media comments
- Number of counseling interactions and quality score for those interactions.
Jim: How are customers changing today and what behavioral changes have you seen in your customers in recent years?
Keira: A few things have been happening.
- Greater use of mobile
- Greater use of apps and digital over print materials
- More use of chat and other text-like features
Jim: How does Nutrisystem keep pace with ever-changing customer expectations?
Keira: We’ve invested in and focused on mobile, apps, digital content, and chat functionality.
Jim: Customer-centricity has been a buzzword in the loyalty industry for quite some time, but some brands deliver on that promise better than others. How does Nutrisystem ensure it keeps its customers at the center of everything it does?
Keira: Our company exists to serve customers and to help people become healthier. There is a powerful uniformity of culture and commitment at the company.
- In addition, we make sure that the customer’s viewpoint is front and center in three ways:
- Our Contact Center – Sales, Customer Retention, Customer Service, and Weight-Loss Counseling – is co-located and is an integral part of the team. They communicate every day with our customers, and we have structured ways to share candidly what they are hearing and learning with others across the company. Many product and program innovations and operational changes come from team members in the Contact Center.
- Customer Research – We consult constantly with potential and current customers via quantitative and qualitative research. The customer informs every decision we make.
- Analytics – We measure, analyze, and synthesize a vast amount of information to give us actionable insights and predict behavior.
It’s Never Too Late To Rethink Loyalty
Officials at Nutrisystem have shown that engagement is so pivotal in creating and retaining customer loyalty. Now they’re listening to their customers and creating an experience that is valuable to them.
By shifting its focus from acquisition to loyalty, Nutrisystem can deliver on its brand promise of helping its customers get healthy while engaging them in ways that fit into their lives. That’s how the company is building true loyalty.