Jul 23, 2012
By Daniel Nugent, Head of Entice, P&MM
Many brands use loyalty or reward schemes in order to attract and retain consumers, but just how can they make the most of these scheme in order to establish long-term relationships with their customers? Here are some tops tips for bringing your customers closer.
1. Consistent communication is key
If your customers are entitled to be part of your reward scheme, then remind them that they have the benefit and relate it to their current requirements. Work hard to achieve understanding from the customer so they are clear why they are being given the reward and what value it holds for them.
One of our best performing loyalty programmes is one in which the programme is explained to the customer at the time of making their purchase, and consequently it becomes a major factor in the purchasing decision-making process.
2. Relevance is king
Ensure that the reward you are offering is relevant to your customers’ requirements, interests and aspirations, as well as compliment your brand. In the current climate, with consumers continuing to tighten the purse strings, the brands that are successful in engendering loyalty are those offering discounts that are relevant in terms of product, brand and timing. Another key factor for success is when consumers are repaid for the shopping they would already be doing, such as the weekly supermarket shop, as well as the bigger ticket and perhaps more luxurious expenditures such as the annual holiday.
3. Keep it simple
Don’t overcomplicate the rewards programme as there is a danger that people will be reluctant to engage with it. Presenting consistent offers which deliver the greatest level of flexibility and are not limited in number or by time period, rather than one-off deals that are available for a fixed period of time, helps to engage customers with the brand and establish a long-term relationship.
4. Stay fresh
Keep the reward programme evolving and exciting to ensure customers don’t become tired of the same old thing. Replenish and stimulate the scheme with new rewards and opportunities for your consumers so you are seen as having an ongoing interest in their lives. This can increase repeat purchase and build loyalty. It also gives you a reason to communicate more and enables you to collect valuable data, which assists in developing more targeted communication going forward and can ultimately help to improve the bottom line.
5. Stand out from the crowd
Reward your customers with something that is not readily available elsewhere in order to achieve stand out from other reward or loyalty schemes. Deliver better value than those offers and discounts that are freely available on daily deals and group discount or other public websites.
6. Listen to your customers
Customers will feel far more engaged with a brand if they feel that they have a voice and their opinions are being listened and acted upon. You may think you know what your customers want from a rewards programme and believe that you have delivered that, but ensuring you remain in constant two way communication with your audience is key. Allowing them to feel that they are shaping their reward package through feedback and suggestions will tell you exactly what they like and don’t like about the current offering.
7. Ensure your programme can attract and retain
Giveaways and welcome bonuses are a great way to incentivise customers to do business with you and work very well for customer attraction. However, after the initial reward has been offered a secondary element will be required to add the retention element to the relationship. A programme that can do two jobs in one can save a great deal of time and money, delivering fantastic results.
Many of our clients achieve impressive acquisition results through promoting the great benefits of the scheme as a customer attraction tool, then through successful engagement with the programme and repeated usage they have hooked the customer and added a very strong retention element. If a customer’s general daily lifestyle is enhanced by a rewards package then they will be very reluctant to sacrifice this through moving to another brand. Annual customer savings of £1000+ can very easily lessen the impact of small price increases or a competitor’s promotional offer.
Consumers will engage with your loyalty or reward scheme if it is presented in a way that is relevant and offer real value to them, and the right scheme can be instrumental in turning a customer’s first purchase into a long-term relationship.