When you mention loyalty programs to someone, most of the time they roll their eyes and tell you a story about the worst loyalty program ever. After hearing multiple stories like this, I am forced to ask, are loyalty programs a thing of the past?
If you have a loyalty program or are thinking about developing a loyalty program, this is the blog post for you. You need to keep the following in mind to keep or develop a rewarding loyalty program.
Customers Want to See Results
If you offer a loyalty program, customers want to see they are saving money or earning points to receive some kind of perk. If it takes too long or they never receive a reward, you will lose their loyalty. People leave loyalty programs when they no longer feel the reward is within their reach.
Loyalty Rewards Shouldn’t Be Complicated
If your customers have to jump through hoops to get their reward, they won’t find your loyalty program rewarding. You want your customer to prove they are loyal to your company, but once it comes time to get their reward it needs to be simple. If you make it too complicated, you will gain annoyed customers instead of loyal customers.
Consistency is the Key
While it may take time to develop a loyalty program that works, you need to stick with one idea. If you constantly change the way your loyalty program works, you will frustrate your customers. Most people like to know if they buy ten coffees, they will get one free. If they come in one day and find out your loyalty program has changed, they will feel like you no longer value their loyalty. If you decide to change your loyalty program, remember to give customers time to adjust and always honor the original offer for a reasonable period of time.
Focus on Relationship Building
Loyalty programs are built to foster relationships with customers. Michael Hemsey, president of Kobie Marketing, says in an article from Inc. Magazine, "You should figure out which relationships are most important for your business and design a rewards program that cultivates those customers." If your loyalty program won't reward the customers you want coming back, you need to figure out what will motivate your key customers.
Loyalty programs can be extremely beneficial to businesses. One of the most important things to keep in mind is loyalty programs should supplement your loyalty strategy not act as your loyalty strategy. If you’re interested in learning more about loyalty programs, check out another blog post on valuing loyal customers.