Here’s the good news – a customer loyalty programme is easy to build.
Here’s the bad news – they don’t always prove to be successful.
The secret is in that term ‘customer loyalty’ itself. It essentially means that you need to come up with something that will help your customers, who always buy from you, feel rewarded and important and therefore, give them added incentive to keep buying from you, and better yet, introduce others to your brand too.
We’re not going to undermine this; the competition is tough and trust us, every business on the planet is trying this out. But like we said, not all will work out well. So what we’re giving you here is a kind of secret sauce that can help you plan work great and yield real results. Take a look through this guide and try it on for size. If you are a beginner, this is a great way to test the waters too.
Study your existing customers
You can’t build a customer loyalty programme if you don’t know who your customers are well …. and we stress on the word ‘well’. Here are the main questions that you must ask and answer before you get started.
- How much does this customer buy in a year?
- What type of products do they buy and how frequent are purchases?
- How long have they been a customer?
- Is there any way to sell them your other products?
- Do they use other suppliers, and, if so, who are they?
- How much profit do you make on their purchases?
- How fast do they pay you?
- How satisfied are they with the company?
- How could you improve your business relationship?
Got the answers? Super, let’s move on to stage 2 and build our customer loyalty programme.
No answers? Not sure? Well, It’s now time to go back and do some learning about your audience.
Prepare your customer loyalty programme
Before you launch the customer loyalty programme, you will need to evaluate the current level of the satisfaction of your customers. You can do this in a few different ways;
- Monitoring customer comments
- Reviews from customers
- Interviews with customers
- Just walk up to them and ask them if they think there should be any changes
Now, identify those employees who are skilled at dealing with customers and who will also be happy to participate in the programme. You will need to target customers who purchase frequently from you, but could become more profitable, according to your analysis. If the purchase cycle is long (more than three years), this type of program is generally not recommended.
Set goals and measure them
Business has to be quantifiable. Set your goals for this programme from Day 01. For instance, if your customers are purchasing 3 times on average per year, you should set the goal 3 times a year. This will also increase your sales almost by 10% with just a few minor costs here and there. You can use software like CRM for instance, to measure and manage these.
Now set that budget straight
Set a budget for managing customer retention and a separate one for developing new customers. In order to do so, consult your industry average, if you are looking for above‑average growth, increase your budget accordingly. Your marketing team will be able to help you with this one. This will also change from one business to another so don’t follow another business, do your own thing.
Decide on your target market
Based on the study described above, categorize your customers (e.g. A, B, C) according to evaluation criteria that have been adapted to your needs and objectives. You can consider the following for this purpose;
- Volume of purchases
- Ability to purchase more products and services
- Speed of payment
- Customer profitability
- Loyalty over time
Try and implement strategies that will increase your customers’ loyalty
Be smart. Your customers must feel that their loyalty is indeed, rewarded. So use strategies that will play to this. They should also be in line with your business relationships. You could use a few like;
- Monthly visits from a sales representative.
- Business lunches
- Personal invitation to a seminar and dinner
- Premium service—guaranteed 24/7.
- Emergency phone line and secure website access.
- Additional discounts when purchase milestones are reached.
- Sponsorship of an annual event.
If your customers are businesses, there’s a good chance this type of program is good for you. If not, all you have to do is simply fine tune this more along the lines of the last few strategies described so that customers personally feel that their relationship with your business is valued.
There is a catch. A customer loyalty program doesn’t mean you can neglect new business development. It’s a never‑ending job to increase your portfolio of loyal customers. So what can you do to keep this working in your favour? Learn about customer service principles, update your skills and stay in the know-how. Our accredited programmes on customer service principles can teach you all this and more. Contact us on [email protected] for more information and to enrol.