Loyalty Programs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and I’m sure that each of us belong to at least one. So, when you think about the Loyalty Programs you love most, what things make them stand out?
- Exchange value
Consumers aren’t fools. They can tell when we’re receiving real value, versus a brand pretending we’re in some sort of exclusive club. When I look at Loyalty Programs, there are two primary components that create real value: 1) understanding who each customer is (the data), and 2) treating the customer the way they want (and deserve) to be treated.
Getting, and using, customer data intelligently is not something new–in fact, if I go back in time, I’ve probably referenced this in every post I’ve ever written. The fact of the matter is, your customer data remains at the core of everything you do; and if you don’t treat it like the diamond it is, then you can’t have a solid core at all.
And then we talk about treating customers the way they want to be treated; which is different than treating customers the way you want to treat them. This relationship is not about you. If your customers don’t feel the benefits from participating in your Loyalty Program, is it really a Loyalty Program at all? Maybe in name, but not in truth.
OK, so let’s say we’re creating value—we know who our customers are (down to the individual), and we’re treating them the way they want to be treated–but wait! How do we know how they want to be treated?
- Talk to your Customers
Customers are people, and as businesses we can get so stuck in Customer Profiles and mass messaging that we start to treat all those individuals as a batch. Now, I’m not saying there aren’t marketing strategies that need these groupings, but when it comes to understanding how customers want to interact with your brand, that is a wholly individualized preference. I want you to remember that key word–preference.
Another thing we often misinterpret as a brand is the difference between a permission and a preference. Let’s look at the definitions below:
Permission: The legal ability to contact someone via a specified channel.
Preference: The customer-designated ability to contact someone for a specific purpose, within a specific channel.
Historically, brands have only focused on the permission piece of consent; otherwise known as “what can I put in writing that won’t get me in legal trouble?” This is short-sighted. Yes, you will be protecting yourself from legal action, but you’re NOT creating a true relationship with your customers.
A preference, on the other hand, involves asking your customer for feedback: is the value that your brand has provided so far enough to facilitate an exchange for their contact information? You must interact with your customer for them to provide a preference; so yes, there is more of an investment required from you. But think about it this way: if I ask my customer for their preference, and they give it to me, how much more likely are they to:
- Make another purchase?
- Spend more money with my brand?
- Recommend me to a friend or family member?
Based on the data that SPLICE has seen over the years, we’re looking at customers who are:
- 3x more likely to make another purchase
- Spend more than double on additional purchases;
- More likely to refer you; and
- More likely to shop in extremes (temperatures, local events, etc.)
Now that sounds like the type of customers I want…
Bring It All Together
The formula is simple: Real Value + Customer Preferences = True Loyalty
And once you have true loyalty, don’t you, by default, have a program that customers are excited about? I’d like to finish with another reference back to your favorite Loyalty Clubs. Can you identify what they are doing with these two factors to create excitement for you?
Now look at your brand--are you doing the same thing? It’s never too late to start!
Not sure where to start? Contact the SPLICE Client Success Team and we will help you get started!
Editor's Note: this blog was originally published in February 2018 but was updated in July 2020 for consistency and freshness.