Taking care of your best customers is an age-old concept. It has lasted all these years because it works. Loyalty programs are one of many ways you can do this for these top priority people. When it comes to loyalty programs, you cannot forget certain vital features, and according to a recent report, one of them is easier than you think.
Per the 2017 Colloquy Loyalty Census, there are 3.8 billion memberships for loyalty programs. Although the rate of memberships is increasing, it is not increasing at the rate it did in 2015. Experts suppose the lower growth rate occurred because the U.S. loyalty market is mature, so getting new members is growing more difficult than years past. In fact, in Retail Customer Experience, the author of the Colloquy census said that“retailers need to up their game on how to attract and retain members within their loyalty programs.”
It sounds simple enough in concept, upping one’s game but what does that mean in action? How do you attract and retain members in your loyalty program?
How to Up Your Loyalty Program’s Game
In our global Customer Experience Consultancy, we recommend some things to improve your loyalty program, including:
· The loyalty program needs to feel exclusive, meaning if everyone has it, then it isn’t special.
· It should also make the customer feel valued and important; emotional bonds drive value and creating that bond with your customer through your loyalty program is essential.
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· It should provide an experiential award if possible to make customers feel special.
However, the Colloquy Loyalty Census revealed another important statistic that 53% of people in the U.S. that are in a loyalty program take part because it is easy to use. That’s because easy is crucial to people, particularly as it pertains to Customer Experience.
So we add:
· It must be easy.
Why Easy is So Important to People
In my latest book, The Intuitive Customer, my co-author Professor Ryan Hamilton and I discuss why easy is so important to customers—and it’s not what you think. One of the seven imperatives that we included to help our readers understand why people do what they do in a Customer Experience is this:
Imperative 5: Uncover the Hidden Causes and Unintended Consequences of Customers Wanting Things to Be Easy
People love easy because it doesn’t require us to expend our energy. This conservation of energy dates back to times when getting food was more challenging than it is today. We conserved our energy because we weren’t sure when (or whether) we were going to have our next meal. While food is now easy to get—at least when compared to catching, killing, skinning, and cooking it over an open fire that we had to start without matches—we still conserve our energy at an instinctual level. Easy experiences are our favorites because they play right into our natural, energy-conserving instincts.
If you can make any part of your Customer Experience easy, from the information gathering to the ordering process to the loyalty program, then you are taking an important step to move your Customer Experience to the next level. Not only is it what the customer wants, but it also shows that you have a customer-focus as an organization, two crucial concepts for competitive differentiation.
There is a bonus here, too. Easy experiences tend to be consistent. Consistency is excellent for your Customer Experience, mainly because it makes it easy for you, too, in the following three ways:
· Consistent experiences facilitate easier training for employees.
· Consistent experiences make it easier to forecast results.
· Consistent experiences help you identify ways to keep your costs low.
Having a robust and thriving membership in your loyalty program is one of many metrics you can use to measure how you are doing with your Customer Experience. The 2017 Colloquy Loyalty Census indicates that when it comes to your loyalty program, there might be no other factor that increases member participation in it than how easy it is to use. After all, forgetting to make your loyalty program easy might make it easy for them to forget about you.
Have you given up being a loyal customer as it’s not easy enough? Let us know in the comments below.
To read more about this concept and the six others that are essential to moving your Customer Experience to the next level, read The Intuitive Customer: 7 Imperatives to moving your Customer Experience to the next level. My latest book, co-authored with Professor Ryan Hamilton of Emory University, describes where Behavioral Economics meets Customer Experience in an easy to understand and practical way.