Operations

Offbeat Promotions Illustrate Client Appreciation

LCT Staff
Posted on January 1, 2006

Having just entered its eleventh year of business, Suburban Livery in Wakefield, Mass., has mastered the art of catering to its clients. But despite their heavy workloads, owners Jim and Susanne Cotter who run the business themselves, say they’ve received so much in return. “People appreciate anything you do for them,” says Susanne. To show how much the Cotters value their clients, they have developed a variety of promotions with the customer in mind.

In fact, one of their most popular programs was created from a brief interaction Susanne had with a loyal client. That promotion, the Frequent Tire Miles program, allows customers to bank on their trips with Suburban by receiving one free trip after they travel 10 times with the company. Customers receive a small card, which is slightly bigger than a business card, to collect tire stamps for each one-way trip they take. After 10 stamps, clients can trade in their cards for a free one-way trip, or pool two cards together for a free roundtrip ride. Those interested can sign up for the program via Suburban Livery’s Web site.

With the success of the Frequent Tire Miles program, the Cotters have decided to expand the reward options. “We’re increasing the value of a full card from a one-way trip to include a night out,” says Jim. “So if clients wanted to have us take them to a restaurant in Boston, it’s swappable for a full card.” Customers can also receive a tire stamp if they refer their friends, relatives and co-workers to Suburban.

Another clever way the Cotters have promoted their business is by partnering with USA Phone Cards. Suburban has distributed about 1,000 20-minute phone cards to a variety of businesses in town. The cards bear the design of the company’s Web site, listing a toll-free and a local number for people to call to get information about Suburban’s fares and to make reservations. People who use the card will also hear a 25-second greeting from Suburban Livery.

The company also makes sure it stands out by offering a unique service: a singing limousine driver. Suburban Livery began promoting this after a dip in business due to the events of 9/11. “I have a tape with four songs on it and I sing along,” says Susanne. “This has become one of our most inexpensive means of advertising.”

With the success of their phone cards and Frequent Tire Miles program, the Cotters aren’t apt to end these promotions any time soon.

With so many people opting for chauffeured transportation, Suburban Livery has chosen to make traveling not only easy for clients, but rewarding as well.

Getting the Word Out the Old-Fashioned Way
For its 10th anniversary, Suburban Livery printed 31,000 flyers to promote its company, with 28,000 of them stuffed in numerous newspapers in 10 surrounding cities and towns. To celebrate its decade in business, the flyers offer people a chance to win prizes for one of two drawings. Each drawing offers seven prizes in all, with the grand prize being a night on the town, which includes pick-up and drop-off at a play, theatre or restaurant of the winner’s choice.

The objective of the flyers “is to get people to e-mail us and register for one of the prizes,” says co-owner Jim Cotter. This gives the Cotters carte blanche to store these e-mail addresses and construct a database for various promotions.

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