"People think customer loyalty is about a lifetime. It isn’t. Customer Loyalty is about the next time – every time."-Shep Hyken
1. You aren’t personalizing your rewards
Customers are human people. They have families, kids, jobs, and hobbies just like us. It’s important to keep this in mind when designing your loyalty program and the campaigns they’ll participate in. One-size-fits-all loyalty tactics might work for a short amount of time, but to keep loyal customers long term requires a bit more work. Brands need to start thinking about how they can show their loyalty to their own customers! It’s a two way street, and you must prove to your customers that your loyalty program is worth signing up for and participating in. Don’t train your customers to wait for the sale, train them to remain loyal to your brand because you’re loyal to providing them the best service.
The level of personalization customers are looking for doesn’t just come from getting to know who stops in your store. Personalization comes from leveraging the data they are graciously giving you. Upon signing up for your loyalty program, customers are giving you insight into their entire demographic. You know (pretty much) everything about them, and with time, you learn their shopping habits. Use this to your advantage when they reach a reward and add a touch of personalization.
Does Beth like to have a drink when she checks into the hotel? Have one waiting for her before she arrives. Does Carlos get an oil change every 4,000 miles? Send him a coupon when it’s almost time for his next service. It’s the little things that go a long way when trying to achieve true customer loyalty. They’ll never go anywhere else when they know you pay attention and care about their patronage!
2. You’re not delivering rewards quick enough
Nothing sucks more than signing up for a loyalty program, purchasing something, and realizing you have to wait a month for your reward to be credited. Don’t make your customers wait, make your rewards instant, or pretty dang close! As humans, we desire instant gratification. We like to do something and see the immediate result. As loyalty program participants, we want the same thing. Don’t make your customers wait, give them what they want so that they continue to come back for more.
When customers know they’ll be rewarded for their purchase, it’s an incentive for them to move quicker. Especially when it comes to low-risk purchases. Brands should use this to their advantage to encourage sign ups and deepen the engagement customers have with your brand. Instant gratification = instant purchases.
3. You’re not using data to your advantage
Everywhere you go, data is constantly being collected from you. Why wouldn’t you do the same when it comes to your brand? People have signed up for your loyalty program and have willingly given you their information. Now, it’s time to do something with that. This complete view of your customers is the most valuable part of your loyalty program. Engage with your customers and answer any questions they may have before they actually ask. How do you do that? Create a FAQ page on your website, or if you have a little more funding, implement an AI chatbot. Program it to have answers to questions your customers might ask, saving time for both you and them.
With a 360 view of your customer and their preferences, it gives you the ability to award extra points, encourage customers to invite their friends, gain feedback, and manage closed-loop offers. All of this information could be used to create a better, more personalized experience. There’s no value in collecting all of this information if you don’t utilize it.
4. You don’t have a strategy in place
To execute any type of business plan, you need a strategy. How will you market the program? How will you educate customers on participation? How will you reward them after purchases? These are all questions to ask yourself, and more.
The first step to a successful loyalty program is effective marketing. There’s no sense on having a loyalty program if you don’t show and tell people about it! First, make sure that all of your employees know their spiels and that they’re excited about it. Customers can tell when something is only being said out of routine. Make explaining your program fun and appealing, something that even YOU would sign up for. If your employees are enthusiastic about signing customers up, chances are the customer themselves will be excited to start earning towards a reward.
Second, make sure the customer has information to take with them or an easy way to look up the program at home. Again, there’s no sense on having a loyalty program if consumers can’t understand it. Remember Plenti? Neither do we, because they never educated their participants! Your program must be easy to understand, and the rewards should be relatively easy to earn.
To solve this, try explaining your program to a friend or family member that doesn’t know about it. Do you have to go back and explain yourself? Do you get confused just talking about the program? Chances are your customers will too. Break down the program step by step (short & sweet), show how you earn points, and what you can redeem those points for. Once the customer understands, purchasing from your brand becomes a routine.
5. You’re not mobile
In order to maximize your loyalty program sign ups, you need to meet your customers where they are: their phones. Over the last few years, studies have shown a steady increase in mobile use. You probably didn’t need a study to tell you that, though.
Consumers have an appetite for mobile engagement. In fact, they embrace mobile as part of their loyalty program. Whether it’s through SMS sign up, mobile wallet, digital loyalty cards, or mobile rewards, your loyalty program should be able to do it all. Providing a seamless experience is important so that your customers can maximize your program’s offerings.
For the past 3 years, over 50% of customers said mobile-enabled loyalty programs actually lead them to more frequent store visits and purchases (2018 Mobile Loyalty Report). Mobile access can be anything from a branded app, SMS, push notifications, email, mobile wallet, virtual assistants, or messaging apps. As brands see that this is a huge opportunity for them, they find themselves more aligned with their customers’ needs and preferences.
Depending on your industry, mobile ability could be an easy avenue for customers to sign up, make reservations, order food, check in or out of locations, or access coupons they may have forgot at home. These are just some of consumers’ favorite features of mobile-enabled loyalty programs.
This article was written by Loyal~n~Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.