As a marketer, customer loyalty is never going to be far from your mind. Whether you actively think about it or you intuitively incorporate it into your everyday business, it fuels your need to get a product or service recognized. Keeping a customer is cheaper than finding new business, but keeping them doesn’t make them loyal. How loyalty is forged is through making them engaged, immersed and, ultimately, happy. Your customer loyalty program needs to be running at optimum to make sure all three of these needs are met. This is why Social&Loyal is bringing you the ultimate guide to customer loyalty programs to ensure you don’t miss out on anything.
A Loyalty Program Works Within an Industry
As much as we can talk about the ‘customer’ in an abstract way, customers do not behave the same across all industries. The way a caregiver chooses talcum powder for a child is not the same as how a billionaire buys their next yacht. This is why customer loyalty programs need to be finely tuned towards their customer and use this connection to filter back into how their business operates. A customer loyalty program needs to bring the customer in to the fold. Like bringing a friend round to dinner, you know what they will want to eat, but you show them something new to make the experience more memorable. It will make them want to come round more often. It may seem trite, but customer loyalty in 2018 works in a similar way. Millennial spending power is mighty and engagement is the best way to draw this power towards you. You need to know them, to understand their needs and only then can you encourage loyalty. It is why so many marketers are using brand ambassadors to meet the need for brand engagement. It provides the best start in building trust. Engaging means bringing the customer into somewhere they feel comfortable. If the customer is a coffee drinker, Starbucks has their yearly holiday cup with a community focused drive. This helps engage the customer need to buy into a brand with scruples. With specially commissioned collectables and treats they didn’t know existed, a company like Loot Crate provides everything a nerd could hope to put on their desk at work or show off on their shelves at home.
This is why a customer loyalty program needs to be immersive. It’s not just providing the sizzle any more. It’s about knowing where the steak comes from and how the customer likes theirs cooked.
Features of Your Loyalty Program
To provide this kind of immersive engagement, you need a loyalty program which can analyze raw data, touch base with the customer appropriately and troubleshoot any reasons for losing customer retention. Meeting these before-during-and-after purchase needs requires the following:
- Your customer loyalty program software needs to take your raw data and present it in a way which allows you to track trends and spot problems. This is not simply for organizational purposes, although it helps. It is to help you chart product launches, check which times you are selling more, keep track of demographic involvement and to compare different metrics for optimization. This needs to be at every stage of customer involvement, especially if you want to encourage customer retention.
- With the amount of time people of all demographics are spending on social media, the only way to engage fully is to use all platforms suitable for your brand. There is obvious crossover between your analytical function and social media strategy. They will work to both keep track of and extend your reach, especially in terms of specific promotions.
- Another imperative for your social media strategy is using it as a means to collect data. Check which campaigns are making a splash and which are sinking beneath the surface. Use tactical posts to garner opinion and use comments to get some honest feedback. Social media also allows you to boost promotions with photo contests and many more inventive ways to provide engagement.
- Your customer loyalty software needs to provide the right kind of engagement for the individual customer. This means notifying whenever a promotion they will like is coming along and not getting in touch when there is something which is of no interest to them. You can trust workers to remember all the likes and dislikes of individual customers. Or you can feed this information into a fail safe customer loyalty program to do it for you.
- Part of knowing how much interaction your customer needs is through a loyalty program interface which is bespoke to the customer. Provide an intuitive interface on your app, mobile and desktop sites which saves privacy settings and lets them select the kind of updates they need.
Use All Loyalty Features to Know Value
You may think that some of these features don’t apply to your brand, but a comprehensive loyalty program means you won’t fall behind when others do. It not only allows you to check on upcoming trends, but means you can check back on old ones to see how to best make your opportunities. To do this you need to know what are your customer’s values and how you can reflect them. Knowing your customer has always been the fundamental principle of marketing, but what is changing is how well the customer knows you. Don’t patronize the customer, value their feedback and genuinely be the kind of brand they want to associate with. After you set up all of these ways to engage, the structure of your customer loyalty program is up to you. Does your brand value certain social media platforms over others? Do you need to streamline your multichannel distribution? Are points a draw to customers or can you come up with some more inventive ways to provide your rewards? You will need to consider all the features effective customer loyalty program software provides and compare them against expenditure. Successful business requires investment and your customer loyalty program provides the best probability of success by knowing where to invest your time, money and effort. It is immersive customer service at its technologically advanced best and it’s quickly becoming a new fundamental of marketing.