How to reward customer loyalty the right way

AlexK
Head of Social Media Strategy
Octopus Choice
Blogger
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Every business, and those in the service industry especially, understand the crucial importance of rewarding customers who have been loyal to your company. Coming up with proper incentivizing reward schemes can be challenging, however, and every manager and company head should give serious consideration to how they plan on saying thank you to their customers.

So what’s the best way to reward customer loyalty without impacting your businesses bottom line? Is it even possible to create a rewards program that lures satisfied shoppers back? A quick review of the importance of consumer loyalty and some quick tips that may help you bring customer’s back to the store shows that when it comes to passing the buck back to your shoppers, no expenses should be spared.

Building a rewards program

The best way to reward customer loyalty properly isn’t to just give them gifts and hope for the best; rather, wise companies understand that developing an immersive rewards program doesn’t just give back to your consumers, but actively brings them back to the store so they can cash in on future deals. Thus, it’s critical that your business, large or small, invest properly in a good rewards program.

Some rewards programs are better than others; you’ll want to focus on creating a program that fosters high level of user engagement, for instance, particularly when it comes to social media and online shopping platforms. This doesn’t just increase your own store’s revenue, but gives back to consumers by creating seamless experiences and serious savings in their favorite environment: on the web.

Making sure it’s easy for your customers to respond to your limited-time offerings, for instance, or marketing your rewards programs directly to them with targeted advertisements both make it much more likely that your display of gratitude doesn’t end up in the trash or in the spam folder. Your most loyal customers can be very useful to your business, as well; repeat shoppers can be selected to take part in limited beta testing of new offerings, for instance, and often spread the word about your company if they receive free goods or services.

Common traits of the most successful rewards programs should be integrated into your attempts to make customer’s feel rewarded for doing business with you, too. Special occasions – be they seasonal holidays or birthdays of the customer – are great opportunities to offer discount deals or special offerings to loyal customers, who feel as if you value them as individuals rather than as just another person to make a sell from.

Following up with your customer’s is critical, too – something as simple as an email offering or an extra phone call to guarantee they know of your program or that you appreciate their loyalty will go a long way towards getting more people who otherwise may have forgotten about it to sign up.

Make the customer feel appreciated

It’s long been understood that customers have very human tendencies of desiring a sense of community when they shop, and appreciate companies which attempt to build personal relationships with them. Rather than nagging them ceaselessly, companies should understand that limited, effective outreach campaigns, particularly those conducted on social media, are a great way to personalize your brand and make customers feel as if their voices and concerns are being heard.

Often, things as simple as friendly dialogue and a sense of transparency in how you operate your business is enough to make customer’s feel welcomed and eager to return again in the future. No consumer wants to feel as if they’re giving their hard-earned dollars away to a faceless corporation, meaning you should invest the necessary bucks to make your in-store shopping experience and online-feedback centers as enjoyable and seamless as possible.

Collecting and integrating feedback into your business operations is another way to reward customer loyalty, not to mention a stellar way to find errs in your marketing or retailing tactics.  When customers have a sense of what special services you’re providing for them, and feel as if their thoughts and opinions are being taken into account, they’re more likely to pick you over your competitors when it comes time to go shopping again.

Whatever you do, don’t patronize your customers. Be natural, have a wholesome, empathetic approach, and sincerely and simply express your gratitude for their age-old loyalty.

About AlexK

Alex K

A social media marketing executive and entrepreneur, Alex has led the marketing divisions of some of the UK's leading advertising and PR firms. He specializes in usng the power of big data and business analysis to deliver actionable metrics.

As head of social media strategy, Alex is directly responsible for the customer experience and long term engagement with the brand. He believes this can only be achieved through a methodical approach to processing customer feedback and conducting A/B testing during all campaigns. This way, the marketing strategy team can grow from one campaign to the next.

Outside business, Alex is a keen videographer and music producer, living and working in Brighton, UK. 

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