To retain the existing customer in this competitive world is a challenging task. It requires immense efforts, various marketing strategies and innovative customer loyalty programs to make customers happy and to increase customer engagement and boosts conversions.
Henry Ford rightly said “It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”
In recent years, customer loyalty programs have changed drastically. New customer loyalty programs have become digital, effective, and unique.
What is a customer loyalty program?
In layman's term, a customer loyalty program is a set of strategies which enable you to offer incentives to customers on a timely basis, who has been buying from you for a stipulated amount of time.
However, digitalization has changed the way a customer transacts with a company, a loyal customer now is not necessarily a regular buyers, but he can be someone who brings referrals through social sharing, someone who spread the good word for you, someone who is stick to your product for long and has resisted a product switch, or someone who subscribes to your offerings or resources on digital platforms.
Companies today need to relaunch their customer loyalty program in order to accommodate modern customers need.
Customer loyalty is the outcome of a good customer experience. So if you want to build a solid customer loyalty program, delivering seamless customer experience and service across customers life cycle should be a priority.
Traits of a modern customer loyalty program
- Helps you offer a frictionless transactional experience to the customers across any touch-points.
- Help you embrace new technology to make most of the customer data and personalized offering.
- Help you provide value and gain through affiliate partnership and third-party contracts.
- Bring you and your customer closer.
Here I have mentioned the top 8 tips to create customer loyalty programs that will work in 2019
1. Research Adequately
Starbucks claims that the customer loyalty program played a vital role in its 26% rise in profit and 11% jump in the total revenue in 2013’s second quarter fiscal results.
To carry out a successful customer loyalty program in your company, your team need to do thorough research before implementing a customer loyalty program. There are various models available in the market, you need to research at your best and choose the best that fits business requirements.
You need to find out the objective of your campaign, analyze the nature and size of your business and create a program that can help you to accomplish your goals for the business. Also, just not consider just the business objectives but also consider the customer’s expectations, behavior, and current market trends.
You can access customer data from a variety of sources like your website analytics, inventory history, sales, conversations, etc. to understand the customer behavior and you would also come to know at what type of campaign customer prefer to respond.
By collecting data and analyzing it properly you can use this data to create customer loyalty programs and even make improvements in your products or services. With this tip, you will able to deliver excellent customer service to the customers.
2. Keep it simple
“Smart companies have realized that customer loyalty is the most powerful sales and marketing tool that they have.”- Bill Price
The more complex the loyalty and rewards program is -the harder it is for you as a business as well as it is for your customers. If you will make it too complex, and then there is a chance that customers will not understand and forget about it or ignore it the next moment.
Make the process simple so that customers can easily understand it. To implement a customer loyalty program successfully, the very first step is to make it easy for your customers to sign up for the customer loyalty program.
Create a point system. This is easy for business and customers to understand. Business can easily track. Give points to the customers for completing a purchase. Explain your details how they can redeem those accumulated points and whether or not those points expire and if so, how often.
For Example, have a look at The JetBlue TrueBlue program which stands as an example of an ideal customer loyalty program.
3. Innovate to personalized
Artificial intelligence is helping companies to craft a more personalized loyalty program. When companies invest in technologies their service is far more proactive and personalized.
- They offer a seamless omnichannel experience to their customers, be it web, mobile or a brick and mortar store.
- Personalized product with multifaceted content and description.
- Launched a Tri-tiered “Beauty Insider” program to offers customers more lavish rewards and gifts.
- Give customers a product try-on with a virtual assistant, to help their customer get the perfect product for their skin type.
Adopting technologies to personalized customer experience doesn't necessarily have to complicated. Many brands personalized the experience by simply using visual engagement tools like Acquire, to offer assistance by accessing the web or mobile browsers and performing the task on their behalf.
4. Rewards points, traditional yet effective
The rewards should not only something your business can afford, but also something your customers desire to hunt for. Whether you choose to offer your customer discount on their future purchase, free rewards or even a combination of the two but remember the most important rule: The rewards have to offer value to the customer.
There are few Grocery stores who have partnerships with some of the fuel companies offer discounts on gas. Which is expensive and something that is very helpful. This type of programs makes use of cards customers already use to get discounts on weekly sale items- while the business gets sales data.
5. Stay connected with your customers
Experian data also shows emails targeted toward your loyalty program participants have a 40% higher open rate. Also, 22% higher click-through rates and 29% higher transaction rates and 11% higher revenue per email.
It is necessary to stay in touch with your loyal customers after creating the right customer loyalty program. Email campaigns are one of the best ways to stay in touch with your members.
Implementing an email campaign to let your customers know about renewals (if your program requires it), and special deals just for loyal members can make your program work better for you.
You can remind about the campaign after a particular a period of time like once or twice in a week. This will lead to a positive impression of your brand. Below is the brilliant example of staying in touch with customers:
The company has adequately displayed the creativity with “We miss you” campaign!
Another way to connect with your customer is through live chat. If you have live chat enabled on your website then you can inform the customer about your customer loyalty program during the conversation. Live chat can help you to build trust within the customer and that will automatically increase customer loyalty.
6. Do the best possible marketing of the program
“Marketing strategy is where we play and how we win in the market. Tactics are how we deliver on the strategy and execute for the process.” –Mark Ritson
No matter how attractive or worth your customer loyalty program is, but it is useless if 80% of your audience is unaware of the program. Invest in marketing your program to let your customers know about your loyalty programs. If you have a physical location invests in signage throughout the store to attract customers. Create a marketing strategy as per your business requirement and to drive more customers. Below are some of the ways to do marketing:
- Online Ads
- Social Media
- Press Releases
- Newspaper Ads
- Outdoor hoardings
- Send out a customer satisfaction survey
- Send email newsletter
- Develop a customer referral program
- Hold an online contest
- Publish distributed content
7. Choose incentives with care
While choosing the best incentives for your loyalty program, you need to analyze the need and behavior of your targeted consumers. Sometimes a freebie can devalue your product or services. Think of the options you can make the incentives exclusive.
Experiential rewards are advisable and popular because they make customers feel better and add value to the lives of your customers. It also helps you to make your business stand out of the crowd and creating a loyal customer for a long time.
For instance, In India, Starbucks has designed a wonderful loyalty program. The program name is My Starbucks Rewards program. To receive program benefits customers first need to create an account. There are multiple ways to enroll in a Starbucks program first way is by creating an account.
The second way is by downloading the Starbucks India mobile app. For each purchase, you will receive one (1) “Star” as per terms and conditions for any purchase worth INR 300 (Rupees Three Hundred only, inclusive of all taxes), at any Starbucks store in India, except during limited time promotions when Starbucks may offer "Bonus Stars" on featured products and/or services.
8. Set Up Exclusive Deals and Discounts for Your Customers Via Social Media
Chances are your social media followers and email subscribers are your potential customers. Use social media channels and email newsletters to give your followers an excited and exclusive limited time deals and discounts.
Create a unique hashtag for the offer. Provide a discount code and use the unique hashtag consistently across all your social media channels during the marketing campaign. You can easily track the campaign and can tailor your offer based on how the campaign is performing.
With this marketing campaign, you will make your customers feel that they are part of this exclusive club and as a result, they will refer your business to others and new people will join your email list and will follow your business on social media channels.
The Last Word
Implement the right customer loyalty program for the long-term success of the business. A successful and best customer loyalty program can boost profits and improve customer retention. Loyalty programs can make a remarkable impact on the company’s bottom line.