The Model Loyalty Experience
The quintessential loyalty experience rests on effective communication. While state-of-the-art rewards technologyis the engine, all other parts of the customer loyalty platform rely on how well the program is communicated to each individual customer. This is necessarily conducted at the group level through mass marketing, including social media, e-blasts, newsletters, and the like. But it also occurs through one-on-one relationships such as sales personnel and partnership marketing efforts. In the end, ensuring customers know about your rewards program – and how to maximize it to their advantage – determines the program’s ultimate success.
If you hire a company to coordinate and process your loyalty program, it is vital to select one that provides a seamless, integrated transfer of information throughout all relevant channels. We recommend you select a vendor that provides customizable options, as well as scalability. You may have some infrastructure already in place or wish to deploy your loyalty program incrementally. Coordinating overall ERP and CRM functions, including audits, reporting, analytics, point-of-sale features, customer service and fulfillment, is required so that data is current, accurate and easily retrievable.
The Human Solution
In addition to an excellent rewards technology provider, the human factor cannot be emphasized enough. Staff should be fully versed in your rewards program and be able to speak fluently about the loyalty experience the company has to offer the customer. After all, staff can be the most effective ambassadors by describing the program’s value to each customer in a more personable fashion.
While not all businesses lend themselves to personal invitation, communicating fully and often about rewards benefits through other mediums is critical to your programs ultimate success. A broad and wide approach using website updates, e-mails, newsletters is essential. Additionally, partner relationships can offer a rich resource for cross-fertilization, spreading your communication net even wider.
The Fulfillment Factor
It is essential that each individual participating in a loyalty program see reasonable returns in a timely fashion. If it takes too long to see a benefit, customers will either opt-out of your program or take their business elsewhere to one that offers a quicker turnaround. Furthermore, when they have earned a loyalty benefit, it must be communicated thoroughly. For example, if earning a $5 coupon for groceries or a free gift card is sent in the mail, an explanation and business appreciation should be included in the mailing. In short, it’s fundamental to the entire loyalty experience, that communication and a hearty “thank you for shopping with us” be extended to the customer.
Finally, it should not be too difficult to redeem any reward the customer has earned. Along with protracted ‘earning patterns’, redemption complexities that thwart the customer’s earnings can cost you their participation in the program and potentially even cost you their business altogether.
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