8 Ways to Make Customer Loyalty Happen Now

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As FiO has been saying for some time, a robust Customer Loyalty Platform is the cornerstone of any effective modern marketing strategy. According to a recent Forrester study, “members of loyalty programs generate between 12 to 18% [higher] incremental revenue growth per year than non-members.”

But not all loyalty programs are created equal. As more of your competitors jump on the loyalty program wagon, it’s essential your own loyalty offering be as dynamic as possible, with your marketing finger firmly on the pulse of current consumer expectations. You need a fidelity program like FiO’s Customer Loyalty Platform with capabilities that can unlock the revenue growth potential of a solidly stable customer base.

With this in mind, here are eight fresh strategies that you need your Customer Loyalty Platform to be able to achieve for you in 2022:

1. Add real personalization to your customer loyalty program

Today’s customers want personalized journeys from their favorite brands. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when a company provides a personalized experience. But how is this accomplished?

Companies are already gathering customer insights from their loyalty programs, but often these insights are disparate and hard to access. By using machine learning and artificial intelligence technology, marketers can seamlessly deliver offers that are individually tailored to their customers. These 1:1 personalized loyalty offers are fine-tuned to individual customers based on their recent activities, rather than relying on large segments or cohorts according to demographics.

2. Make your loyalty rewards speak to the customer’s aspirations

Loyalty offerings have long been restricted to just dollars, points, and the occasional tiered reward program. And while effective, this one-size-fits-all approach to rewards limits your ability to forge personal connections with your consumers. Instead, increase customer loyalty with rewards that reflect the customer’s individual interests.

Take a hotel chain. With gold tier status comes a host of benefits-expedited check-ins, room upgrades, free spa treatments. But these perks apply to very different customers. The busy business traveler cares little about a discount on a 90-minute massage, for example. Rather than lumping everything together, the hotel chain should consider tailoring their perks to the interests of the traveler: maybe it’s a priority reservation line, expedited check-in services, or access to a superior member benefit like the navigational and discount app like the Nexit platform to show customers that you’re committed to keeping their business by continually upping your game.

3. Provide your customers an opportunity to choose their reward

Allow your customers a chance to voice their tastes. Why? Because customers like choice 82% find choice-of-reward appealing, according to a Nielsen report. By asking your customers about their interests, you increase the effectiveness of your programs and gain valuable insights, all while giving your customers the high-touch experience they crave.

A good example is how credit card companies like Mastercard and Visa offer rewards that give customers choices on how to redeem points, similar to an airline loyalty program. Customers can get anything from airline points to cashback to discounts on brand-name goods.

4. Use loyalty rewards to encourage behaviors other than purchase

Loyalty rewards are most commonly used to encourage a purchase, but they don’t have to be so limited. They can be used to incentivize customers to take all sorts of actions, like explore new product features or refer a friend. In fact, loyalty programs can be used for operational ends.

One example is grocery stores. The surge of after-work shoppers in a hurry is costly to business it requires increased staffing and leads to a poor customer experience. The smart grocery chain could, however, use its loyalty program to alleviate this crush by doling out additional rewards to customers who come at off-peak times or order ahead.

5. Use a customer’s past behavior to decide what offer to deliver and when to deliver it

Typically, customer rewards programs use geolocation to trigger the delivery of rewards. For example, every time you’re near a certain restaurant, you get an alert on your app. However, solely relying on location neither takes into account the day of the week nor the time of day. Moreover, it doesn’t take into consideration the customer’s past behaviors and preferences. Maybe the customer only visits the restaurant as a part of their weekly game-day outing for wings and beer. Or it’s a weekend-exclusive destination.

Offers for these diners outside those windows will likely fall on deaf ears. As McKinsey warned in an October 2017 report on consumer shopping habits, “Getting the timing wrong virtually eliminates the chance for a purchase while potentially annoying the customer.”

6. Test constantly, and don’t assume there’s only one winner

Take two offers-test them, and you may have one winner and one dud. But what about three months from now? The winner, thanks to market fatigue, may have lost its punch; whereas the one-time clunker, as it gains awareness and momentum, may now be a star. A one-off test would have failed to capture this reversal.

Plus, it’s important to remember that loyalty programs are not one-size-fits-all-offers and promotions may resonate differently with different segments of your customers. A loyalty program should be flexible enough to serve targeted offers to specific segments.

7. Ramp up incrementally

This all seems like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be. Establishing a clear process from the start between creative, legal, data and fulfillment can ensure offers are created and delivered without any holdups, especially if you can automate anything manual or otherwise time-consuming.

Templatizing your offers so that they are easily repeatable but also easy to change will further help. The same yearly promotion shouldn’t take the same time to build every year. Lastly, start with a small test with a specific channel or product before deploying to a wide customer audience. Using this small test allows you to learn what works and what doesn’t with fewer confounding variables.

8. Break Your Own Rules When Necessary

It is common to have set campaign objectives and goals because building customer loyalty can’t always be planned; now and again it’s ok to deviate from those strict rules. Customers are forever evolving, and switching things up is necessary to stay relevant. Repeat customers want to know that brands are open to being malleable-from the company culture to current events and trends. A common example we’ve seen has been the increased number of petitions for more sustainable options, brands that have been receptive to their loyal customers have been able to break their own rules to meet the current needs and further develop customer relationships.

7. Ramp up incrementally

This all seems like a lot, but it doesn’t have to be. Establishing a clear process from the start between creative, legal, data and fulfillment can ensure offers are created and delivered without any holdups, especially if you can automate anything manual or otherwise time-consuming.

Templatizing your offers so that they are easily repeatable but also easy to change will further help. The same yearly promotion shouldn’t take the same time to build every year. Lastly, start with a small test with a specific channel or product before deploying to a wide customer audience. Using this small test allows you to learn what works and what doesn’t with fewer confounding variables.

8. Break Your Own Rules When Necessary

It is common to have set campaign objectives and goals because building customer loyalty can’t always be planned; now and again it’s ok to deviate from those strict rules. Customers are forever evolving, and switching things up is necessary to stay relevant. Repeat customers want to know that brands are open to being malleable from the company culture to current events and trends. A common example we’ve seen has been the increased number of petitions for more sustainable options, brands that have been receptive to their loyal customers have been able to break their own rules to meet the current needs and further develop customer relationships.