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We all know how the cost of acquiring a customer is greater than the cost to retain a customer and the benefits of building customer loyalty include increased sales and positive word of mouth. Little wonder then that most retailers recognize the importance of a good loyalty program.

Traditionally, there has been a focus on deeper discounts and more tempting points schemes, but “The customer experience is just as important as points or financial rewards to secure customer loyalty,” according to a Deloitte study.

So, how do you create a compelling customer experience that will keep your customers coming back to your loyalty program time and time again? We have five tips worth considering.

Engage on multiple channels

People want to access loyalty programs via their preferred channels. When Codebroker surveyed 1,207 U.S. consumers for a Mobile Loyalty Survey, 71% said they would be more likely to use their loyalty cards if they could access them from their mobile phone.

Drilling down a bit deeper revealed a split between the channels consumers want to use to access loyalty programs on their smartphones.

  • Text Message                                 34.75%
  • Mobile App                                      18.5%
  • Apple Wallet or Android Pay        15.4%
  • Other                                                31.2%
There is no ideal channel for customer engagement with loyalty programs, the right move is to take an omnichannel approach and allow individuals to select their preferred method. Compared to a single channel approach, an omnichannel approach leads to an average basket size that’s 13% higher and 11% more profitable, according to an EKN mobile loyalty study.

Sync across channels

Having accepted the wisdom of an omnichannel approach, it’s also important to ensure that your customer’s accounts are updated in real-time across all those channels. Some brands have multiple contact methods available for a consumer. Better to sync all accounts to ensure that the messages are consistent and to avoid confusion and provide a great experience. If they earn or spend points, their balance should be identical, regardless of the channel they engage with. This is important for redemption, too, so that retailers can avoid expensive repeated reuse of offers. It’s worth considering single-use mobile coupon software, especially for high value offers, so that you can accurately track redemptions and prevent reuse.  

Targeted messaging

Targeted messaging that takes personal preferences into account is much more likely to garner a high redemption rate. Personalization, or making a message resonate with a customer, is a vital element of driving customer loyalty. In fact,  personalization was rated as a high priority for 54% of Generation Z, 52% of Millennials, 48% of Generation X, and 40% of Baby Boomers, according to Rare Consulting.

Easy access

Loyalty programs often fall at the first hurdle by requiring customers to fill out lengthy paperwork at the point of sale (POS) or asking them to complete a process that involves multiple stages for member sign-up. The sign-up process must be as frictionless and easy as possible. Consider allowing your customers to use text messaging to sign up. The faster and easier you can make the sign-up process, the better your chances of tempting a new customer, but try to extend that strategy to all the interactions you have with your customers through your loyalty program.  This entire paragraph doesn’t say a whole lot – it simply says to make it easy and quick to sign up. To add meat we need to say what that means – give examples, etc.

Consumers want convenience

Convenience is crucial for consumers. We know that 43% of respondents to the CodeBroker Mobile Loyalty Survey named carrying the card as their number one pain point, and we’ve already discussed the importance of an omnichannel smartphone strategy. But convenience must remain at the forefront of your planning. Consider that 70% of the respondents said they would use a mobile version of their loyalty cards if they didn’t have to sign in to a website or download an app. It must be quick and easy for people to check their balance or redeem an offer at POS.

Too many loyalty leaders and marketers rest on their laurels after acquiring that customer, so it’s vital to make a great customer experience. If you want to create a great customer experience and boost engagement in your loyalty program, then these tips should start you off in the right direction.

About the Author

Dan Slavin is CEO and co-founder of CodeBroker, a provider of mobile marketing solutions. He was CEO of Framework Technologies, VP of Open Market, and CEO of International Testing Services. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. You can reach him at [email protected].

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