Photo by Alan C.
Loyalty programs are much more than the sum of their points! In fact, without a commitment to loyalty throughout the organization, they are often less than that. According to a study by The Wise Marketer, 96 % of the population are currently members of a reward program with 64% belonging to 3 or more programs. With repeat customers spending 67% more than new ones, it’s no wonder retailers are working to build their loyal customer base.
We all know that keeping current customers is significantly cheaper than finding and attracting new ones. But, how many of us realize the critical role front line employees play in building customer loyalty? We’ve identified three ways your employees can help your loyalty program succeed.
1. Ensure that your Customer Service is excellent.
According to McKinsey, 70% of consumers cite poor customer service as a reason to not buy from a brand, and 95% of people will share a bad experience with their social circles (ZenDesk, April 2013). Conversely, good customer service was the single most important aspect in encouraging consumers to spend more. The importance of good customer service has become so prominent that a new branch of loyalty has been defined: Customer Experience Management. CEM looks at the customer experience before, during and after purchase and, when taking this view, the importance of front line employees cannot be ignored. It doesn’t matter how great your loyalty program is; if excellent customer service is not a focus, your program will sink.
2. Understand that your consumers are participating in more loyalty programs than ever before.
Loyalty program participation in Canada increased 14% between 2012 and 2013. Understanding your program and the benefits helps to gain consumer commitment to the program. Make sure your front line employees understand your program, in depth. They need to be ready to answer questions on signing up, accumulating points and status, the rewards and redemption. All your employees should be members of your loyalty program so that they have first-hand understanding of how the program works. As well, they should be well versed in the cool rewards, even those for few points. One of the best ways to motivate consumers is to have great rewards for few points. It builds loyalty because they know they can reach the goal.
3. Don’t forget to extol the benefits of the program!
As we discussed in Becoming a Retail Destination Store, having your front line employees trained to highlight the special elements of your program demonstrates to consumers that you understand them and what they value. It is the one-to-one connection with consumers that demonstrates that your company has the same values as they have. And it’s that one-to-one connection that strengthens the loyalty bond. In fact, if your rewards create an emotional connection that your front line employees can sell to customers, in addition to showing them how attainable the rewards are, it’s a home run. When your employees are members of your loyalty program, there are opportunities for them to relay their own experiences with rewards to the customer – this is the most powerful testimonial for your program.
By ensuring that you train and teach your front line employees to consistently deliver great service and promote your loyalty program, you will soon find that your loyalty program is greater than the sum of its parts!