Introducing a customer loyalty programme into your business model is a fantastic way to boost retention and improve your customer relationships. Businesses that invest in creating positive interactions with audiences through personalised rewards schemes are also actively building their brand – an essential factor when competing in today's market.
With this in mind, it's important to point out that the wrong loyalty programme, for all your good intentions, may not bring about the desired results.
There are some key considerations and distinctions to make when comparing possible new customer loyalty platforms for your business. Taking the time to get it right from the onset will save your organisation money and help you to reach your goals faster.
Different strategies and rewards may require different platforms
Every business has its own reasons for wanting to introduce a customer loyalty programme. You may require more engagement from your customers, more interaction on social media, or you may be trying to achieve higher customer satisfaction levels.
A specific strategy can help achieve each of these desired outcomes.
For example, if you have an internal sales team, you can inject an element of competition into their targets through a loyalty platform that has features to support social gamification, such as leaderboards. However, if you have external sales channels or a distribution network, this type of strategy may not be as effective as it won't allow for anonymity.
If customer satisfaction is your priority, then getting feedback is a great way to gain insight into how you can improve your service delivery. The platform should allow you to gather information from customers through reviews, ratings, surveys, and other communication prompts that help you plug into the general satisfaction levels of your buyers.
If you're aiming to increase market share, you'll need a platform that lets you strategically promote a wide range of your products. Segmenting different customer groups based on their demographics and interactions with your brand will help you to initiate very targeted promotions and create upsell opportunities for your distributors.
Suppose your strategy is focused around driving the product knowledge of your sales channels and distributors to boost upselling. You’ll need a platform that allows you to communicate and push out product launches or new product feature updates in an effective way. This could include quizzes, news emails, or feeds on a dashboard.
How 'brandable' do you need it to be?
In many ways, your platform acts as an extension of your brand. After all, rewarding your customers should be part of a greater marketing mission to increase loyalty and retention. You should look into whether the platform you are considering allows for the level of customisation you require to nurture consistent and positive brand association with your customers.
Do you need it to integrate?
Your customer loyalty programme software is separate from your CRM. However, to utilise the data you have regarding your customers' attributes and optimise your campaigns, you may require both platforms to integrate.
With so many other digital factors coming into play when building your customer experience, your loyalty programme software should have a fully-featured API to allow it to connect with your other digital systems, such as your CRM, ERP or POS.
Set or changeable rewards?
If you'd like to keep customers engaged, a blanket approach won't be very appealing.
“New research proves that consumers are expecting, if not demanding, highly personalised experiences.” – Forbes
Each segment of your customer base is likely to have a different set of preferences in regards to the rewards they'd like to earn. Check that your platform has a wide range of rewards that are kept up to date, and ideally the ability to promote relevant reward categories or even edit the offering.
Managed or self-managed?
Many loyalty software providers offer a management service, working closely with your business to create a programme that meets your specific requirements. They will also take on the management of the programme on your behalf, regularly touch base to report on metrics and analytics, as well as keep you in the loop on how things are performing. Your account manager needs to have a thorough understanding of your business so that their decisions always align with your objectives.
If you'd prefer to do the steering yourself but still want to ensure you get the best of your programme, select an intuitive and easy to use loyalty programme software that you'll feel comfortable using with your team, and that has a thorough onboarding process to make sure it's set up correctly to start you off in the right direction.
Different loyalty programmes have different payment models which may or may not suit your budget. It's essential to understand how it will work before you commit.
You should also consider the size of your organisation. Small, growing businesses need to think about scalability. Find out whether you will only be billed when points are allocated or once rewards are redeemed, and whether there is a per-user cost or a monthly license fee for the platform. All of these factors will help you determine whether this is a loyalty programme which suits your business.
At Incentivesmart, we offer a leading online points-based engagement platform which allows your business to get tangible results from customers using real data and analytics. Each user can enjoy a personalised account through which they can redeem their points and choose from a wide range of rewards and offers. To keep your cash flow steady, you'll only pay for the rewards your customers redeem. Our platform is founded on engagement, so you can always access customer feedback and genuinely useful metrics that you can apply in your retention strategy.
We want you to get the most out of your Incentivesmart demo experience. There are some key questions which will guide you towards making a more assured decision about whether we're the right-fit customer loyalty programme provider for you. Click here to request a demo and download the questions now.