With loyalty programs saturating the market, it is more important than ever for brands to have a partner they can depend on to provide a unique way to stand out from the competition. Segmentation and personalization are a great start, but providing a unique experience to each customer on a one-to-one basis is the key to developing an emotional connection to keep those customers coming back for more.

Tenerity partners with clients to do just that – build loyalty through every engagement using machine learning and automation.

Mark Johnson, Loyalty360 CEO, spoke with Rachel Bicking, Chief Digital Officer for Tenerity, about how brands can leverage new technologies and capabilities to drive unique experiences, engagement and, most importantly, customer loyalty.

The 5 Cs’ - Committed to connecting customers to the correct content
Tenerity is committed to connecting customers with the right content at the right time using machine learning and automation. For any industry – retail, hospitality, financial services, utilities, energy, restaurants – Tenerity a vast content catalog to the end consumer to retain their business and earn their loyalty.

Not all customers are created equal, so they need to be treated as such. While basic rewards programs offered discounts or coupons, it is important for brands to understand that not all customers are motivated by money. Some customers are motivated by gift cards, others by cash back, and more are interested in experiences. Deciphering customer preferences down to the individual is where machine learning, data and analytics come into play. Tenerity provides clients with intelligent engagement solutions to give customers a reason to connect with the brand.

Gamifying offers keeps customers engaged and coming back time and time again. Tenerity couples this with an easy-to-use customer experience, whether through an app, desktop or in-store, connecting all channels through the data.

Says Rachel Bicking, Chief Digital Officer for Tenerity, “We are delivering loyalty to our brands and intelligently engaging consumers at every single point in their journey, whether it’s acquisition or retention, growth or advocacy.”

Rewards as personalized as the person receiving them
Rewards content is becoming increasingly important in the customer loyalty sector, and recognizing individual preferences is key to engaging the customer appropriately. According to Bicking, “If you aren’t appealing to each of those individuals, you will never get the adoption rate you want.”

Tenerity believes that if a company has the right content to fulfill 100% of its customers on a personal basis, it encourages greater activation and adoption. This content could be anything from travel rewards to cash back, gift cards, concert experiences, even NFTs and carbon credits.  It all comes down to what will motivate customers to take action and become more loyal or engage with a new brand.

Says Bicking, “Our goal is to assess the data and analytics of the specific rewards that will appeal to each individual, and offer that out of the box, in our catalog.”

Customer loyalty vs. customer engagement
There is a difference between customer loyalty and customer engagement, and Tenerity helps clients deliver on both. Customer loyalty is the outcome; it is the enthusiasm, advocacy, and the feeling that a consumer is attached to a brand and will choose it among other brands when given an option.

“It’s the stickiness factor,” Bicking explains. “Whereas engagement is the tactic or enabler to deliver that loyalty. Our platform creates loyalty through the intelligent engagement platform.”

Understanding what profitable loyalty means has been a challenge for brands in terms of metrics and KPIs. Loyalty traditionally has been focused on inferred metrics, such as, if the brand engages a customer, they are less likely to go elsewhere. Adding value, points, etc., gives consumers reasons to return. However, there is not always a direct attribution to the loyalty program.

Tenerity measures inferred profit through specific metrics - customer lifetime value, reduction of attrition, active versus non-active members - to understand the incremental value. Additionally, because of the breadth of content the company delivers, there is direct revenue delivered as well as inferred. It creates the network effect.

The network effect is essentially the network of merchants bringing the best offers to attract the best customers. This then creates a cycle where the more volume of consumers, the better the merchant offers, which accumulates more consumers, etc., which in turn creates both direct and indirect measures of profit and loyalty.

Make the brand likable and memorable
Customer loyalty is constantly evolving in a complex manner. When brands look to reward their customers with more non-transactional rewards, the key is to make the brand likable and memorable. Loyalty programs and engagement programs are blurring the lines between channels. Whether it is in the physical world or the metaverse or some other digital channel, consumers are looking for ways to interact with the brand in the moment. Brands should always be at the ready and continue to provide new and exciting elements for consumers to deliver a more immersive experience that encourages them to return with a greater level of frequency.

Says Bicking, “The metaverse has an amazing opportunity for us, not only in terms of NFTs and user-generated content, but also in terms of the user experience. The metaverse is fun. It’s exciting. It’s an interesting way to experience a brand and learn about it and be part of a virtual community that could not be achieved elsewhere.”
Consistency is key to cutting through the noise. What is working well for brands is having consistently new experiences for consumers to discover, to immerse in the brand without being fatigued. Brands do well to focus on finding a reason to communicate to their customers every day, and then investing in a platform to automate that to scale.

The challenge of measuring emotional loyalty
Emotional loyalty may be a challenge for many brands to measure, but one way to look at it is through customer advocacy and chatter, to see how passionate the customer is about the brand, the product and the loyalty program. Establishing the right measurement cycle is important for brands to determine whether or not they are making progress in that arena.

While emotional loyalty is the end game for most companies, it is important to note that not all consumers feel an emotional connection to a brand. And not all brands can evoke an emotional response.  Says Bicking, “Maybe the goal isn’t always emotional loyalty, but the growth and evolution of a customer’s attachment and feelings toward a brand.”

Companies can achieve that by delivering on what customers expect while exceeding expectations in other areas. “Do the basics well and elevate others,” adds Bicking. “It is a formula for understanding exactly how brands can deliver the attachment of being better than the competition.”

Engage the customer first
For any brand looking to improve its customer loyalty efforts, Tenerity advises focusing on engaging the consumer first. Whether speaking of loyalty or engagement, with the end goal in mind, brands need to understand what that vision looks like and then take the steps to get there.

Says Bicking, “We think about timing, tone and treatment. We determine the offers, what is in the catalog, and then we then look to centralize the program into one place to make it easier on the customer.”

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