16
06/2021
AUTHOR
Audrey Ruffaut
IDEAS

Building Loyalty: at the heart of the customer experience

Read IN FRENCH

Maintaining customers over the long-term is a major challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises. So, why and how to stand out with an effective and attractive loyalty program?

Combined with a good strategy involving customer understanding, a rewards program is a proven tool. Here's why you should implement this kind of tool: 

  • Brings back your hard-earned customers.
  • Increases their spending in your business.
  • Creates a personalized relationship with each of them.
  • Strengthens your company's reputation by making your loyal customers ambassadors.
  • Feeds your customer database which will help you improve your services, your products, and your loyalty program... in short, a virtuous circle! 


Thanks to new technologies, loyalty programs have vastly improved (data collection, customization, customer relationship management, ease of use, etc.), but they have retained the same purpose: to offer rewards to customers which are commensurate with their expenses so that the customers are encouraged to return.

A paper or digital program?

In the digital age, the classic loyalty stamp card may seem old-fashioned. However, because its implementation is simple and very affordable, this approach remains an attractive option for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Loyalty programs with a stamp card

The benefits:

  • Simplicity and economy! You don't need to use a digital solution provider. The budget is therefore less than an online loyalty program. 
  • Accessibility! It is a program accessible to all customers, regardless of their ease with digital tools or their access to the network.

Stamp cards are suitable for “Buy 9 get 1 Free” campaigns, for example, which allow the customer to geta free item or a price reduction after nine or ten purchases.

Example: The Soko Café, which also offers a coworking space, uses stamp loyalty cards with attractive visuals. The program offers three different cards depending on the targeted clientele. 

Can be a text image: "CARTE FIDÉLITÉ loyalty. COWORKING student teachers PASSE CLUB VIP SOKO SOKO south KING QUEST SOKO 10th FREE CAFÉ HOURS FREE/ MONTHS BAR ESPRESSO AND COWORKING ALEXANDRE SHERBROOKE, OCJ1 4S7 COWORKING- DAY CAFESOKO.COM ILLUSTRATIONS GOURRERA DESIGN VIVIANA LOERA"
Source: Café SOKO Facebook page

Digital loyalty programs

A digital loyalty program is more responsive to changing consumer behaviours and business needs in terms of personalization and data collection. It can take the form of an online account or a mobile application.  The benefits are numerous:

For customers: a mobile and personalized program 
  • Better adaptation to new consumer habits (information search, online bookings, contactless mobile payment, etc.) 
  • Elimination of irritants associated with physical cards (accumulation in the wallet, forgotten or lost, etc.)
  • Opportunity to offer a more attractive program through personalized rewards, which is made possible through data collection.
For businesses: data collection

A digital loyalty program will allow you to build an indispensable customer database which will enable customization of offers and communications based on profiles (e.g., new, casual, regular, VIP, etc.) Of course, they must agree to share this data. The provider of the chosen technology solution can advise you on a privacy policy. 

Loyalty programs in partnership

As with other marketing activities, the creation of strategic partnerships with other companies is an opportunity to consider when it comes to implementing a loyalty program. Choose a company which is complementary to yours. The partnership must, of course, be a win-win for both parties: each must benefit from it.

As “buying local” is trendy, a regional loyalty program can become a great way to encourage customers to support local businesses. Embrace the principle of co-optition by partnering with other regional businesses. Platforms like  Freebees  allow you to develop this type of program. By purchasing from the participating stores, customers earn dollars that they can spend in any of these stores. The platform also offers services to companies such as customer relationship management, marketing support, performance follow-up, etc.

Tazza Caffe (New Brunswick) uses the Freebees platform for its loyalty program

Membership in the reward

For an attractive loyalty program, there are two key words to remember: ease and generosity! 

An easy-to-use membership system

Whether it be a paper or a digital program, registration should be as simple as possible to avoid demotivating customers: use short forms and invite the customer to provide their personal information later on.

A playful program

Like the loyalty programs of airlines and hotel groups, points systems are also often used in restaurants, retail and tourist attractions. Beware, the conversion of points must remain simple! 

How do I earn points?

  • By buying products or services. The most common method is $1 spent = 1 point accumulated, but it's up to you to establish a points system based on the value of your products or services. 
  • When the customer does something additional, such as leaving a review on TripAdvisor, rating the company on Facebook, or referring a friend. 
  • During special events - for example, organize days when points are doubled.
  • By playing! And yes, playing a game encourages participation by stimulating the spirit of competition and the feeling of success.

Chocolats Favoris encourages its customers to take on challenges to earn points. The ChocoFan app allows them to post photos of challenges, track the number of points earned, and earn rewards in exchange for points.

Attractive rewards

The attractiveness of your loyalty program is based primarily on the added value your customers perceive and the benefits they derive from it. Rewards can be defined in advance (e.g., after 9 nights, the tenth is offered free of charge) or redeemable based on the customer's preferences. Try to vary the types of benefits offered: 

  • Products or services: a coffee, an overnight stay, a free sample, etc.;
  • Discounts or gift vouchers in the form of credit.

Recognizing the commitment of the most loyal customers by granting them a privileged status is a winning strategy. In its Grand Buveur program,  DAVIDsTEA promises special status to its most loyal customers. They receive gifts, exclusive tea samples, and invitations to VIP events. 

Stay in control

Offering attractive rewards is good but implementing a profitable loyalty program is better! It is therefore essential to follow these tips before you start: 

  • Set measurable goals before the program is implemented, such as increasing your revenue by 10% in a year or having 10% of customers who visit the store at least 5 times a year.
  • Set a budget for the customer loyalty program and stick to it. 
  • Measure the results of your program in terms of financial profitability, but also in terms of program visibility and customer satisfaction.
  • Stay on top of the results! By collecting customer feedback, you can improve your loyalty program by limiting aggravations or tailoring the benefits it provides. 


Insights written in partnership with Expérience Acadie.

Sources


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16
06/2021
AUTEUR
Audrey Ruffaut
ÉCLAIREZ VOS IDÉES

Building Loyalty: at the heart of the customer experience

Read IN ENGLISH

Maintaining customers over the long-term is a major challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises. So, why and how to stand out with an effective and attractive loyalty program?

Combined with a good strategy involving customer understanding, a rewards program is a proven tool. Here's why you should implement this kind of tool: 

  • Brings back your hard-earned customers.
  • Increases their spending in your business.
  • Creates a personalized relationship with each of them.
  • Strengthens your company's reputation by making your loyal customers ambassadors.
  • Feeds your customer database which will help you improve your services, your products, and your loyalty program... in short, a virtuous circle! 


Thanks to new technologies, loyalty programs have vastly improved (data collection, customization, customer relationship management, ease of use, etc.), but they have retained the same purpose: to offer rewards to customers which are commensurate with their expenses so that the customers are encouraged to return.

A paper or digital program?

In the digital age, the classic loyalty stamp card may seem old-fashioned. However, because its implementation is simple and very affordable, this approach remains an attractive option for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Loyalty programs with a stamp card

The benefits:

  • Simplicity and economy! You don't need to use a digital solution provider. The budget is therefore less than an online loyalty program. 
  • Accessibility! It is a program accessible to all customers, regardless of their ease with digital tools or their access to the network.

Stamp cards are suitable for “Buy 9 get 1 Free” campaigns, for example, which allow the customer to geta free item or a price reduction after nine or ten purchases.

Example: The Soko Café, which also offers a coworking space, uses stamp loyalty cards with attractive visuals. The program offers three different cards depending on the targeted clientele. 

Can be a text image: "CARTE FIDÉLITÉ loyalty. COWORKING student teachers PASSE CLUB VIP SOKO SOKO south KING QUEST SOKO 10th FREE CAFÉ HOURS FREE/ MONTHS BAR ESPRESSO AND COWORKING ALEXANDRE SHERBROOKE, OCJ1 4S7 COWORKING- DAY CAFESOKO.COM ILLUSTRATIONS GOURRERA DESIGN VIVIANA LOERA"
Source: Café SOKO Facebook page

Digital loyalty programs

A digital loyalty program is more responsive to changing consumer behaviours and business needs in terms of personalization and data collection. It can take the form of an online account or a mobile application.  The benefits are numerous:

For customers: a mobile and personalized program 
  • Better adaptation to new consumer habits (information search, online bookings, contactless mobile payment, etc.) 
  • Elimination of irritants associated with physical cards (accumulation in the wallet, forgotten or lost, etc.)
  • Opportunity to offer a more attractive program through personalized rewards, which is made possible through data collection.
For businesses: data collection

A digital loyalty program will allow you to build an indispensable customer database which will enable customization of offers and communications based on profiles (e.g., new, casual, regular, VIP, etc.) Of course, they must agree to share this data. The provider of the chosen technology solution can advise you on a privacy policy. 

Loyalty programs in partnership

As with other marketing activities, the creation of strategic partnerships with other companies is an opportunity to consider when it comes to implementing a loyalty program. Choose a company which is complementary to yours. The partnership must, of course, be a win-win for both parties: each must benefit from it.

As “buying local” is trendy, a regional loyalty program can become a great way to encourage customers to support local businesses. Embrace the principle of co-optition by partnering with other regional businesses. Platforms like  Freebees  allow you to develop this type of program. By purchasing from the participating stores, customers earn dollars that they can spend in any of these stores. The platform also offers services to companies such as customer relationship management, marketing support, performance follow-up, etc.

Tazza Caffe (New Brunswick) uses the Freebees platform for its loyalty program

Membership in the reward

For an attractive loyalty program, there are two key words to remember: ease and generosity! 

An easy-to-use membership system

Whether it be a paper or a digital program, registration should be as simple as possible to avoid demotivating customers: use short forms and invite the customer to provide their personal information later on.

A playful program

Like the loyalty programs of airlines and hotel groups, points systems are also often used in restaurants, retail and tourist attractions. Beware, the conversion of points must remain simple! 

How do I earn points?

  • By buying products or services. The most common method is $1 spent = 1 point accumulated, but it's up to you to establish a points system based on the value of your products or services. 
  • When the customer does something additional, such as leaving a review on TripAdvisor, rating the company on Facebook, or referring a friend. 
  • During special events - for example, organize days when points are doubled.
  • By playing! And yes, playing a game encourages participation by stimulating the spirit of competition and the feeling of success.

Chocolats Favoris encourages its customers to take on challenges to earn points. The ChocoFan app allows them to post photos of challenges, track the number of points earned, and earn rewards in exchange for points.

Attractive rewards

The attractiveness of your loyalty program is based primarily on the added value your customers perceive and the benefits they derive from it. Rewards can be defined in advance (e.g., after 9 nights, the tenth is offered free of charge) or redeemable based on the customer's preferences. Try to vary the types of benefits offered: 

  • Products or services: a coffee, an overnight stay, a free sample, etc.;
  • Discounts or gift vouchers in the form of credit.

Recognizing the commitment of the most loyal customers by granting them a privileged status is a winning strategy. In its Grand Buveur program,  DAVIDsTEA promises special status to its most loyal customers. They receive gifts, exclusive tea samples, and invitations to VIP events. 

Stay in control

Offering attractive rewards is good but implementing a profitable loyalty program is better! It is therefore essential to follow these tips before you start: 

  • Set measurable goals before the program is implemented, such as increasing your revenue by 10% in a year or having 10% of customers who visit the store at least 5 times a year.
  • Set a budget for the customer loyalty program and stick to it. 
  • Measure the results of your program in terms of financial profitability, but also in terms of program visibility and customer satisfaction.
  • Stay on top of the results! By collecting customer feedback, you can improve your loyalty program by limiting aggravations or tailoring the benefits it provides. 


Insights written in partnership with Expérience Acadie.

Sources


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