It’s a busy marketplace out there and getting busier all the time. It can be hard to make your brand stand out and prove that your business is a better option that your competitor’s. Even loyal customers can be quick to take their business elsewhere if a seemingly better offer becomes available. This is where customer loyalty programmes can help you to stand out from the crowd. As differentiators go, these programmes can make a real impact on your business because they make a difference to your customers.
Old vs New
Most business leaders recognise that customer retention is key and a happy, loyal customer is worth a lot more than a new customer due to reliable, repeat transactions. So it stands to reason that the more loyal customers you have, the better your business will do. Creating loyal customers can be challenging as they are generally always on the look-out for the best deal. So, if your offering can be made more attractive due to its part in a bigger picture then your business could be on to a winner!
Show of appreciation
Offering customers rewards will keep them coming back. Whether it’s accumulating points through repeat business over a period of time, or discounts associated with a certain level of spend, these techniques are attractive to customers and can actually encourage them to spend more. It means they are getting added value rather than just the service or product that they paid for, and we all like getting something for nothing. It also means they feel appreciated, which is another valuable objective. If you can generate an emotional reaction then your customers will feel a connection with your company.
Keep them coming back for more
This is made easier by the additional information that customer loyalty programmes can help you to garner. As you accumulate information about your customers you are better able to make tailored offers or anticipate certain needs, which will almost certainly be appreciated and keep them coming back for more. This leads to improved customer relationships and a great working dynamic. Things like this can encourage customers not to look elsewhere, despite competitive prices, because trust counts and customers like to feel valued.
Some business leaders can be put off adopting customer loyalty schemes due to the perceived high financial outlay, however this is easily offset against business benefits and the return through customer retention and spend. Constantly losing customers to cheaper deals elsewhere does not help a company’s financials, whereas investing in your customers to keep them coming back for more will ultimately have a positive impact on your bottom line and make for a healthier business plan all round. Spending time and money on your best customers is a direct route to maximising the return on your marketing investment. Not to mention that attracting new customers generally costs more than retaining existing ones does!
Of course this fact does not remove the need to attract new customers on an ongoing basis, this is a given for any business. However, the existence of a customer loyalty programme is a very attractive offer for potential new customers, as well as existing ones. It is an opportunity to double up on your investment as it gives you another offer to sell to your clientele. So not only will your loyalty initiative retain the customers you already have, it is likely to bring more through the door and then keep them there. You are also more likely to generate new customers through recommendation, as happy, engaged customers will share their positive experiences and word of mouth endorsements are worth a great deal.
Investment and Implementation
Customer loyalty programmes should not be dismissed as too expensive or too difficult to set up. They are worth the investment of time and money and implementation is getting easier all the time. Digital customer loyalty schemes are becoming widespread and they make getting up and running a much more streamlined process, especially for smaller businesses who might not have the manpower to put behind this phase. It’s impossible to overlook the benefits that these programmes can bring to your business, particularly in a crowded market where you need to do everything you can to stand out and appeal to your customers.