Customer loyalty programs are a proven behavior influencing tool for a wide range of industries. Not only do these programs assist in retaining existing customers, they can also become a powerful lever for creating differentiation in market and driving new business.
As our interactions and expectations with brands develop, today’s loyalty programs need to adapt to meet these needs.
Here’s our top strategic recommendations for advancing your loyalty program in 2019.
Creating an Innovative Loyalty Program
With a wider array of data available to marketers today, providing a personalized experience has become a must. Consumers are more willing to share information and are expecting personalization in all digital interactions. Personalized products or service experiences are mentioned as being an important benefit in recent rewards studies.
Providing personalization means focusing on a unique experience for each individual customer. Showing points trends, rewards close to affordability and points comparisons can create an experience that customers become a custom to and rely on overtime.
- Provide insights into points accrual and rewards affordability via email and online experiences
- Create tailored rewards by age, region and product interest of your customers
- Gain direct feedback from customers to enable tweaks to individual experiences
Increasing engagement and motivating participation with gamification is a recognized strategy. It takes the data driven practices that game designers use to engage players and applies them to other environments.
Gamification is working more and more for non-gaming environments as it leverages the motivations in all of us for feedback, achievement, community and reward.
- Reward with points for completing applications and updating customer data
- Create progress visualizations showing how close they are to the next status
- Compare to other customers to show how they rank
- Congratulate for achieving a new status
3. Social Media
This might sound like an obvious choice, but many brands still don’t leverage social media engagement into their rewards experience.
A recent Nielsen report found that Generation X spend almost seven hours a week on social media. In a time when getting in front of consumers is so competitive, getting involved in this seven-hour window is crucial.
- Award points for connecting to your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts
- Create points competitions based on answers to questions related to your brand or industry
- Gift points for comments and interactions to surprise followers and drive interest
- Launch new product updates and other rewards news across all social platforms
4. Range of Ways to Redeem Points
A simple sign of an effective loyalty program is that customers are redeeming their points.
Making sure your program offers both short, medium, and longer-term goals means your customers can gain tangible benefits from your program on a regular basis. This also means that customers need to be receiving points frequently. Sending clients points on a monthly basis won’t cut it.
- Create small rewards that can be redeemed on a regular basis
- Discount (reduced by 20% points) more expensive rewards to incentivize customers to target longer term goals
- Remind customers of their points balance and show them what they can redeem next
5. Create Tiers
This is a common tactic that must be considered for any program.
Allowing your customers to progress their way through your program will instill loyalty and create a unique experience for your top tier customers. These don’t just have to include more points for each dollar spent, they can also host other advantages such as access to more rewards products and services and exclusive customer support. These rewards tiers can feed into your bigger picture VIP and key account strategies.
- Create blue, silver and gold member statuses
- Provide more points per dollar spend for each new status
- Enable unique rewards experiences not redeemable in previous status
Loyalty program popularity is on the rise as younger demographics lead the surge demanding more than their predecessors. Combining this surge with advancements in user experience and customer centric strategies means loyalty programs need to keep up.
These five recommendations can add a wealth of value to your loyalty program.
One simple and often forgotten tool for brands is to engage directly with customers via verbatim feedback. Spending just a few days in collecting feedback via phone or an online survey, can provide you with a wealth of data. Just like your loyalty program, making your customers feel involved in the process can put a smile on their face.