Building Brand Loyalty That’s Relevant for Today's Customers
Retaining consumer attention is a challenge and the old ways of running a loyalty program just aren't cutting it anymore. However, a carefully built program, backed by data-driven insights & a keen understanding of your customer base, can be game-changing.
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The success of loyalty programs prevails in perceiving market conditions, customer behaviours, and industry trends. Loyalty programs encourage customers to not only feel more satisfied but also to spend more money. To build a new reward system in the post-pandemic digital world is a game-changing opportunity. Innovative programs help firms identify their most valuable patrons, improve retention, and enhance the efficiency of marketing communications. Consumers, on the other hand, benefit from personalized experience and coherent interactions with the firms. It is obvious that companies must adapt quickly to augment their loyalty programs in tandem with their digital transformation.
But where to start? How to progress? And, what to achieve?
In the previous article - Customer Loyalty in the Digital Age, we looked at how customer loyalty is evolving in this digital age. In this article, let’s talk about how loyalty programs need to re-evaluate themselves in this digital age to stay relevant.
Data is the starting point
“Start by aggregating and examining all of your data and look for data points like buyer segments and engagement rates,” says Tom Caporaso, CEO, Clarus Commerce.
Retailers must gather data in real-time to capture insights about purchasing behaviours of their patrons. Moreover, companies must seek feedback from loyal customers about their pain points and preferences in addition to using consumers’ recommendations to tweak program features.
Your loyalty strategy should be based on the information you have about your customers. Only then can you effectively incentivize new behaviours.
Tailor your program to post-pandemic consumer behaviours
When rewards and activities run out or get monotonous, new ones must be developed to meet the ever-changing needs of customers.
“The pandemic has changed customer behaviours, values, opinions, and preferences,” noted Annich McIntosh, CEO of Loyalty Magazine, during Quantum Mob’s Loyalty strategy panel discussion. “Also, people are struggling financially, so small rewards are more relevant now,” she added.
Due to the lockdown, consumers show less enthusiasm for in-store visits, avoid using cards, and prefer to pay contactless. Social distancing rules have created a surge in online shopping and the mass adoption of digital-based shopping behaviours, such as curbside pickup, grocery, and restaurant deliveries. In line with these developments, retailers must tailor loyalty programs to customers’ preferences, incentivize engagement, and go beyond rewarding purchases to foster brand affection.
Strengthen customer support
The pandemic-fueled rise in online shopping, where service failures are more common, has exacerbated the problem to the point where loyalty programs are falling short of expected service. For instance, longer wait times at call centers disappoint loyal customers as they expect a speedy service as their membership benefit.
“The first step in caring is to reach out—not in marketing or overt attempts to gain a competitive edge, but to offer genuine support.”
- Rachel Diebner et al. (2020), Consultant, McKinsey & Company
Companies re-evaluating their loyalty strategy must note that saving time for loyal customers is as important as saving money. Setting up dedicated phone lines and online video chat support for loyalty members is just one way to promptly address their queries and cater to their needs to ensure that all loyal customers receive first-class treatment and will continue to value your brand.
Utilize data and feedback to design the best loyalty program for your customers. Loyalty programs are typically a blend of various elements - discounts, gifts, points, etc. However, consumer behaviour is the deciding factor in developing the right mix of these elements. Loyalty evolves as a result of engagement. Put an emphasis on engagement, and brand loyalty will follow.
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