When your friend bestows you with a gift card from a privileged brand, would you discard it saying you have never been to that place? Or are you compelled to visit that store and buy something off that card? Of course, you would give these clever customer loyalty programs a try, wouldn’t you? And think you have benefitted more. Have you really?
Let’s imagine, you went in into the store, you carted something you liked and it was just a 100 bucks more than your gift card could afford. Would that hinder you from owning it? And when the cashier issues a club card officiating you as a member of the brand family that gives you special ‘family’ discounts, would you evade it? Or would that instill in you a ‘we’ feeling about that brand?
That is exactly what Customer Loyalty Programs are all about. A cleverly moved strategy to acquire new customers and to keep them hooked.
Why is Customer Loyalty Programs Important?
From small start-ups to the e-commerce ‘King’ Amazon servicing 14 countries, every entrepreneurship gets a great deal of their success from customer satisfaction. It is no secret that happy customers maketh the company grows. In today’s world with hundreds of companies offering similar services as yours, customer satisfaction is a fleeting fantasy. It is customer loyalty that is priceless and all are devising creative and new-fangled efforts to keep the customers enchanted and hooked to the brand.
Every extra effort or an extra mile you take for your customers would keep them loyal to you. Though it is important to have new customers walk in, it is far more important in the contemporary world to retain the prevalent ones. And that’s where the term Customer Retention comes in. It’s no longer about just keeping your clients happy but to have them come back more, and more to just you. That’s the hard part. How will you be able to do that? With businesses mushrooming in every nook and corner, how will you identify yourself uniquely to the customer and have them come back to just you? Just the quality and quantity of the products you are offering need not be adequate.
According to a survey by Invesp, an increase of about 25% – 95% in profits can be seen with just 5% of customer retention and when the odds of converting a new lead is 5% – 20%, the possibility of turning an existing customer into a regular customer is 60% – 70%.
Take any company doing exceptionally well in their field, they would be doing so with a strong and efficient Customer Loyalty Programs to back them up. Be it McDonald’s or Burger King, Bank of America or Standard Chartered, Amazon or Flipkart, Pepsi or Tropicana… They all capitalize on the Elixir in the business world – methodical and coherent Customer Loyalty Programs.
Even the giants are losing their customers because of the lack of consistent measures to retain them in the community. Customer loyalty must be nurtured in every phase of the buying cycle.
We’ve listed some of the best customer loyalty programs in this previous post. In this article, we intend to tell you 9 tips to devise the best customer loyalty programs, the Holy Grail!!
1. Know Your Target Audience
Being aware of your target audience is the most influential step of all. You could acquire an insight into your customers’ buying patterns by conducting a market research. You must apprehend information about who your customers are and their spending nature. Detailed knowledge of customers regarding their current buying trends and the motivational factors that trigger them could become the key to success for your Customer Loyalty Programs.
Never Ever Stop Monitoring
Always conduct surveys and focus group discussions to improve and adapt to the current trends that are swaying the customers. It could make or break your strategies and the future of your company. They would help you to be up-to-date and to be sensitive. There is nothing more a customer wants other than pleasant surprises you offer as if you could just read their minds.
Collecting Feedback Every Single Time
Feedback is the most valuable asset that you could have. It would give you an idea about the different phases that the customer experienced and would impart an idea of where you need correction and where you need a pat on the shoulders. The quality of your Customer Touchpoints, which is basically every interaction that you’ve had with your customer, is reflected in this feedback and it needs to be analyzed critically.
2. Keep it Simple
Customer Loyalty Programs should be designed with care so as to not confuse your customers and thereby giving up altogether. Be cautious of how you are presenting it to the customer. It is the age of speed. Everyone wants everything instantly without much complications and with benefits. You should make sure that your websites are light weighted and do not put-off the customer by showing too much content or instructions. Make it direct and easy for the customer to understand. No matter how good your program is, if your website takes too long to load in their device, their chances of dropping out is pretty high.
3. Make them Feel Special
Give a treat to your loyal customers with VIP privileges. And that is the oldest trick in the bag. It works at so many levels. Having VIP privileges enables the customer to enjoy special access to discounts and sales. It would make the customer feel appreciated. There is also an added bonus of making other customers aspire to reach that elevated status. Many privilege programs like Amazon Prime or VerizonUp requires the customers to pay an amount giving the ‘not very often’ customers to a chance of being a VIP privileged customer.
4. Keep it Exclusive
Rather than offering general rewards and discounts, not that they are ineffective, special offers for the subsets in your audience such as students, women or military personnel will generate an active participation from these groups. Since the youngsters, especially the teens usually move around in packs, giving out offers like these could obviously favor your company very much.
5. Community Building
Homo sapiens are social beings and we always identify ourselves with the community that we come from. Everything with a personal touch evokes a feeling of oneness and gets imprinted on us. When your company invokes a sense of belonging in your customers, he naturally develops a loyalty towards the brand.
If you refer to the 2017 Loyalty Report, an average consumer is entailed in at least fourteen loyalty programs, though he or she can only actively engage in seven. This again highlights the importance of building a personal relationship with the customer. In order to achieve this, you usually can gift them club cards officiating them as part of the brand.
Having a visual representation always helps to make it realistic. In addition, to keep them in your circle you could set up an online community exclusively for your customers or you could introduce points system, where you reward them for purchases and other activities like sharing it with their friends. This brings us to the next tip.
6. Let the Word Spread
Launch some referral programs through your Customer Loyalty Programs. You could offer monetary or non-monetary rewards by referring their friends and relatives to your company. Even business giants like Uber makes use of this method. This strategy would gain you a whole new group of customers. Most happy customers need not necessarily spread a good word about your endeavor, but having a reward for it would be a just-the-right motivational factor for them to do so.
7. Always Keep in Touch
The most salient part of any relationship is communication. Without consistent and proper communication carried out, even the best Customer Loyalty Programs can go haywire. You should always remind your customers that you haven’t forgotten them and that you have noticed their presence as well as absence. Sending personalized emails and messages would be enough if done systematically. It might seem like a herculean task to keep personal communication with each of your customers. Even mentioning their names instead of ‘Customer’ in the mails would do the trick. Giving wishes and discounts for their birthdays and anniversaries would remind your customers that they are special.
8. Encourage to Show off
Social media rules the business world too like any other. The knowledge that any company needs a social presence is history. It’s how good you put it to use that actually matters. You must have active and engaging accounts preferably in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter etc. And you could ask your customers to share the word in social media about their experience with your company and tag you in it. There is no high and mighty road to reach the masses. By pressing the right social media buttons, you could turn your customers into your brand ambassadors. And you can always give them rewards and special discounts for helping you out!
9. Happy Employees, Happy Services
The last one but of the optimal importance is to have happy and loyal employees. You should not forget the well-being of your employees. The customers perceive your company as of how your employees present it. Not one would stay if your employees act like the Grinch. You should give proper and ample training to tackle all that is thrown their way, be it a confused customer or an arrogant one. Your employee should feel confident about himself as well as his company. That would surely be reflected through his words and actions to the customer.
You should never forget to appreciate the genuine work and loyalty of the employee towards the company, this would drive him to be even more sedulous. You could give him incentives, personal appraisals or even paid vacations.
You can no longer control the number or the platforms through which the customer experiences the services offered by your company. And it’s not about whether your product is better than that of your competitors’. It is all down to how smoothly you handle the ruffled customer and make his experience delightful. And, that’s exactly where you need to demonstrate your integrity and reliability.
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