How Can You Improve Your Customer Loyalty Program?

opinionThe following is a guest contributed post from Danielle Brown, VP of Marketing at Points.

For most modern businesses, customer loyalty isn’t just an added benefit — it’s a requirement. That’s no surprise considering that 81 percent of consumers are more likely to continue doing business with brands that offer loyalty programs. But just because a company has a working loyalty program doesn’t mean that they’ll have customers pounding down their doors — chalk that up to the fact that the average consumer belongs to 29 different loyalty programs, but only participates in just 12 of them.

Because the average customer belongs to so many different loyalty programs, your brand is always at risk of being lost among a sea of different loyalty options — especially if you’re competing with big-name brands and retailers that already have well-known loyalty programs. However, you don’t need a renowned loyalty program to appeal to consumers. In fact, all you really have to do to drive engagement is to improve upon your current loyalty offerings. Here are three quick hacks that employ the cornerstones of customer loyalty — convenience, attention and engagement — to help your program stand out from the rest.

Create a seamless experience

Customers will interact with your loyalty program across a variety of channels – including online, via mobile device and for some, via traditional loyalty cards. With consumers accessing loyalty programs across different touchpoints, convenience and consistency are the key to delivering a great customer experience. According to a recent study, 66 percent of consumers would have a more positive opinion of a loyalty program if they could store and access information on their smartphone in a mobile wallet app. With the growth of mobile, brands need to place a particular emphasis on the mobile loyalty customer experience.

You can make the mobile experience more convenient for customers by integrating your loyalty program with a mobile wallet, so that consumers can have a single platform to manage and track all of their points and miles. Take Points Loyalty Wallet for example, which helps users track their loyalty points by providing real-time updates when they sign in — regardless of whether they’re using a computer, tablet or mobile device. In addition to tracking and redeeming their points and miles, most consumers want to spend their rewards in a loyalty program of their choice. You can give them that option by simply plugging your program into a loyalty platform that gives customers the ability to exchange their points and miles from one program to another. In this case, you’re not competing with major brands, rather, you’re leveraging their loyalty programs to improve your own.

By giving your customers the ability to track, redeem and exchange all of their points and miles on a mobile device, you’ll make it easier than ever for members to connect with your program, which provides them with further incentive to use your brand over others.

Collect relevant feedback and insights

A quick and cost-effective way to improve your loyalty program is to collect relevant customer feedback. Not only does customer feedback help you improve your loyalty program offerings, but it also shows customers that you’re paying close attention to their opinions,, increasing the chances of their continued engagement with your brand.

Two keys to successfully collecting customer feedback are asking the right questions and incentivizing loyalty program members for their feedback. In many cases, the survey questions and accompanying answer choices are far too general, leading to a lack of actionable feedback retailers and other businesses can use to improve their loyalty programs. Instead of “Are you satisfied with our loyalty program offerings?,” consider asking questions such as, “What do you like best about our loyalty program?” And “What can our company do to improve the loyalty program?” These questions will lead to more specific and actionable feedback.

When it comes to incentivizing customers, sometimes it takes a slight push for customers to provide feedback. Offer a discount on customers’ next order or entry into a gift card. These incentives will pay for themselves when you receive much-needed feedback to improve your loyalty program  – which will in turn lead to increased revenue.

Drive engagement and loyalty through social media

Similar to surveys, cultivating a strong social media presence is a cost-effective way to encourage customer loyalty with your brand. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms can be used to educate customers on your brand’s products, services, promotions and other key information. Additionally, by encouraging customer participation on social media, you can facilitate two-way communication while increasing customer engagement. For example, if you’re a retailer, ask customers to share a Twitter photo using your product with a designated hashtag. If you run a hotel, consider asking customers to check in on Facebook or geotag a post on Instagram. As an incentive for their social media engagement, offer customers loyalty points or miles, so they keep coming back for more engagement. Also make sure your social media team is engaging back – liking posts and thanking customers for their feedback. Doing so will help your brand build long term relationships with customers.

Encouraging customer loyalty and engagement is no easy task, but by prioritizing the customer experience, and encouraging continued feedback and engagement, your business can overcome this challenge — increasing customer loyalty in the long run.

About the author

Danielle Brown is the VP of Marketing at Points, the global leader in loyalty currency management. Via a state-of-the-art loyalty commerce platform, Points provides loyalty eCommerce and technology solutions to the world’s top brands to enhance their consumer offerings and streamline their back-end operations.