Building strong partnerships is the foundation of every successful business strategy. Customer loyalty programs are ways for a business to get closer to its current clients and make sure they are happy with the service. But you might not know about the many other benefits loyalty programs can bring to your business.
On the other hand, there are a few things you need to watch out for when making your program, like security and making sure your customers’ data is safe.
Users are usually hesitant to sign up for loyalty programs because they need to give access to their data. This is to avoid being a victim of a data breach. Also, loyalty programs sometimes involve the use of apps that pose a privacy risk to users. This means that you will have to make sure that your customers’ information stays safe.
We’ve given you a list of some of the best benefits that a customer loyalty program can offer, as well as some tips on how to start one of your own, to help you avoid security problems and improve your business strategy.
Customer Loyalty Program Pros and Cons
So many good things come from the Customer Loyalty Program. Here are some of them:
Better and Improved Engagement
To get people interested in your brand and make more people aware of it, you need to connect with the people you want to reach. Customers might be more interested in your business and tell potential new customers about their great experiences if you give them a gift or a discount on their next purchase.
More people are interested in and loyal to a brand.
Because giving your customers rewards can make them happier overall, they are more likely to agree with your core values and beliefs, which will help your brand in the long run.
Focus on building trust between you and your customers, since this is one of the things that customers say is important to a business. 82 percent of buyers have also said that they are more likely to keep buying from a brand they trust than from a company that is popular at the moment.
More money coming in
Instead of focusing on getting a lot of new customers for a single transaction, loyalty programs encourage businesses to work hard to keep the ones they already have happy.
If you focus on gaining the trust of people who already know and like you, you won’t have to worry about beating the competition. Also, customer loyalty programs can help you keep strong sales throughout the year, even if your customers’ tastes change with the seasons, which is something every business has to deal with.
How to Start a Customer Loyalty Program That Works
A survey done by McKinsey & Company found that the social values of two out of every three Americans affect their decisions about what to buy.
A Look at the Audience
Find out who you want to reach with your program before you make any big changes to the way you run your business. Do an analysis of how your customers act and figure out how your business strategy could be changed to better meet their needs. Find out what kind of incentive system would work best, and don’t be afraid to ask them what they think before you plan your strategy. Send them a questionnaire with specific questions that might give you an idea of their habits and expectations, or give them a call and talk to them in person to learn more about them as people.
Pick a good name for your program.
Choosing a good name for a loyalty program is usually not one of the first things you think about when you are making it. But you have to do that if you want to come up with a strategy that will last and fits with your business’s core values.
Make sure the name of your program relates to your business and the goals your clients want to reach. People want to feel like they are unique and appreciated. A great way to do this is to give them a name that makes them feel special and also shows that you like them as a person. 94% of Americans have said that they would use a special program if it had benefits for them.
Customers who sign up for loyalty programs with levels like “silver,” “gold,” and “platinum” get the impression that they are part of a small group. This is a great illustration. Still, it is of the utmost importance that the name of your program is always clear and tells what it does. It should be memorable enough to stick in people’s minds and creative enough to get their attention.
Provide More Value to Your Consumers
Smart shoppers may be able to spot loyalty programs that are poorly made and only try to get them to buy more things and spend more money. When you start your customer loyalty program, you need to find something that your customers will find useful so they will sign up.
People don’t just want free stuff and lower prices on things they buy. More and more people are looking for ways to feel like they are making the world a better place and making the future more sustainable. Companies are trying to add more socially responsible projects to their customer loyalty programs to please the 70% of customers who want to know how the brands they trust are tackling important social and environmental issues.
The Body Shop’s Love Your Body Club is a great example of a customer loyalty program that cares about the community. In addition to giving customers birthday vouchers, early access to special editions, and exclusive gifts and prizes, the Body Shop loyalty club lets customers choose one charity from a list and donate money to the cause they care most about.
Figure out what kind of behavior you want to reward.
Rewarding customers just for what they buy is one of the worst mistakes that companies make, and it usually causes their customer loyalty programs to fail.
If you’re on social media and you see that your customers like to talk on those platforms, you should focus on rewarding the behaviors you see.
Rewarding loyal customers who post good reviews on social media and discussion forums is a great way to show that you care about your customers. Rewarding customers who leave positive reviews about your business online is a direct business investment, since positive reviews have the same effect on potential clients’ buying decisions as personal recommendations do.
Boost the number of prizes
You also need to think about what kinds of prizes you want to give away. There are other ways to keep customers coming back besides giving them discounts, so we suggest adding more incentives to the mix.
For example, you could show your customers how much you appreciate them by letting them earn loyalty points for doing things like shopping, sharing content on social media, or telling a friend about your business. Also, most customers like that they can get their orders delivered and returned for free, and that they sometimes get gifts that show how important they are to the business.
Last but not least, you should never underestimate how powerful personalization can be. People like to hear that they are appreciated, so if you want to send a thank-you note to your regular customers, you might want to include a personalized note, possibly written by hand, and address each person by their full name.
Strategy for Multiple Channels
If you wait for customers to visit your website or webshop to sign up for a customer loyalty program, it’s possible that your efforts will be for nothing. When you do research on your target audience, one of the first things you should do is find out which social media sites they use the most.
Once you know how they use the Internet, check to see if your customer loyalty program is accessible from the networks they use. Another great way to make your program more accessible to a wider audience is to make an app that will keep your customers interested and encourage them to participate more in your program.
Aside from the obvious benefit of convenience, loyalty program apps may also help you learn more about how your customers act and give you a better way to track how your program is doing. Having access to personal information about users, on the other hand, comes with a lot of responsibility. If you want to make a loyalty app, you should talk to cybersecurity experts first to make sure that no data will leak and that your customers won’t be victims of a data breach.
Maintain Constant Vigilance
To make sure that your customer loyalty program works and stays around, you need to set up a good reporting system. For many loyalty programs, there are softwares that can automate this process. However, besides the basic measurements, there are other things that can be tracked.
Whenever you can, it’s a good idea to reach out to long-term clients and ask what they think. People tend to get annoyed by long surveys and open-ended questions. Because of this, it’s important to make your feedback reports as short and clear as possible.
Still, just keeping an eye on how things are going is not enough. Use the information you’ve collected to come up with ways to improve your customer loyalty program and make sure your company’s goals are met. Also, keeping an eye on the competition and watching how people interact on social media can give you useful information about changing trends and give you ideas for how to make your own projects better.
Loyalty programs for customers can help businesses build stronger relationships with their current customers, which in turn helps them keep a steady flow of sales income. But to do that, you will need to do a lot of planning and make big changes to how your company works. You need to make sure you have enough resources and clear goals for what you want to do.
Because of this, you need to make a workable plan for the project, keep track of your progress, and change your plan as needed. Because your clients want to feel like they’re getting something out of your program, you should make sure you’re addressing important social and environmental issues and rewarding behavior that doesn’t involve buying.
Also, since customer loyalty programs require clients to give you information that can be used to find out who they are, you need to take the right steps to avoid data breaches, which could put your business at risk.