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Trendspotting customer loyalty – 5 insights about loyalty programs

Blog post Published   15 March 2019

Beep. An SMS from a pharmacy reaches my phone. One of today’s 3-4 commercial SMS. Can’t stand it. This is what makes me wonder how I will survive in this world of personalized stalking that I am exposed to everyday, from all these companies I have chosen to be loyal to. At the same time, the top companies simplify and improve my weekday. They choose to communicate relevant information to me which is customized in relation to my own habits and as well take into consideration in which stage of the customer lifecycle I am in. They collect data and I give away data, I am offered great recommendations, news and important information. Loyalty builds its foundation on mutual trust.

Continue to read about Customer Interaction Framework

I have taken a closer look at the big trends of loyalty and no abnormalities or surprises has struck me so far. What instead hits me is that tech-heavy systems wash data, for behaviours and design to come into the picture to rule the creation of customer experience. This can then build on feelings that show personalized needs and in this need, a product or service is presented with a golden lining, to an extra affordable price, exclusively to me.

Data is the new black

All the noise from discounts and “last-minute offerings” benumb us. We choose, tiredly and politely, to say “No thanks” to memberships.
As already existing members, we choose to not open an email, neither to read an SMS from any of those companies that we once upon a time, chose to have a membership with.

Tomorrow’s customer loyalty will be reached by data. And, it all gathers around relevance and timing. Companies must prove they are hardworking in terms of engaging in getting to know us as customers as, focus on the additional value they give to their customers and, reward the loyal ones.

Omnichannel is a must

To continuously earn the engagement and interest of customers, a seamless and united customer experience is a prerequisite, regardless of which channel the customer visits.

A natural action today is “Mobile first”. Meeting customers with constant dialogue, in all channels provide data that enables companies to create a holistic picture of needs, interests and behaviours. This provides unbeatable information, the ability to meet the customer with personalized communication and improved customer experience.

81% of loyalty members want to be able to collect loyalty points in all channels
69% says that they would join a loyalty program if it is available through a mobile app
Source: Nielsen 2018

Personalization

We all know how limited amount of time we have for making decisions. Our days consist of decisions from the moment we wake up, to the time when we turn off the screen and fall asleep.

Small, big, simple, complex, short-term and long-term. Even if every decision does not count, we still freeze for a bit and use a small amount of time to speed-analyse the pros and cons of each one.
Think of it, if companies aim to build sustainable credibility and loyalty, it is required that they prove to be worthy of entering the life of the customer.
The easiest way to do this is to show that you know the customer.

In today’s world of data analysis, everything is possible. “One-size-fits-all” is not even an option anymore. Key to sustainable loyalty is keeping up with being relevant and a step ahead of the customer, before the customer even discovered having the need.

AI chatbots will improve customer experience and boost your customer loyalty. One example is 7-eleven that launched a chatbot on Facebook Messenger in improving customer experience. The chatbot talks with the customer, helps with membership, guides the customer to the nearest 7-eleven store and provides them with up-to-date offers.
When a customer becomes member of the 7-eleven customer loyalty program online, a digital card is provided in real-time. The card is ready to use for collecting points and one can check the status of the gathered points.
Source: CrowdTwist 2018

Emotional loyalty

Time is long gone from triggering loyalty based on a cold and rational transaction.
The customer requires a lot more than the classical straight-forward discount, “ The more you buy of X, the more discount you receive”. Companies have to research their customers’ lifecycle and identify triggers from the private and professional life of the customer. The company should then measure and understand these triggers for enabling relevant communication, offerings and services when meeting the customer.

According to Gallup, customers that have an emotional relationship with a brand says they are ready to spend 46 % more and visit the brand stores 32% more often. This is in comparison with companies to which these customers lack an emotional relation.

Even if customers receive interesting offerings from competitors, they choose brand based on emotional relation. The more a company knows about a customer, the more a customer will receive relevant news, offerings and other things of their interest.

Social Responsibility in Business

66% of customers are willing to pay extra for social impact and environmental responsibility

Today, a company does not only market its product and services. Companies realize the equal essentiality of marketing their own values. This includes proving a Code of Conduct all the way, taking social responsibility and, actively show interest in contributing to a World in which environmental and humanitarian rights are in the centre.

Millennials are the ones who show greatest interest in Social Responsibility. A recent study shows that 81% of them expect from their companies of favor to explicitly express their contribution to a better World and society. Millennials support companies’ who invite customers to contribute with their money, time and engagement.
So far, Millenials are the largest generation who puts great value in companies that has a clear agenda for social and environmental responsibility, innovation, product development and, diversity.
Source: Forbes.com

All in all, we can conclude that customer loyalty today means something totally different than a coupon discount worth 5 swedish Kronas on your weekly shopping trip. Today, your customer is increasingly educated, proactive and a strong citizen.
Today’s consumers’ are ready to pay for a well crafted product or service that will fulfill their need, especially if that particular one fulfill all criterias that adds up for a better World.

If you reflect upon how to work with customer loyalty in the future, how to bring forth a forward-leaning customer loyalty-program in your organization, if you want your loyalty-program to reach the next level or, if you want to bring forth a strategy for loyalty, do not hesitate to contact Recoordinate.

Anna Stolt
Senior marketing Consulting, Recoordinate

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Trendspotting customer loyalty – 5 insights about loyalty programs

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