Something to Consider
Customer loyalty, customer engagement, customer success, reward, surprise and delight initiatives--whatever they are called, developing and consistently executing an approach to nurture loyalty from your customers is an essential element to virtually every brand that wants to drive repeat business from its customers.
Doing this effectively builds community, provides customers real value and costs you less in the long run since your customers become a great source of new customer referrals for you. At first glance, this may seem like another process to manage or you might be thinking that you are too small (or too big) to need one.
For the businesses who think they are too small, if you have even 1 customer (congratulations, by the way) you can start with them. In fact, starting with a relatively small sample is an ideal place to begin since it's manageable and the quality of the conversations may reveal insights about something you did (or something you have) at this early stage of your business that resonated so much that your customer(s) were willing to pay you for your product. Wouldn’t you want to learn what you did so that you can repeat (and refine) your processes to get the second, third and fourth customer?
For the businesses who think they are too big, so unique and such badasses that they don’t need to innovate or consider their customers changing needs? We say, Blockbuster, meet Netflix.
With a little organization, some data and creative thinking, you can build out a customer loyalty program that keeps your clients interested, singing your praises and coming back for more of that special sauce that only you have. Doesn’t that sound great?
There are many types of customer loyalty programs you can choose to run, but as a general rule, you want to make sure that they are easy to understand, maintain and deliver on.
Let’s consider a few types:
- Points programs: allow your customers to accumulate “points” that they earn based on their activity with you. Points can be redeemed for discounts, product exclusives or even free products. Good examples of this type of program are frequent flyer programs offered by airlines or Kohl’s Cash, offered by Kohl’s.
- Paid programs: this is a type of program that requires customers to pay a fee up front, for access to a variety of perks. A perfect example is Amazon Prime, offered by Amazon. By paying a monthly fee, subscribers receive a variety of “included” perks such as free shipping, access to Amazon’s video and music streaming services, access to product exclusives, and the list goes on and on. As of 2017, Amazon Prime disclosed that it had more than 100 million subscribers. (Amazon is also a bad example, since a typical business does not have the leverage of an Amazon or access to the tech required to execute a program as robust as Amazon’s but paid programs can come in many, smaller forms. Think Harry’s Core program or CVS’s CarePass for variations of the same concept.
- Punch Card programs: these are great, particularly for small businesses who are looking to create a program that is simple to deliver on. Customers are rewarded for a purchase and receive 1 “punch,” per purchase. The punch is usually tracked on a paper stock card or other simple tracking system. After customers hit a certain number of punches, they receive a product, free of charge. We’ve all seen these, right? “Buy 3 and your fourth one is free!” is a typical call to action. A local (and delicious) example of a punch card program is the one offered by Pesso’s Ices & Ice Cream Parlor in good ol’ Queens, NY.
We are just scratching the surface on the value and strategy of customer loyalty programs, but when done correctly, you and your clients can reap the benefits of an ongoing business relationship that is built to last.
Thinking about a loyalty strategy for your customers? We’d love to hear from you.
Bounce at Work
We love what we do and our clients do too.
A. Francis & Associates is celebrating more than 20 years in business and hired Bounce to design a brand identity that would display the essence of their firm. "Bounce delivered above and beyond quality. I am thrilled with my new brand identity" said Anthony Francis, Principal.
Anthony’s branding gives a nod to important holidays that bring us together in honor of love, family and community in our beloved USA.
Need proof that a brand refresh can make a HUGE difference? Read our issue of Bounce Ahead “When is it time to refresh your branding?” to see if it’s time for you and let's make it happen!
(Small) Businesses We Love
In the spirit of celebrating loyalty, we want to give a shout-out to our very own, Tony Evans, for the launch of his new business venture, Keyeser & Marie.
Keyeser & Marie is an arts organization that aims to manifest opportunities for artists by creatively investing resources to support sustainable careers. This passion project is inspired by and dedicated to Tony’s grandparents, Ben & Marie Evans, who were both avid supporters of the arts.
Way to go, Tony! What a wonderful tribute and way to continue their legacy.
Check out their latest project too!
Things Worth Sharing
- Did you know that customer loyalty programs have been around since the 1700s? Read this great piece from Alex McEachern, to learn the History of Loyalty Programs, and How They Have Changed.
- Check out this article from David Feldman from Medium to learn more about the psychology behind loyalty programs as a driver of customer behavior. As many as 84% of consumers say they’re more apt to stick with a brand that offers a loyalty program.
- As many as 84% of consumers say they’re more apt to stick with a brand that offers a loyalty program. And 66% of customers say the ability to earn rewards actually changes their spending behavior, according to Lindsey Peacock from Shopify.
- The best way to learn about customer loyalty is to join many programs, whether you want to or not, and experience the interaction between retailer and customer. Bill Hanifin from the Wise Marketer, assembled a list of 7 examples of the good, bad and ugly of customer loyalty programs. Can you spot the winners?
- Bonus “shameless pulling-on-the-heart-strings kitten video”
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