When does it make sense to start your own customer loyalty program? – Loyalty Redefined by Canadian Retailers
This final article is Part 4 of my series titled “Loyalty Redefined by Canadian Retailers”.
Can Customer Loyalty Programs be Rewarding?
When loyalty programs are done well, they encourage customers to do very positive things for your business such as buy more, visit more often, and promote through word-of-mouth. However, these programs can also be a huge waste of time and resources if they are not properly designed and operationalized.
Take a moment to think about all of the benefits of the close relationships you have outside of your business. Whether it is friends or family they want to help you, they prefer to spend time with you, they are forgiving, and they talk kindly about you to others. The same goes for your most loyal customers.
The big question is, when does it make sense to start your own loyalty rewards program?
What Type of Businesses Can use a Loyalty Program?
Loyalty is the long-term win-win relationship you build with your customers, regardless of the type of business you run. The way in which you can build this loyalty is actually quite similar across all types of business. Show them you truly care about them, not just their money, and that you want them to truly care about you too. Make it clear how this relationship leads to a win-win for both of you.
Loyalty is for every type of business.
Is My Business Ready for a Loyalty Program?
If your business sells anything to a set of customers, which most do, then a loyalty program simply makes sense. If you’re conducting any kind of customer relationship management, then you’re already offering your customers some kind of reward even if you haven’t recognized it as such. Loyalty programs don’t have to be complex to be effective.
The program scope, or required business commitment, will simply be determined by your available resources. The program scope will be the parameters for which your program operates and will therefore control the type of “rewards” you offer. Rewards can range from something simple like a 25% off coupon handed to customers as they leave your store, to something more sophisticated like a free vacation being rewarded from the accumulation of thousands of purchase points on a rewards card. Even B2B service-based companies can offer rewards that resonate with their customers, such as a free topical research paper by email or a paid-for lunch meeting to discuss their goals.
If you have sales, then you’re ready.
What are The First Steps in Developing a Loyalty Program?
Through this one blog article I’m not able to help you through the entire process of developing a loyalty program, but I can at least get you pointed in the right direction. Here are ten (10) questions to ask yourself in order to get a head start on developing your loyalty program:
- What are the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT)?
- What does your core loyalty customer look like?
- What are the core objectives of the loyalty program?
- How will the loyalty program fit with your brand overall?
- What will be the key success factors and over what time frame?
- What are the issues that must be addressed right away and in the long-term?
- What is your current sales channel strategy and how will this program affect it?
- What resource needs will be created?
- What are the best practices that should be followed?
- How can customer issues or operational issues be addressed with the loyalty program?
Once you’ve started thinking about the answers to these questions above and feel ready to continue with some help, send me an email or give me a call and we can start talking about your loyalty strategy.
Have you read my previous articles in this series?
Part 1 “The Top 10 Rewards Programs in Canada“.