Loyalty programs with fantastic rewards can encourage your existing customers to stick around, and even attract some new ones.
But if you want to create real customer loyalty to your brand, the idea of a reward far away in a distant future might not be enough. Instead, take cues from behavioural science and create actual changes in the way your customers ‘behave’ – so that coming back to your business becomes a habit.
The thing about a habit is that it’s hard to develop. We’re constantly struggling to fall into good habit routines. But it’s worth persevering as a loyalty strategy – because once we’re in the habit of doing something it’s also notoriously difficult to break out of it.
Step one: Identify ‘good’ behaviours
Don’t throw out your loyalty program. It might need some tweaking to indulge the customer behaviours you want to encourage.
Start by identifying the key behaviours that keep customers coming back. What are they, and what triggers them? Then, set some clear KPIs and objectives, so you can measure your performance later.
Step two: Create a place they want to come back to
To really engage customers, your loyalty program needs a fun, interactive and accessible online portal that makes them want to come back. Make sure the interface is intuitive and easy-to-use, and that you have systems in place to maintain it and keep it fresh and updated.
If it’s social, that’s an even bigger plus. You can tap into our human love for competition with leader boards and trophy cases.
And of course, make it informative. Users need to be able to access the information they need when they sign in. Trackability is a big motivator for behaviour change. Just think about how FitBit and Nike Plus got people tracking their fitness progress, and as a result, got them talking and caring about their health.
Apply that logic to your program, and make sure members’ points scores are visible on their login dashboard. Let them know what rewards they can already get with those points, and incorporate reminders telling them how much more they need to spend or what they need to do to progress to the next milestone.
Step three: Reward the behaviour change
Instant gratification for changes in behaviour – like extra points for visiting your online store regularly or signing onto the program portal a certain number of times a month – can encourage the behaviour to become a habit.
Depending on your business, you can further celebrate the success of members who receive big rewards to create a full circle of change. Share stories about what your customers have received to encourage others to get involved or increase their activity.
Analyse data to identify why customers might not be using the program to full potential, and use this information to boost activity. You could even offer extra rewards to those who encourage behaviour changes in others – those lagging customers who aren’t signing on.
Watch it trickle down
Creating these behavioural changes takes time and careful planning. But if done right, you’ll boost engagement, increase sales and strengthen customer advocacy for your brand.
It’s important to continually offer new things to your customers and not to become complacent. Keep your image fresh, keep up with regular communication, and keep the rewards flowing for the ‘right’ behaviours. A sustainable loyalty program is built on fostering all these things.