Effective customer loyalty programmes

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The pace at which new technology arrives can be frightening and it’s easy to get carried away with how something may potentially help you engage with your customers. Remember though, cutting edge technology will be new for you and your customers – so keep technology focused, relevant and simple. Avoid the temptation to over complicate.

You can use technology to reach, ‘touch’ and keep in front of customers. You can go further as organisations like Land Rover have done for example, by creating a unique digital experience for potential new customers linking technical in-car applications, driving experience, dealer and test drive in one holistic, very powerful, experience. Whilst this isn’t an option for many organisations, there are some tips which will serve you well in the context of customer loyalty planning and execution.

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of the consumer

Consumers already embrace technology which is embedded in to their daily lives and constantly at their fingertips. If you’re not offering personalised, relevant, targeted and a streamlined experience across web or customer portal channels, you’re at risk of underwhelming existing and prospective customers.

Basic, existing technology can be used to personalise an alert with a special offer if a customer has abandoned a shopping bag for example. Or has not logged on to their account for a given period of time. Or for example if a customer is close to achieving a reward level or has browsed at a special offer but not yet purchased. Passive engagement tools like this can be kept low-key and are often employed by major brands and recognised by modern consumers.

  1. Mobile is increasingly important

Several years ago, we were telling clients that nearly 20% of their web visitors came through mobile or hand-held devices. For many b2b organisations, that figure is at around 40% or higher today. The point is that most of us communicate, socialise, browse, watch, research, playback, shop, pay and do all sorts of things through our mobile.

It means that all planned customer loyalty engagement should be responsive and intelligent – because it saves time, keeps you relevant and is expected by consumers.

Mobile offers limitless potential for customer loyalty and data collection – but critically, it enables you to engage in real time. You can link payments directly to the customer for instant insights in to buying preferences and spending habits. You can deliver personalised offers at the till-point (in-store) for known / registered customers. You can use SMS.

  1. Location, location!

Just like beacons in buildings can control light settings (on / off) by detecting movement, iBeacons can be used in-store to communicate with a recognised (registered) customer and promote offers as they walk near to certain lines – you can also link web browsing history to trigger promotions / messages. At the simplest level, you can harness technology to manage the customer experience and positively influence what they see / consider / think about (at home or in-store).

  1. In-branch Wi-Fi

Research shows that shoppers can decide where to shop based on quality of mobile signal or the availability of Wi-Fi in store. Wi-Fi registration enables you to collect data on footfall, browsing activity and customer demographics. And remember, customers want in-store technology to enhance their shopping experience.

  1. Segment and target

Segmenting your data lets you build communities of like-minded individuals or create a basket of common customers – where you can use specific messages which will resonate and be based on their preferences, tastes of interests.

  1. Don’t hide behind technology

Apps and other tools enable organisations to enhance the customer experience and drive online purchasing however most customers still welcome contact or the opportunity to talk to a real person from time to time. Think about a balance between technology, customer preference and human contact – even it is via help desk.

The Internet of Things, wearable devices and lots more is just beginning to touch our lives and will, I’m sure, create new trends for the future. However if in doubt, keep things relevant and simple. For example enabling the customer to set preferences, asking them to opt-in to receive SMS or store messages etc, will all put them in the driving seat and give them the option to share preferences and you can harness this data and intelligence responsibly and effectively.

However retaining basics such as ‘My preferences’, a ‘Help Desk’, historic searches and linking what you see to personalised messages designed to positively influence propensity to spend and relevance, is smart and often expected. Just don’t over do it. And don’t make it over complicated.

About the author

Ben is a Digital Marketing Manager at First4Loyalty – a customer loyalty and retention specialist who collaborate, design, manage and report on customer loyalty programmes for B2B and B2C companies. Clients receive assistance or managed eComms tailored to a loyalty programme. Some clients have seen a sales uplift of 200% against previous purchase history of segmented customers.

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