Part 6: Add Value
You’ve made it! This is the final installment of our Loyalty Iceberg Series on Creating Human-Centered Experiences: Add Value.
After reading the previous five sections, we hope you have gleaned some useful tactics for how to fulfill customer expectations, build trust and establish long standing relationships.
To recap, so far we’ve covered:
Remove the Friction
Know What I Care About
And finally, we’ll dive into one of the most important aspects of an excellent Customer Experience: Adding Value. Because, as we can all appreciate, the value you add to the experience is what keeps your customers coming back time and again.
To that end, below are five tips to help show your customers that your brand is worth their time and loyalty, fulfilling the expectation that you add value to the relationship:
- Membership has its privileges. Rewards don’t have to necessarily have a dollars-and-cents component. Giving special hours, behind-the-scenes tours, pre-sale access to specialty goods, or first-in-line availability of in-demand products with in-stock notifications helps your customers shop smarter and, well, better than everyone else, making them feel like a bit of a celeb that’s in the know. Some retailers have embraced other membership-only privileges, such as Sephora’s loyalty members-only mobile and online social platform, giving the same feeling of exclusivity and community.
- It’s the little things that make a big impact. In classic research performed by German psychologist Norbert Schwarz, he determined that finding a single dime improved someone’s day. As Schwarz reported, “It’s not the value of what you find. It’s that something positive happened that surprised you.” On this theme, not every loyalty program perk has to come with a huge price tag. For offline retail stores, offering a small freebie with sales, such as a keychain, free reusable shopping bag, branded item or other inexpensive gift can surprise and delight customers. Food, in particular, is a low-cost perk that may impact product perception: another study found that when a random group was asked to rate their televisions, consistently better ratings were given by those customers who had just been treated to free food sample.
- Give them discounts on what they already buy. You know what your customers like, and you know what they buy. Why not give them a perk to keep doing what they’re doing? Customers like the idea: nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of consumers prefer to shop at stores that send custom discounts based on purchase history. Perhaps it’s simply a relief for customers to be motivated to buy something they probably already would, rewarding loyalty without prodding customers into buying a different product, a comparable product, a complimentary product. And with nearly half (47 percent) of customers expecting more if they share personal information with companies, it makes sense to make use of the data you’ve already collected to give customers something they already have proven they want, need and use.
- Celebrate! Recognizing a loyalty milestone, such as reaching a new point tier, or celebrating a loyalty “birthday” – the anniversary of the date of joining the loyalty program – are easy ways to establish a more emotional connection with your customers. 77% of consumers state that receiving birthday/anniversary content would have a major impact on brand loyalty. In addition, birthday-centered campaigns are not only nice for your customers, but they’re also nice for you: birthday email promotions, for example, achieve a 4X increase in transaction rates and over 3X the revenue of regular marketing emails.
- Be helpful. As clinical professor of marketing Mohan Sawhney at the Kellogg School advised, “Ask not how you can sell, but how you can help.” Some customer-loyalty building ways to help include offering free advice, self-help tips newsletters, guides – any content deliverable that is of value to your customer. Whether it’s a free recipe handout at a grocery store, an article about how to measure your wall to install bookshelves on a home improvement store’s website, or a text message linking a shopper to a new fashion trends, the goal is not to sell but to entertain, inform or educate. As one marketer stated, the goal is to answer your customer’s question: What’s in it for me?; the smart brand will make it clear what’s it in for whomever by passing along content that’s timely, informative, and, ultimately, useful.
We hope that these tips will set you on the path of building a meaningful customer-brand relationship, one that withstands the test of time and can supercede unfortunate events that are out (and within) your control. Remember: customer loyalty is not only a win for you, as repeat customers generate a disproportionately large share of revenue and drive higher profits, but is also for your customer: with a company she trusts, she does not have to explore and research other options every time she makes a purchase. This reciprocity is the heart of customer loyalty, and once you ensure you’re keeping your end of the bargain by staying true to your customers, your customers will be moved to do the same.