10 Mar

Loyalty programmes key to touch-free generation

The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised business operations the world over, and forever changed the way markets engage with customers and how consumers deal with brands. Companies must now face the reality of a touch-free generation – people who expect everything to work touch-free – and today there is an opportunity to leverage loyalty programmes to meet this expectation.

Online research shows that one of the fundamental changes to the business environment resulting from the pandemic has been the surge in e-commerce and use of digital tools.

It’s proof that the touch-free generation is getting to grips with technology to avoid personal contact and hands-on interaction, says LoyaltyPlus, the leading independent customer relationship management company.

Swissre.com lists increased digital adoption and change in mobility patterns as among the top trends linked to the impact of COVID-19.

LoyaltyPlus agrees with the notion that today markets are impacted by lockdown conditions and social distancing putting customer loyalty to the test. At the same time, the situation offers business leaders a unique opportunity to reinforce their loyalty programmes to secure brand loyalty.

The situation is put in perspective by Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov saying innovative technology has changed demographics and logistics, “blurring the lines between work, leisure and education”.

An article: The future of customer loyalty says: “Retailers face an assault on their status as the owner of the customer… if retailers do not respond, they will find that over time their customer loyalty decreases as players join the party.”

It is the year of change and the ‘new normal’ will force businesses to reconsider how they operate and, more importantly, how they treat customers.

McKinsey suggests: “The COVID-19 crisis has created an imperative for companies to reconfigure their operations – and an opportunity to transform them. To the extent that they do so, greater productivity will follow.”

Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that brands must stand out – they have to ‘get into the minds of customers’ and secure repeat business.

Acquiring new customers costs five to 25 times more than catering to those who are already loyal, says Antavo.com.

The focus is on adding value to those who remain customers and the best way to do so is through loyalty programmes. These programmes support business transition and the morphing of operations to facilitate new revenue streams and ways to lock the customer in.

As McKinsey explains, identifying and prioritising revenue opportunities is one of the main steps.

“… this may include launching targeted campaigns to win back loyal customers; developing customer experiences focused on increased health and safety; adjusting pricing and promotions based on new data; reallocating spending to proven growth sources…”

Retail and commerce experts like LoyaltyPlus agree that business has changed, customers’ behaviour is different and has been impacted by COVID-19. The gauntlet has been thrown down to companies to redefine loyalty programmes, advertise and enforce their value in order to entrench their brands. Not doing so is the beginning of the end for a business.

The touch-free generation has the power and companies have to do it all to retain loyalty.

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