Research shows that existing customers are 70% more likely than new customers to make a purchase. Keeping an existing customer is 7 times less expensive than acquiring a new customer. The math is quite simple. Customer retention is cheaper and more effective than marketing or traditional advertisement.
Thanks to automation technologies such as loyalty managers, it is quite easy to put a loyalty program in place. However, it is important to focus on strategies that actually work, instead of just turning on a loyalty program and expecting it to do all the work.
Here are some of the most successful strategies to increase your customer loyalty and retention.
1. Reward feedback and reviews
Set your loyalty manager to reward your customers when they write positive feedback or review. If they make a recommendation online, on a publicly viewable platform such as social media, reward them again. This could be a coupon, a specific number of points that get added to their account, or any other form of positive reinforcement that works well with your audience. Never forget to acknowledge when customers say something positive about your brand.
2. Use schedules of reinforcement cleverly
Schedules of reinforcement teach us that people behave in a manner we want them to when we reinforce desired behaviors intermittently. Start with reinforcing regularly, and when a customer is seasoned and has been loyal for a while, use reinforcements randomly. The surprise is the key. Reward your customers when they least expect it so that the desired behaviors occur more often.
3. Focus on improving UX of loyalty programs
Evaluate your website, application, and other interfaces where customers interact with your brand. Third-party websites and interfaces where your loyalty programs are running should be assessed for usability as well. Make it easy to sign up, subscribe, and track rewards. Studies show loyalty programs work excellently if customers are able to access their dashboard easily. For instance, do not limit yourself to text messages when it comes to communicating accumulated rewards to your customers. Make sure they can check this information quickly on your website. Integrate your loyalty manager with your app or website for a streamlined UX.
4. Make customer service part of your brand identity
While customer service is not technically a part of loyalty programs, it does build loyalty over a period of time. It is, for this reason, that customer service should be a primary element of your loyalty strategy. Customers who are treated well remain with the brand even after years. In fact, excellent and humane customer service is the single most rewarding loyalty program you can ever have.
5. Keep loyalty and reward programs accessible
You can have the best-automated loyalty manager in place, and provide the most amazing customer service. But if your reward programs do not make sense, or are too difficult for customers to redeem, they will fail. Loyalty programs should be easy, attainable, and enjoyable. Don’t leave your customers feeling like they have been made to work too hard for getting too less. A reward should feel like a reward. Otherwise, it will in fact hurt your brand.
6. Make following up a regular practice
It is human nature to feel valued when pursued, albeit with consent and respect. Make sure to follow up on your customers with retargeting ads and email newsletters. Send our birthday greetings and anniversary messages. Infrequently, send out survey questionnaires that help understand what your existing customers need and how you can help them. Most importantly, do not stalk your customers, or be too pushy. Be gentle, respectful, yet follow up from time to time.
Customize loyalty programs to suit your unique situation
A successful customer loyalty strategy always requires you to do quite a lot of things as stated above. Start with rewarding feedback and reviews, and reinforce desired behavior intermittently. Make it easy to enroll and collect rewards, and provide superlative customer service. Follow up with your customers regularly, and focus on building real relationships with them.
A loyalty program is the glue that seals the bond between your customers and your brand.
Contact us today to identify and implement the best customer loyalty strategies for your business.