The other day I was craving a fancy coffee drink. Instead of going to the closest coffee shop, I drove an extra two or three miles just to purchase my coffee at a place where I have loyalty points stacking up.
Now that is some dedication – is it dedication to the brand, or to saving a buck or two? Who knows! But it was an extra sale for that coffee shop, and one step closer to redeeming a reward, so wins all around!
Customers love reward cards
As a marketer, I began thinking more about customer loyalty programs, wondering how many loyalty and rewards programs I personally have joined over the years.
My scientific methodology involved dumping out my extremely large and unorganized purse. I discovered 19 different loyalty cards/programs between the cards on my keychain and the ones in my wallet! And I know I belong to other programs that do not require a card, so I estimate I belong to or participate in about 25 programs total.
Some of these loyalty programs are a simple punch card – if I buy six coffees, for example, and the seventh is free. Others are more sophisticated where I have a loyalty card I swipe and everything from my purchases, the points I accrue, and the points I redeem are tracked.
Loyalty programs and customer experience must be simple
After deciding it was time to declutter my purse, I began sifting through the 20 or so cards that I carry around, and it takes me at least five minutes to sift through all my cards while standing at the checkout counter.
I can’t imagine I am the only person out there with 25 different loyalty cards. I bet there are many customers out there who are active in loyalty programs.
So how do we as marketers and businesses shine above the others? It is all about the customer experience.
A premium customer experience will lead to loyal customers. Ask yourself, do you provide a premium customer experience compared to your competition? Are you a customer-centric organization?
You do, and are if you provide:
* A simple experience
* Rewards for purchases, reviews, and ratings
* Highly targeted offers
* Relevant and real-time rewards, or
* Offers and rewards across preferred online and/or offline channels.
Invest in your customer, and they will invest in your brand
Focusing and investing in a loyalty program is not a wasted effort. According to a survey conducted by Forrester Research, “Loyalty program members spend more with traditional retailers than other shoppers. Their average spend in the past three months at the time of the survey was $184, versus $141 for nonmembers” (How Consumers Really Feel About Loyalty Programs. Landscape: The Customer Loyalty Playbook, Forrester, May 2017).
So, if a customer loyalty program is not part of your sales and marketing strategy today, I suggest exploring how it could affect your bottom line.
If you have a loyalty management program, be sure to evaluate it and see if you and your customers are reaping the rewards you both deserve.