So, you’ve just signed up to launch a customer loyalty program. Now what? Our customer retention experts at Ackroo have come up with a list of 5 winning ideas to get your new loyalty program off the ground and heading in the right direction.
- Create your rules.
- Train your staff.
- Plan your way to success.
- Talk about it.
- Make it personal.
Keep reading to dive deeper into these ideas and learn how you can become a master of customer retention.
Step 1: Create your rules.
Decisions, decisions… You will need to decide what currency you are going to offer customers to collect/redeem with your business.
Consider any exceptions. Do you have a SKU that you can’t afford to offer as part of a redemption? You need to outline that in your company’s loyalty program rule set.
Your options include:
- creating a “point based reward system” (similar to Shopper’s Optimum) or
- you could offer “cash back based rewards” (ex. for every dollar spent you could earn 1% cash back on your loyalty card).
The choice is up to you and you need to make it clear to your customer what your earning rules are and the rules around redemption. *Hint: the less rules, the better. The more clear and simple your rules are, the easier it will be for your customers to onboard and get excited about your offers. Starbucks has done a great job of outlining their program.
Publicize your rules on your website to make it easy for your customers to understand, or better yet, send out a “thank you email” outlining how your program rules work that is triggered to send when your customer registers their loyalty card.
Pro Tip: Part of a winning customer loyalty program is to come up with a fun name for your loyalty program & points! New York fries called theirs “The Fry Society“. Make your customers feel like they are a part of something special and be sure to offer VIP style rewards.
Step 2: Train your staff.
How will your customers know about your new loyalty program if no one tells them about it? Are you trying to promote a specific SKU that needs to move in a timely manner? Ensuring your staff is up to date on your current and upcoming offers/promotions will make your program instantly more successful. Make a designated training session for each staff member to run through your loyalty program and cover things like:
- The sign up process / how-to
(consider getting each employee to sign up to your program so they understand what the customer goes through)
- Explaining how to tell customers about the program
- How to physically issue/redeem points or cash on the POS/payment terminal
- Talk about your marketing plan and how the program will be rolled out to customers
- What the current offers are (if any)
Remember to ask for feedback and share ideas with your front line staff about what offers you could create. It will help make your employees feel invested in your program and get them excited to talk to customers about it.
Pro Tip: Consider offering an employee incentive for the most loyalty sign ups in a given time period. This will motivate your employees to engage with customers.
Step 3: Plan your way to success.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”. With that in mind, take some time to create a monthly loyalty program calendar. Consider what goals you want to achieve and remember that you are also a consumer. What types of special rewards would you like to get from your favourite business? Be sure to measure the success of your efforts using your loyalty program dashboard data.
Your plan should include:
- Physical and digital communication plans – what are you offering that is special and to whom? Are your deals time sensitive? (ex. “happy hour only”)
- Special event considerations (birthdays / holidays / events related to your business)
- Pushing updates to your blog, social media, email and/or website
- Member specific offers (ex. members over a certain threshold during March will receive a special offer of “x”)
- Staff training updates
Pro Tip: Create SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time based) that you can track your loyalty program progress against. Use your personalized dashboard to monitor your stats.
Step 4: Talk about it.
The number-one way to get your customers on board your new loyalty program is to let them know you have a new loyalty program. Consider sending an email to announce your new program, or create a table talker announcing the benefits of your program. Another clever way is to announce your program on your receipt or create a postcard to give to every customer. It doesn’t matter how you talk about. It just matters that you do.
Pro Tip: Consider creating a promotion to incentivize & reward people for signing up. This could include $ off their next visit, a free “x” or 10x the points / dollars on their first purchase using the program. Banks and credit cards are notorious for offering special sign-up bonuses.
Step 5: Make it personal.
Loyalty works best when your customers feel like there is something in it for them that goes above and beyond the regular offers everyone in the program receives. By creating accumulation thresholds for special rewards, you can incentivize your customers to keep coming back to achieve the special incentives. These rewards could be an extra special discount on something that isn’t normally discounted, priority treatment (think front of the line experiences) or exclusive access something special (behind the scene tour of your company, one on one with VIP at your company etc.).
Pro Tip: Be unique. People care about experiences and you can take advantage of a social media play by offering something special. Think about hosting a special “lottery” for one qualifying customer above a certain threshold to win, such as a free glass of wine every week for a year or something along those lines. Sign up for a loyalty program yourself that the “big guys” offer and replicate some ideas they are pushing to their customers!
Now that you’ve mastered the 5 best practices, check out some of our other blog posts outlining 8 ideas to try this season for your loyalty program & 4 ways to attract customers to your program. We are always here to help, so if you have any questions regarding loyalty program success, or want to set up your first loyalty promotion with Ackroo, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. All the best!