True loyalty requires passion. A customer who won’t switch brands for a better price has an emotional connection to the brand, not a rational one. People rationalize their loyalty by saying the product is higher quality, or the company has better customer service. But quality and service are situational, transactional and very difficult to measure. For a customer, loyalty comes down to feelings. It’s trust in the people you’re doing business with and the certainty the product you’re buying will perform as promised. Those feelings began the moment the customer chose to engage with your people, products and company. From that point on, every transaction and engagement either nourished or diminished those feelings.
Loyalty programs are designed to keep customers coming back again and again and differentiate or defend a sponsor from competitors. Just look at the numbers:
$48,000,000,000 in loyalty program award points are dispensed annually according to Colloquy. That doesn’t even count couponing, discounts or customer gifts.
3,800,000,000 U.S. individual loyalty program memberships. The US Census Bureau says 323 million Americans live in 117 million US households. That means every American averages nearly 12 loyalty program memberships and each household is enrolled in 32 programs.
The lion’s share of the investment in a loyalty program is spent on rewards. Yet, many sponsors forget the importance of the reward delivery experience. What does it say when you don’t recognize someone’s preferred customer status when they redeem their points? What are you communicating when the item they saved so long for arrives in a plain brown box?
Hinda understands the importance of the experience of receiving an award. When done correctly, it reinforces a customer’s emotional connection with the company. The reward delivery experience must show appreciation for their patronage and help reinforce the brand promise. Delivering their award in a special box or packaging that includes a thank you card from an executive makes the experience memorable. A follow-up call from customer service to verify delivery and their satisfaction with their award helps remind the customer why they like doing business with a company that cares while promoting their continued support.
One of our clients, a global financial organization with over 7,000,000 active members leverages their reward delivery experience to make it a celebration and demonstrate appreciation with each redemption.
Members receive a special personalized confirmation email thanking them immediately after placing their order.
Awards are shipped in a special box sized specifically for the item to reduce the likelihood of damage during shipment and wrapped in specially branded “thank you” tape.
Each award is sent with a personalized card inside reminding the member of their importance to the sponsor, reinforcing the brand and maintaining the emotional tie by showing appreciation for the customer.
Today’s loyalty practitioners must seek out every opportunity to enhance the relationship with their customers. Each chance to surprise and delight a customer is another opportunity to deepen the emotional bonds tying them to you. Making the reward delivery special is a low cost way to enhance the brand experience for your loyal customer and doesn’t just keep them purchasing from you, but helps create an advocate to refer others as well.