5 Considerations for Implementing a Loyalty System and Making it Work for You
Loyalty systems are a great tool for businesses looking to drive customer engagement and retention. Getting started properly with a new loyalty system should take some strategic thinking. Careful thought and consideration upfront on implementing your loyalty program will help ensure it delivers the best possible results for your business. In addition, the beauty of a well-designed loyalty scheme is that once it is up and running, over time its operation becomes more seamless and its results even more impressive.
The first thing to note is that there is no one size fits all approach to the implementation of a great loyalty program. Every business is different, with different customers, customer attitudes and goals for growth. In saying that, there are a number of factors we can discuss that all businesses should consider when it comes to implementing a loyalty system:
Understand your ‘why’
It’s never a good idea to do things just because others are doing it. A business owner must understand why they want to implement a loyalty system and what the success of a loyalty system looks like for them. Some businesses may aim to increase customer basket sizes, others may want to win new customers, and others may want to focus on the long game and maximise customer lifetime value. Whatever your goals, make sure to keep them in mind as you devise your loyalty program.
Train your team
Involving your team from the get-go and educating them on the ‘why’ for the loyalty program helps give them a vested interest in its success and to understand what your business values. Once staff know why the system is being introduced, they have a much easier job knowing how to pitch it to your customers at the point of sale to spread the good word.
Focus your loyalty program pitch on quickly informing the customer of the value it provides to them; “Did you know you could have earned x on this transaction today?” is always a good starting point to work from.
Make sure it works online and instore
You don’t have online and offline customers; you just have customers. They expect consistent experiences online and in your store. For customers to earn loyalty for in-store purchases, but not online creates friction and a negative interaction touchpoint with your business. The complete opposite of what any loyalty scheme should be aiming to do! The upshot of this negative experience could result in customers who like to transact online feeling undervalued and considering if there are other businesses that can serve their needs equally in the real and digital worlds.
Combine a base loyalty system with surprise and delight
When trying to get uptake on your loyalty scheme from customers, especially at the start, they need to easily understand its value. This not only helps them to get involved but also helps word of mouth as it’s easier for them to explain to their friends and family. In this regard, it makes sense to have what we call a ‘base loyalty system’. It’s the value proposition that will come to mind for your customers when they think of your loyalty program, something they can easily repeat back to their network, for example, “You should pick up a loyalty card for Mary’s Coffee; you get a 9th coffee free.”
The other side of the loyalty scheme coin is ‘Surprise and Delight’ which can keep your customers guessing and brighten up their day. Examples of surprise and delight are a reward on your birthday or a ‘happy anniversary’ a year after the customer first signed up to your loyalty program.
Measure, evaluate and improve
Measuring the success of your loyalty program and evaluating its performance against the goals you set when you first started out is a step that many businesses often forget. Taking this further, really maximising the value of your scheme will come from taking action on the information you get from reviewing its performance.