«Return to Blog List Kronos Spotlights Dozens of Customers through Expanded Reference Program
The book Stories that Sell, and a recent blog post here, lauded Kronos Incorporated for its Best Practices Awards Program, an annual program to recognize customers that achieve value and success with Kronos solutions.
The leading maker of workforce management solutions featured award winners at its annual user conference, KronosWorks. Those customers received significant exposure at the event and in the media. And in the process, the company uncovered some of its best stories.
Now, there’s an update on the program since it was featured in Stories That Sell. While the awards program was considered a success, Kronos has since expanded to create a customer reference program.
Why? It found an even better way to engage customers and get them to share their stories.
A more comprehensive customer reference program than what has been in place for many years. (Need a refresh on what a customer reference program is? Check this out.)
“In the last two years, we’ve expanded the formal recognition of customers who provide us with publishable stories. Instead of recognizing a few, we are now able to spotlight any customer that is willing to let us share their story,” said Ciana Abdollahian, customer marketing specialist at Kronos.
Kronos started this Spotlight Customer program in 2009 and it’s grown quickly. Companies that participate are called “spotlight” customers.
So what are the benefits of the Spotlight program over the annual awards program?
The expanded reference program lets Kronos grow relationships with a broader range of customers – from smaller to larger, and in different industries. In turn, that leads to case studies that cover more of the customer base. Ideally, you want a broad range of stories to share with your different prospect audiences.
“The program allows us to establish deeper relationships with more customers and maximize each one,” Abdollahian said. “We went from recognizing six customers through the Best Practices Awards Program in 2008 to 37 in 2009 and then 62 in 2010.”
How does the company encourage participation and thank customers?
Kronos devised some enticing benefits to get and keep customers excited:
- A luncheon reception at the annual KronosWorks event, where the CEO speaks
- The chance to network with other customers and discuss ways they use the software
- A framed, branded memento – a printed version of the customer’s case study or press release
- Message from the CEO thanking the customer for being a spotlight
- Front-row seating to the opening session/keynote – a very exciting bonus for customers
- Recognition during the opening session with their logos on big screens
“We get customers together as much as possible. They have a chance to speak with other customers like themselves and the chance to speak with the executive team, which makes them feel special,” Abdollahian said. Many customers also end up being speakers at KronosWorks and other industry events.
Case studies: The most common introduction to the reference program
Most often, the first activity a customer participates in – either before joining the program or upon joining – is a case study.
By exploring the customer’s story, Kronos knows if the customer fits a current gap in the reference program regarding industry, product usage or company size. Likewise, the customer experiences a joint promotional activity with Kronos.
“A case study lets them try out the reference program,” Abdollahian said. “We find out more about a customer through a case study. We understand what products they are using, get to know their pain points and know how the solution solved them – so we know if they have a really good story.”
Terrific series of posts Casey. Extremely helpful. I’ve written a bit on storytelling which I’m linking here including a study which proves its value if it’s helpful to others. http://www.thebrandmechanic.com/beat-pawn-stars-by-branding-via-storytelling/