Did you know your loyalty program is also a powerful tool to help your front line surprise and delight?
I recently returned from a lovely week at Club Med Punta Cana. We travelled with my childhood friend, Karmen, and her family who highly recommended it. Since it was her 5th visit in 5 years, it was a pretty strong testimonial for how great it must be. She first went when her first child was just a baby. It made me think – what keeps her going back?
While living in NYC, my husband and I rarely went to the same restaurant twice because the city is full of amazing restaurants and we wanted to try them all. We apply the same logic to traveling. Before this trip, I would never have considered going back to the same resort over and over.
Karmen jokes that it’s “pure laziness” that keeps her going back to the same resort. Digging deeper, I learned three things drive her decision to return:
- Consistency – she knows what to expect and every year her experience is always positive
- Continuous improvement – every year something has changed for the better, such as rooms, amenities and most recently a new adults-only area and Cirque de Soleil circus school (both were fantastic)
- Amazing staff – every interaction is sincere and everyone makes you feel welcome and like a friend. Everyone tries their best to take care of you, no matter the language barrier
That’s when it clicked for me. It’s the front line – the people who interact directly with your customers – and their delivery of the extras that the company offers that bring customers back. I focus my time on thinking about loyalty programs and how to leverage and improve them to drive customer loyalty. I lost sight of another key driver of customer loyalty – how customers are treated. Customers remember (and talk about) their interactions with people. Your front line brings your loyalty program to life.
What can loyalty program managers do to make it easier for their front line colleagues to deliver memorable experiences?
- Empower them – Make it easy for the front line to identify customers at the higher tiers and empower your team to give special and delightful treatments to all your customers, especially those at the top tier.
Educate them – Make sure it’s easy to understand how to earn points and the key benefits of the different levels. If your front line can’t understand it, they won’t be comfortable singing its praises to your customers.
Excite them – Encourage your front line to participate in the loyalty program. If possible, offer special employee bonus points for registration. It’s easier to talk and gush about something they’ve had positive experiences with first-hand.
Engage them – Spend time with your front line colleagues – talk to them; shadow them. They know your customer better than you do because they interact with them everyday. Ask them for ideas for improvement and for stories customers have shared about your program. Lots of hidden gems there for marketing ideas.
In summary, as program managers, we should remember that our loyalty program is also a powerful tool that can help the make it easier for our colleagues that interact with the customer. It’s in our best interest to make sure the team understands the program, has experienced the program and is empowered to leverage aspects of the program to deliver the memorable experiences that ultimately drive customer loyalty.