02 Mar

Loyalty programmes: a question of knowing what works

Experts in digital retail, e-commerce and customer relationship management (CRM) agree that a finely-tuned, well-executed loyalty programme can take a business to the next level of operation. However, the converse is equally true, and if this programme is not thought through, it could end up being more of a liability than anything else.

Therefore, independent CRM specialist LoyaltyPlus has underlined several considerations that typify successful programmes, whether these are based on external service providers or via an internal process.

With over 25 years of experience in the development and application of cutting-edge programmes and partnerships, LoyaltyPlus is a recognised leader in helping businesses ensure their customers remain loyal to their brands.

At the heart of the loyalty programme is its core function – to serve as an extensive tool for fostering effective customer engagement with a brand and everything it entails.

This tool is used to help on-board customers, to manage their total experience with the brand and to ensure the relationship is of mutual benefit. That is a critical responsibility. Thus, it should come as no surprise that experts emphasise the need for expertise, commitment from the entire organisation and meticulous attention to detail when setting up this programme and the final execution thereof.

Ten main considerations, including strategy; design, mechanics, and value proposition; member experience; operations; technology; data; measurement; financials; organisation; and legal have been listed by www.bondbrandloyalty.com.

The site highlights the strategic importance of brand alignment, customer relevance, avoiding over-reliance on transactional loyalty programme mechanics and evolution of the brand.

LoyaltyPlus fully agrees and cannot stress enough the importance of employee training, technology stakeholder involvement and the need to focus on user stories.

These are some of the finer strategic goals associated with loyalty programmes, but essentially everything must start with a few fundamental questions: What does the company want to achieve with its programme? What format will this programme take (ie, card-based, entirely automated, etc)? And how many resources are available to develop and roll out the programme?

Moreover, according to a blog by Jeffrey Harris, careful consideration must be given to how this programme will add value to marketing initiatives that are already in place. They should support, enhance and strengthen what a company is doing already in terms of CRM and not confuse, disorient or cause difficulty.

Of course, the business must also pay close attention to the type of rewards being given – are they exciting? Can they easily be amassed? How are these points used? Is the process entirely free of complicated terms and conditions? All these questions have a direct bearing on the end result.

LoyaltyPlus also advises that businesses never lose sight of the core objective with a loyalty programme; to acquire a customer and how much it will bring into the business means understanding the real value behind the customer.

By the same token, decision-makers must consider how much will be lost if that customer is lost… These all fuel the development of the ultimate strategic loyalty programme.

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