• April 1, 2007
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

It's All the (Road) Rage

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Memo from the desk of Marshall Lager, April’s Chief Driving-You-Crazy Officer:

No plan is foolproof, and it's not very hard to imagine something like the following coming to pass due to lack of vision.

New York, April 1, 2007--Following a popular business trend in customer relationship management, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has introduced "Traffic Circle," a points-based rewards program for licensed drivers. The plan, tied to an individual's driving record, offers a number of advantages and opportunities over the standard license.

"We wanted to return the focus of our business to the men and women who are most important to us, and the Traffic Circle program lets us do so in a way with which drivers are familiar," says DMV spokesman Hank Horner. "By initiating this program, we remind the state's worst drivers that they are special and valuable, and encourage them to continue doing business with DMV."

Earn rewards points for traffic violations: To help offset the fines imposed as a result of bad driving, drivers will receive an equal number of rewards points, good for redemption at the DMV online catalog. Points may be turned into premiums like fuzzy dice, pine tree--"scented" air fresheners, or car audio systems. Each year's top points-earners will also receive, free, a two-week vacation complete with vehicle rental, good in any state but New York.

Earn two parking tickets, get one free upgrade to a moving violation: This will help keep the program going during periods of low activity, such as the end of the month when drivers are extra cautious for fear of being pulled over.

Preferred seating in drunk-driving classes: Substance abusers behind the wheel are one of the greatest threats to road safety; by letting DWI convicts "go to the head of the class," the state helps recognize these individuals' important status in the traffic code.

Express lane to traffic court hearings: Proceedings for vehicular homicides, reckless driving, and even simple fender-benders help an uncounted number of attorneys, bailiffs, and clerks stay employed, but nobody enjoys the lengthy wait for a trial date. The express lane will treat program members as priority cases, moving them to the top of the docket and speeding up trials. This benefit will include Revolving Door Justice to get valuable offenders back out on the road fast.

Area motorists and law enforcement officials are reacting to the plan with great interest. "I'm definitely signing up as soon as I get back home," says Sandor Schechter, a Greene County propane deliveryman and part-time midway carnie who called from his truck during the evening commute. "This is exactly the sort of program hard-working road warriors have been looking for. Maybe I can earn that hands-free headset I've been wanting."

Nassau County police officer Emily Rizzo, similarly enthusiastic, added "My fellow officers and I can finally give recognition to our special motorist supporters without having to pull them over."

So incentivize, but be wise.

Contact Senior Editor Marshall Lager at mlager@destinationCRM.com.

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