The goal of launching rewards and loyalty programs is to simply win the hearts and souls of the customers in your niche. Once you have won the trust and honor of your customers via special incentive programs, you may gain their respect and loyalty for a lifetime.
The customer is king, says the adage. The statement is on point every time. In all excellent businesses, the treatment of the customer takes first priority. Everything the company does is to inspire the customer to keep coming and to steadily increase the customer base. Such companies engage their customers on a constant basis.
Without the customer, there would be no successful businesses or organizations reaching Fortune 500 status. Without the focus on building relationships with the customer, the hope of customer loyalty is an illusion.
Getting Customers to Join Your Rewards Program
To assure effective implementation of a reward or loyalty program, a company needs to have a fully formed strategy. Randomly attempting to get people to join the rewards program is a recipe for disinterest and failure when it comes to an increasing customer base.
To develop such strategy a company and all of its employees must acknowledge that the customer should always be at the center of attention. An effective strategy should consist of five dynamic practices:
Give the customer undue attention at all times of interaction. Make them feel like they are number one, regardless of how you feel. Whenever you focus on the needs and wants of your customers, they feel like your company really cares about them. They often want to come back.
Getting Customers Involved
Get customers involved in your rewards or loyalty programs. Make sure that they are well-informed about how the program works. Mention it during interactions. Instructions for joining the rewards program should be simple to understand and offer sufficient value to inspire maximum interest.
Developing the program
Continue to add value to the rewards or loyalty program. Expand incentives for purchasing certain items during special product or service promotions. Consider the various holidays and seasonal times during the course of the year.
Letting Customer s Know that you are Appreciative
When customers walk into your business, let them know that you are grateful by thanking them for their service. Get them feeling good about giving you their service. When customers know that you are grateful for their business, the emotional charge is ripe for getting them to join your rewards or loyalty programs.
Making Your Employees Accountable
Inform every employee that each of them is responsible for getting customers to join the loyalty program. Every interaction should be an opportunity to get customers to come on board. This means that your employees cannot be indifferent or passive toward people.
Outstanding customer service is the bread and butter of any business dreaming of becoming a success in a particular industry. Therefore extreme time, effort and money should be put into creating policies that maximize customer appreciation.
Type of Influential Reward and Loyalty Programs
The type of reward or loyalty programs is important. All customers will not resonate with the same reward type. Below are five of the most common ones:
Automatic Rewards: a program in which the customer earns points for every single dollar spent. The points can be converted into rewards. Super America (SA) effectively uses this type of reward program for its customers.
The more points accumulated on an SA reward card the greater the choice of rewards the customer can choose, including impressive free gas gift cards.
Bankable Points: a program in which points are allowed to accumulate until they can be converted into various rewards
Purchase Discounts: reward programs members receive a discount with every purchase. Barnes & Nobles is a good example of the purchase discount rewards program. Members who purchase books or any other item receive discounts with every transaction.
Specific Item Frequency: a program in which customers earn points or incentives for purchasing specific items. An example could be Buy one, Get one Free.
Visit Frequency: in this program customers receive points for each time they come into the business. The points can be converted to product or service rewards. Super America coffee lovers can receive a free any-sized coffee beverage after every five coffee purchase visits.
Weekday Special: a program in which customers get a free item for visiting on a particular day of the week. For example, Holiday Gas Station provides a free coffee beverage every Tuesday for all coffee lovers.
The Benefits of Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
No company or organization can excel without a great degree of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Businesses indifferent to the needs and wants of customers stay small but businesses which are appreciative of customers grow and leap and bounds. Such companies know how to offer value to the customers which exceed that of the competition. In return an excellent business receives:
- Boosted Growth
- Repeated Business
- Increased sale
- Customer Satisfaction
- Credible feedback
- Minimized service cost
- Reduced marketing cost
- Competitive advantage
- Outstanding Brand image
Great brands emerge from the sea of competition because they offer the customer value and then more and more value. The creation of such value begins with an ever-evolving pattern of rewards and loyalty programs designed to win the heart and soul of customers on an ongoing basis.
The reason you and I have become regular customers of the businesses and organizations in our reality occurs because of what value we receive. Super American has become a favorite of mine due to my love of coffee. My participation in the rewards program guarantees free coffee, gas and more as long as I stay loyal to the program.
Any start-up should be well aware of the power and effectiveness of rewards and loyalty programs which can improve the image and reputation of their businesses more than any other marketing endeavor. Customers who are excited about what they are getting from you give you an overwhelming advantage of the competition any day of the week.