(Part 1 of a 2-Part Series)
Let’s hold a mirror to ourselves people! The gig is up. Customers have our number and they’ve had it. It is just plain too much work to reap the benefits of a ‘loyalty program.’
So, check it out. Here are the classic experiences customers have with loyalty programs. It’s time to take action.
1. The Complexity Rigmarole
You may find it great that there are fifteen-hundred partners you’ve gotten free stuff out of that you can pass on to customers when they meet the massive requirements for their redemption… but who cares?
Customers receive the glossy packages and they figure you spent a fortune on printing. They start reading and almost immediately hit information overload. Their eyes roll into the back of their head before it’s all deciphered. Your program materials are tossed aside to read another day and that day never comes.
Take Action: Think ‘Pearl’ Theory
Pick out one great pearl of an offer.
Something really special you can do for a customer you treasure and let them know what it is. Then deliver it. Customers will remember that ‘pearl’ and act on it because it’s simple and memorable.
2. Seen One…Seen Them All
Loyalty programs are so much alike. The plethora of stuff being dumped on customers has the smell of promotion and the impact of ho-hum. A bunch of money-off coupons doesn’t cut it anymore. Everyone’s been there and done that. It’s not different enough to say, “Choose me,” “Love me.”
Take Action: Find Something Special
Brainstorm something special and unique that speaks your corporate personality (something no one else would do but you).
One spa company I worked with established a personalized relaxation plan and custom blended aromatherapy for their clients. Truth be told, they could establish five to seven blends that fit the majority of their clients by cluster, but the messages and follow-up were personalized. The allure of the personal touch pulled customers back into the spa where their treatments were customized and continued the experience with the aromatherapy scent.
3. You Don’t Know Me?
I had to remind a company where I’ve spent more money than I can even tally that it was my birthday. Not because I’m an egomaniac or need to be stroked on my birthday, but because they made a big deal about asking the date of my birthday and told me it was special to them.
My birthday day came and went. I didn’t hear a peep from them. It was disappointing. When I reminded them (and you bet I did), they sent me a coupon code for free shipping. But the bloom was off the rose. The notion that I believed – that I was special to them – withered considerably.
Take Action: Know Your Customer
More importantly than the special days, know who your best customers are on the regular days. Make sure that you’re building in the corporate memory to welcome them back, acknowledge their preferences, and ask how things are going.
You need to be constantly trolling your database to see what’s happening with important customers, and then step up to help when necessary.
Remember the countless stories about the Ritz Carlton? At check in, they remember if a guest prefers a feather pillow. Although the information is in the database, flagged on the customer file so the desk clerk remembers to bring it up, the gesture says, “We know you.” (You’re not a number to us. You’re a person worth remembering and we care enough to remember it.) Pow! Now, that’s loyalty creation.