Financial industry focuses on customer 
engagement in retention programs

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Financial industry focuses on customer ?engagement in retention programs
Financial industry focuses on customer ?engagement in retention programs
Currently, 15% of its customers are truly engaged, Black says. "Our engagement figure fluctuates daily, but our goal is to get up to 20% next year." 

BECU aims to achieve this in part through more relevant offers targeted at members by using a data service provided by Pitney Bowes Business Insight.* It also increased its use of digital communications through e-mail. 

American Express is driving loyalty among its small business customers with Open 
Forum, an online resource and social networking hub with useful tips and advice about running a successful enterprise. 

The site launched in 2007, but really took off during the downturn with traffic now 
between 500,000 and 1.5 million unique 
visits daily, says Scott Roen, VP of the Open 
Forum at American Express. 

The company has been investing in the Open Forum community, expanding into 
Facebook in November with an initiative called Small Business Saturday, which 
encourages followers to buy items at local shops more often. 

"We have pretty good integration with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Open Forum itself, and that has really helped to drive a lot of our success," he says. 

Open Forum also recently launched a series of webisodes called "RE: Brand," which pairs three small companies with boutique agencies in a reality-TV style brand makeover. 

"RE:Brand is essentially the core of what Open Forum has been about from the 
beginning," says Roen. He says they'll likely follow up with another series that matches other members. 

Without revealing numbers, he says Open Forum has had a "dramatic impact on its small business consumers as far as percent lift [in purchases made on Amex cards]." He adds that they also measure the success of the program by looking at brand and 
loyalty metrics. 

Roen notes that the company found a dramatic difference in results between those engaged with Open Forum and those who are not. Still, despite the success of Open Forum, Roen says the company has not used the site for behavioral targeting of ads. 

"We don't think that's the right approach now," he says. "Open Forum isn't about us, it's about trying to facilitate the conversation and really enable small business owners."

*CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article referenced Pitney Bowes as BECU's service provider. It was in fact Pitney Bowes Business Insight, a division of Pitney Bowes.

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