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NORWALK, Conn. — Clients want rewards for their loyalty, and corporate travelers are a large market for many chauffeured transportation providers.
TEDDY’S TRANSPORTATION in Norwalk, Conn., which has a 98% corporate client base, began its Platinum Rewards Program nearly 20 years ago to reward the corporate traveler who sometimes requested a free trip every now and then.
“Prior to the loyalty program, you had to guess as to who you were going to give freebies to. Now they earn miles,” explains Charles Wisniewski, president of Teddy’s Transportation and former NLA president. “Any agent can look at [the client’s] profile and say, ‘Yes, I do see you’ve earned [this number of] Teddy’s Platinum Rewards Miles — that’s good for a free ride.”
Rewards include gift certificates to local restaurants, a free trip or portion of a trip with Teddy’s Transportation, and products. Wisniewski purchases reward products as they are redeemed and is usually able to get gift certificates for less than face value. Restaurant owners understand that he introduces high-end individuals to their business, and Wisniewski sometimes highlights the restaurant in his e-newsletters that go out to 10,000 individuals and businesses.
Clients complete a simple enrollment process to be in the program. Introduction to the program and reminders to enroll are sent out with the welcome package for new clients and in six annual newsletters. Members are sent quarterly e-summaries of their reward miles and can call in at any time to ask.
The program, which has 5,100 enrolled clients, has served its function by rewarding client loyalty and discouraging them from changing services. Wisniewski says that once or twice a year a client calls to say that although his new employer uses another provider, he wants to stay with Teddy’s to keep his miles.
“Sometimes, it opens the door to possibly becoming the new preferred provider for his new company, or quite often, he stays with us,” Wisniewski says.
— Thi Dao, LCT Magazine
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