How to Improve Customer Loyalty Out of Lockdown
Since customer retention is far more cost-effective than generating and converting new leads, it pays to keep your customers happy! But since the pandemic, customer behaviour has changed. For example, it’s enhanced our use of digital technologies. In fact, according to a report from McKinsey and Company, COVID-19 has accelerated the digitation of customer interactions by several years. Understanding the needs of your customers couldn’t be ever more relevant in keeping those hard-earned customers onside. Establishing a loyalty-based relationship to increase repeat customer behaviour is essential, and we have all the tips to help you get this right.
1. Say thank you with B2B rewards
When your customers or channel partners show commitment to your brand, reward & recognise them for this behaviour. This will encourage them to keep coming back for more! Including a wide range of different rewards means you’ll have something suitable for your entire audience. One type of reward that usually stands out from the rest are experiences. They are proven to evoke emotions which last longer than other rewards. Think of it like this… You earn points for your weekly shop at Tesco. Those points can be transferred to savings on your next weekly shop or a meal out. Whilst both are lovely gestures to say thanks for your commitment to the Tesco brand, how likely will you remember what you saved your money on if you choose the first option? However, if you choose the second option, the meal out, you’ll create memories with friends and family, and always be able to associate that memory with the brand who offered you that opportunity.
Given the world has been locked away, the need to be treated well, to explore the new, to get away from the norm has never been greater to help change the daily narrative, to enhance creativity and of course to have something to post about!
If interest in your brand is waning, offering a new experience could help to revitalise your channel loyalty programme to create renewed engagement and show customers that your rewards are about them.
LEGO VIP has done just that! They offer one-of-a-kind rewards across all different price points, making everyone feel like a VIP - not just their high spenders. Members are encouraged to actively engage by choosing rewards that connect with their passion and interests.
2. Get the emotions flowing
While online shopping gives customers’ more options, local lockdowns seem to have prompted customers to become more aware of their local businesses.
In April 2020, Pinterest reported a 351% (yes – 351%!!) increase in global searches for ‘support for small businesses’, suggesting that customers feel emotionally connected to smaller businesses and more aware of the impact the pandemic has had on them.
Building relationships and creating emotional connections between your brand and the customer is no longer an option but a must-do activity for your b2b loyalty programme plan. That's because 80% of customers that align with you on an emotional level will become your army of brand evangelists. They're the ones who will shout about your brand from the rooftop!
Kimpton’s reward programme, Karma, is a great example of making emotional connections. They have been known to give members memorable incentives such as a surprise yoga mat being gifted to a guest upon arriving home from their holiday, because they had posted an image of the Kimpton yoga mat that was in their hotel room.
Your marketing efforts must create mutually rewarding relationships that nurture emotional connections. Delivering an experience your customers just won’t get anywhere else and relating that back to who you are in the marketplace will help reassure your customers of your authenticity.
3. Be there for your customers when they want and need you
We all do it – order from Amazon and wait for it to arrive by next day. We try not to be disappointed when it arrives 48 hours later, but secretly we are. Our need for instant; the here and now is ever present. A company’s digital assets and performance will increasingly drive consumer loyalty.
With API connectivity all the rage, being rewarded instantly is a challenge that can be tackled by understanding the user experience and creating the right user journey using tech to steer seamless transactions between parties. Traditional b2b incentive programmes enable distributors, employees & dealers to log into their corporate platform and simply click between portals no longer having to remember multiple passwords or wait for new sites to launch. App based solutions enable that activity on the go.
Wyboston Lakes did just this! With multiple till systems across their venue, including the hotel, conference centre and spa, they needed a solution that would allow guests to earn points on their spend across all till points. Incentivesmart developed two apps. One app was for the customer which hosted the QR code and their points statement. The other app enabled employees to enter the transaction value and scan the customer’s QR code which then allocated the customer their points which can be spent across the venue.
4. Be seen, be heard and be present
Now is not the time to let communication slip! Personalisation helps make customers pause and pay attention to your brand message, especially relevant now the inbox space is becoming so noisy. Perfectly timed and perfectly relevant contact with your customers enables you to grab the upper hand to learn more about them and gather feedback, but continue providing a fantastic experience.
Acknowledge what’s important in their lives making those emotional connections! More often birthday ecards pop up in our inboxes from the likes of Hotel Chocolat, Paperchase and even The Office of National Statistics (yes that's right, you heard it here first!). It may not satisfy your craving but at least they are trying...and anyway who doesn't love a special message on their birthday?
When encouraging your customers to share their thoughts, be sure to act on the information you receive so that customers can see the benefit of engaging in this type of rapport with you. When they feel that you’re invested in learning more about them, they’ll feel valued and appreciated.
YouTube is the perfect role model here, they congratulate users when they pass 100 subscribers - and for many more milestones beyond this point. Something as simple as receiving an email provides positive reinforcement, a human touch, and encourages users to stay and play longer.
Building a customer base is challenging; keeping them is even tougher. But with the right tools, support and advice you can learn how to do this and create a B2B loyalty programme that engages and delivers. Building loyalty through trust, goodwill and community is essential. With attitudes and behaviour shifts, customers will and have come to expect more…..so more is what you need to give them, at the time they want it, but also knowing when they need it.
If you need a soundboard to help steer your thoughts, let us know here and we’ll be happy to have a chat.