Every business owner wants to keep customers coming back — and loyalty programs are a great way to do just that. But running a loyalty program can be expensive, and if not done right, may not bring in the customers you’d hoped. So what does a small business need to know before launching a customer loyalty program? Here are the essentials for a successful customer loyalty program.
Can you explain how your reward program works in one or two sentences? If not, then you’re probably overdoing it. If your reward program is too complex, customers won’t take the extra time to understand it. Keep the reward program simple. For example, you can offer a coupon for every 100 dollars spent, or buy nine coffees, get the tenth one free. By making the reward program simple, you’re encouraging customers to sign up and use the program, which, after all, is the goal.
Along those same lines, the loyalty program should be quick — both to use and to sign up for. Signing up for the loyalty program shouldn’t take more than a few minutes at the register or online. Using the loyalty program should be even faster. A loyalty program that delays checkout won’t be successful. Using the program should be as simple as scanning a card, punching a card, or tapping in a customer ID.
Customers are usually wary about sharing information like phone numbers and emails because they don’t want to be inundated with robo calls and spam emails. Don’t be another reason they don’t give away information. Keep all customer information confidential and use it only for your own marketing — which should be used sparingly. If possible, leave out unnecessary information in the sign-up process — besides making sign-up faster, they’ll feel less wary about giving their information away.
Today, loyalty programs aren’t limited to punch cards. If your small business has the resources, smart loyalty programs can be used to track customer purchases. That allows businesses to send out reminders when it’s time to restock an item or make suggestions on other products that customer may like. That data is also helpful for understanding who your customer is and what they are looking for when making decisions on your business.
Yes, part of the reason loyalty programs keep a customer coming back are those rewards — but that’s not all. A loyalty program is a great way to build a long-term relationship with customers. These programs can help show customers what you value and who you are about through the rewards offered and the communication sent to those customers.
Customer loyalty programs can be great for both businesses and customers — but to make the most of a rewards program, businesses need to ensure the program offers simplicity, speed, security, smart technology, and a relationship.