You know the adage, “the customer is always right”. It is as relevant today as ever. With all of the moving pieces of building any business, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that customer happiness is crucial to earning their loyalty and building a successful business.

Here are 8 helpful tips to boost retention, and a reminder of how your actions affect your members’ behavior and loyalty to your business:

1. The best way to earn loyalty isn’t always clear-cut

Building relationships with members leads to improved behavioral loyalty and engagement. But, building a relationship with all members in the same way, regardless of characteristics, might not the best way forward. Member characteristics factor into the relationship, behavior, and profit equation with the member.

2. Adding value is a sure path to retention

Too many programs overlook opportunities to add value to members when focusing on their goal of retaining members. Often times, program managers have limited internal resources or budget, which acts as a barrier to providing members real value. Thankfully, technology has afforded us a number of apps and services that make it easier than ever before to help programs add value. For example there are email providers to help communicate easier, reward platforms to give back and keep members engaged, or marketing platforms for in-app messaging. There many options for innovative and exciting loyalty programs to consistently engage members with added value.

3. Brands can gain a competitive edge with loyalty metrics

Members’ experiences have reached new heights as they search for real value in the products they associate with. At a time when programs are struggling to differentiate themselves from their competition and to find ways to profitably engage their customers, brands that respond with a truly consumer-centric view of their category – by delighting the customer based on predictive loyalty metrics – stand to gain the most and establish themselves as the leaders of tomorrow.

4. Good customer experiences are more profitable

Member experience plays a significant role in determining where members choose to spend their time and money. An exceptional experience creates more loyal members and it also has the power to impact a company’s success or failure. In fact, by focusing on delivering exceptional customer experiences, businesses now have the opportunity to grow their customer bases, improve brand loyalty, and increase overall revenues.

5. Bad customer experience stories travel fast

Let’s face it, customers are far more likely to spread the word about a bad experience than a good one, suggesting a strong inclination to engage in negative word-of-mouth. Marketers trying to find their best word-of-mouth advocates will have a better chance if they look within their loyalty program first because that database contains up to three times as many advocates as a non-rewards member database. Loyalty marketers have already built a powerful word-of-mouth platform (in the form of their rewards program) but they must also remember that even the strongest of advocates can also switch sides depending on the treatment they receive.

6. Most people defect after a bad service experience

The battleground of today is the ‘customer experience’, despite fewer than one in ten consumers feeling that companies are doing a good job. That just shows how much room there is for improvement. In fact, in a commoditized market, other key factors such as the customer experience (which includes good customer service) become the key differentiator. It’s absolutely critical to inspire confidence and build long-term relationships with customers as early in the customer lifecycle as possible in order to build a strong and loyal customer base.

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7. Satisfaction surveys are essential

With today’s marketplace being increasingly driven by customer needs and opinions, there are a number of reasons behind marketers’ increasing focus on customer satisfaction surveys. Most customers will not defect to a competitor if their complaint is resolved to their satisfaction. In order to avoid dissatisfaction, it is good to check customer satisfaction at least once before every interaction is concluded.  In this way more complaints can potentially be prevented from turning into defections. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric commonly used to track customer satisfaction.

8. Generation Y is redefining how customer loyalty is earned

The ‘Millennial’ generation is presenting marketers with some new challenges and changes as it comes of age and takes the reins of the global economy. In fact, these consumers are set to change the way in which companies and brands build sustainable customer loyalty. With so many Baby Boomers retiring now, it’s important for marketers to understand how Millennial attitudes toward technology, data privacy and rewards are changing the way brands build strong, profitable relationships with their best customers. Millennials are even more willing to participate in loyalty and reward programs than their parents, but they also expect more from their loyalty programs – like being easy to use on any device and offering augmented customer experiences from non-members with custom and relevant offers.

The moral of the story is simple. Keep the member experience top of mind from the moment they reach your site or app through to their daily experience using the product and their interactions. Use cost effective tools to communicate and add value to the member experience and differentiate yourself from the competition.

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