Almost every company out there has a loyalty program by now. Small businesses may have something simple like a punch-card system, and bigger businesses have other offers such as cards connected to their businesses, or more elaborate point-systems. The point is – if you’re looking to build a more solid base of customers for your business, you’re going to want to design your own loyalty program for your customers.
But with so many other loyalty programs out there, how do you design one for your customers that you know will stand out? There are many models and strategies for loyalty programs – so you need to find the one that fits you best. Make sure it fits the style of your business, as well as meets your customer’s needs.
Make sure you also keep in mind that – as of right now – consumers have developed a skepticism of loyalty programs. Whether this is because the consumer is already a part of too many others, or they signed up for one that was misrepresented and regretted it later – you need to ensure you can walk your customers past this skepticism and provide a proper incentive for them to join yours.
Connect with your Customers
Since each business is different and runs on a different model, not every type of loyalty program will work for every business. An essential step in determining what type of loyalty program to employ is to take the pulse of your customers.
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This doesn’t have to be in the form of a customer survey or anything like that. It can be as simple as thinking about your regular customers and what they like about your business. What brings them back time and again? When you can determine what your customers want, you can design a rewards program to tempt them.
Design Proper Incentives
Not thinking of your customer’s needs when you design the program means that you run the risk of making a program that doesn’t offer the right incentives to your customers. If you miss the mark when it comes to incentives, you may as well not have a loyalty program at all.
According to George Sink Jr., Attorney and Marketing Director at George Sink, P. A. Injury Lawyers, “Loyalty programs are a dime a dozen now – so if you want yours to stand out, you need to really understand what a customer wants – and over-deliver. This can be anything from making sign-up painless, to giving that personal touch (handwritten cards or special access) to finding ways to save them time (we drive out to meet any client that wants it). If they’ve been loyal to you, referring others to you, then you need to show your loyalty to them. Put in the time and show them the effort.”
If you’ve already figured out what your customers want, designing the incentive should be relatively easy. Do they want more savings? Give them more savings. Do they periodically come back? A point system might be best for them. Decide what will benefit both your business, and your customer, and you’ll have the basis for a good rewards program.
Don’t be too Pushy
The last thing to keep in mind when it comes to loyalty programs is that no one likes to be nagged. Yes, you want to offer your customers the program and the rewards – you want people to sign up – but asking repeatedly is a recipe for irritation and anger on the part of your customers.
You want your customers to feel invested or rewarded by your loyalty program. Jumping down their throat about it won’t help you build a loyal customer base. In fact, it will drive away your potential customers, rather than incentivize them to return.
You’ll have to find a balance between telling your customers about your program, and overwhelming them. It may take a little work – you want them to know the perks of the program, after all – but once you find the balance, you’ll have an easier time building up a base of customers in your loyalty program.