Whatever the app or program you use, updating the software, especially if it changes the format, can annoy the user. As fast paced as this technologically assisted world is, people get used to a certain way of things.
This is one of the reasons changing your loyalty program software can be tricky. However, it is also true that once the smoke clears and users have become used to the new service, they will start to appreciate the benefits and forget you ever did things differently.
If you are changing your loyalty program software, then make sure you have everything in place to make a smooth transition. You don’t want to cause a paradigm shift in your loyalty program and give the customer something worse than before. It won’t keep them loyal for long.
Make Sure You Should Change Your Loyalty Software
As we said, customers will be happy to update to something new, but if you are replacing your old program with something worse, customers won’t be happy. Just look at Chipotle Mexican Grill who have tried to weather a storm of food poisoning outbreaks and data breaches, just to to make matters worse with a less than stellar customer loyalty program.
This is why you need to be sure you are making the right decision. Reading our article on 7 reasons you need new loyalty program software will help. Here you’ll see that, if your software is inadequate, it might be time to make some changes.
Equally, if you are just starting out, you don’t want to get too big for your boots. Ensure that you build slow enough to be able to reward your customer’s loyalty properly. If you promise too much, too soon, then going back on rewards can make it look like your whole company is taking a step backwards.
This doesn’t include short term special offer rewards or referral promotions. Customer’s understand that companies will be more or less generous depending on promotions.
Set Out Guidelines for the Change
Once you have made the decision to change your customer loyalty program, you will need to ensure everything is in place. It is likely the reason you are changing is because you want to have a better handle on your metrics by getting a new customer loyalty platform. That’s OK, you will just need to use what information you do have to make sure you are heading in the right direction.
Customers will be able to smell a rat if you are changing the rules of the loyalty platform and making it worse for them. Sell the new customer loyalty software (with its accompanying customer loyalty program) to your customers by selling it to yourself first.
Highlight everything which is right about the new direction and set out predictions as accurately as you can. It will help reassure yourself you are making the right decision. This means it will be easier once it comes time to reassure your customers.
If you are having to switch your customer loyalty program as a means to cut some corners, then this is an even more vital stage. You will need to find a way to make sure your customers do not feel short-changed. Make sure you have replies for any questions customers will send your way so that they will not feel dissatisfied.
Notify Your Staff About Customer Loyalty Changes
Once you know you are changing for the right reasons and have your guidelines set out, you need to make sure everyone is prepared. If you make a top down decision, but don’t inform everybody on the front lines, you could end up with workers as clueless as the customers.
Take your guidelines and inform your staff with enough time to ensure the implementation runs smoothly. Make sure they know how to respond to any potential customer complaints by troubleshooting beforehand.
Give Yourself Enough Time
Really this stage should be called ‘Give Your Customers Enough Time’. This is because changing your customer loyalty software overnight will likely cause more trouble than you expect.
Customers build their loyalty as they use your product or service. With customer loyalty programs they will have certain expectations of the rewards they have been promised. If you take these benefits and rewards away without warning, they won’t be happy.
However, if you notify your customers well in advance you can give them time to reap accumulated benefits and also find ways to make them look forward to the new venture. This way they can feel like the time and money they have spent has not been wasted.
Ideally, you should be able to find a way to transfer the rewards they have gained from the old customer loyalty platform to the new one. This is easier said than done, depending on your reasons for switching in the first place.
Only Change What You Need
It is possible that your reasons for changing your customer loyalty program software are minor ones. They may affect you as a company more than they do the customer and their reward scheme. You may want to improve your analytics, add new features such as personalized communications or advance your social media strategies.
If this is the case, your software update should change as little as possible. You can revamp the look, give your company profile a little makeover and reassure your customers that their loyalty will be rewarded better than ever.
Market as You Launch
Make sure your new customer loyalty program software comes with as much fanfare as warranted. If you try to make a change without notifying your customers, they will not be impressed. Make sure your customer loyalty changes are accompanied by a creative social media strategy.
Unfortunately, as with some of the steps before, you may be wanting to change your customer loyalty program so you are able to get more information such as customer emails or other forms of contact.
This is why you should accompany your marketing strategy for the new software with an incentive. It could be some reward points just for signing up or even free product, it will depend on your business. Just make it relative to the changes you are implementing and remind the customer that the future looks good.
If you’d like to learn more about how your company can make a smooth transition to new loyalty program software schedule a call with our experts today!