Content is the key to building stronger relationships with users. Loyalty has long been considered to be a one-dimensional experience: you spend time or money and are given points in return. Traditionally, points programs and rewards were the backbones of loyalty initiatives.
However, in today’s evolving landscape solely offering financial rewards is not enough anymore. Members not only expect, but demand more than that. This new age requires personalized experiences that drive loyalty. Experiences that curate a sense of community, that are consistent across platforms, and also makes the member feel valued. The programs that have their goals in line with the evolving needs and expectations of their members are destined for a rewards program that drive more meaningful engagement.
It’s a new day
Consumers’ desire for seamless, compelling and personalized experiences is driving the next generation of customer loyalty. In short, build stronger relationships with consistent content.
To keep pace with customer expectations, programs need to update their outdated definition of loyalty and focus on the level of engagement customers have with the program across channels. In order to earn and maintain their loyalty, it is important to deliver real value to the user. Programs that focus solely on transactions are missing the true opportunity within their loyalty program – a method for customers to establish an emotional connection.
The difficulty for the modern rewards program lies in operating the messaging mix throughout multiple online touch points. Programs are used to having only one touchpoint – the website. With the explosive adoption of mobile device and the obsessive use of social media being widespread, programs have several opportunities to create lasting relationships with their members.
In its simplest form, a loyalty program is about creating a community for customers. That community and program can then extend across multiple channels; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and whatever channel is of interest to the program member’s. Taking an “omni-channel” approach where the program itself acts as a central engagement hub that is complemented and augmented by other methods of engagement is a strategy worth considering.
Content with a purpose
Since consumers are spending so much time on their devices, they have become more in tune with how companies message them and use those messages to formulate their opinion of a brand.
Now more than ever, consumers want to be communicated with and rewarded based on their tastes and preferences. They want to receive exclusive access to experiences and products that they covet in exchange for their loyalty.
With that said, member satisfaction is tied to the extent to which members deem messaging personally relevant. And many programs are missing a key component in their messaging: delivering relevant and personalized messages in order to build stronger relationships that engage and retain members.
Put yourself in their shoes
Winning and retaining customer loyalty in the new era of loyalty requires a mix of personalization and omni-channel engagement. Leverage these messages build trust with the member and establishes a sense of value and genuineness for the program.
Consumers are smart, they know that by joining a program they are being tracked, but it comes at a price. Consumers want something of value in exchange for being a part of a program. The easy thing to do is to offer a low-value reward in exchange for being allowed to track a member, but that does not build loyalty. There has to be something more for a member to truly become loyal.
In an ideal world, a loyalty program makes the member feel like the program knows them and offers them relevant services given their familiarity with them. It’s similar to walking into your neighborhood coffee shop and being greeted by the cashier and barista that knows exactly how you take it. Simply blasting messages about a reward that the member has no interest in is like being served an apple juice when what you really want is a latte. Force feeding members messaging and rewards that they have no interest in is prohibiting them from becoming loyal.
While personalization is something that should be a focus for programs, it is important to ensure that the overall messaging and experience is in line with the goals of the program. The optimal rewards, incentives, and messaging varies significantly from customer to customer, but the overall branding and experience must remain true to the program.
The programs that achieve cohesiveness throughout their loyalty programs touch points will reap the benefits.
It’s in your hands now
There is clearly no one way to build strong relationships with your members, but here are a few tips to get you thinking about the next steps:
Establish your goals – What are you trying to accomplish? How will the goals drive results for your business?
Evaluate your existing program and strategies – What has been successful and what hasn’t? (Tip: double down on what resonates and get rid of the rest)
Understand member expectations – What do they value? Develop your loyalty strategy around delivering value to the member.
Embrace omni-channel – Join efforts with other departments to present unified messaging to the member.
Teamwork to make the dream work
Find the right partners to help you accomplish your goals
Keep your ear to the streets
Listen to members and get their feedback – Members are the lifeblood of any loyalty program.
Make improvements – Revise your program based on feedback, and provide value and incorporate personalized offers.