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Why simple reward programs will increase your customer’s loyalty.

by Pia

This week I had the pleasure of my first ever microdermabrasion facial – for free. It was amazing and showed me how amazing my skin can feel etc, I won’t bore you with details. But guess what – I will book myself in for more. I got the freebie by the local beauty salon as a gesture for being a good client. Very simple.

The trick has paid off and I will be back for more.

Long-term client relationships are key to any business – never mind that being B2C or B2B – it is key to value and look after your longest and best customers. But why do so many businesses still get it so wrong?

In the world of high street shopping loyalty has many forms what staggers me is the complexity of some of the programmes. Why would anyone want to sign up for yet another loyalty card if the benefits are not clear or worse of all adds to my workload?

How come M&S only just now introduced a loyalty programme – crazy! And how come Victoria’s Secret is bombarding me with US offers when I tried to change location several times – please stop. Waitrose does offer free tea and coffee which is hugely popular but changing the spelling mistake in my name has been unsuccessful.

Unclear communications and offers that are hard to understand or complex make loyalty programmes obsolete and can damaged the core brands reputation.

How much and what to offer is vital. Simplicity and clarity are key – some brands have got it just right; Boots for instance – their programmes focuses on a nice and simple point system which are collected and converted into real cash – plus spending those points in store feels just great.

Loyalty has a different form when we think about B2B customers, treats and perks these days are frowned upon and also based on company rules mostly not allowed. So as we wave good-bye to expensive Christmas hampers what can we offer loyal customers?

Tier based packages when signing up encourage bigger upfront sales contracts. Extra offers such as training, workshop etc or partnering with third parties to offer introductory rates can also lead to longer and happier customers. Bit again keeping it simple is key – offering long term clients discounts and also free advice, workshops, educational content and events will pay off.

If we sum things up what are the key learnings for loyalty today:

01. Have a clear loyalty strategy particularly in B2B environment

02. Create programmes only if the strategy and rewards are simple to understand

03. Programmes and offers should be straightforward and not overcomplicating the customers life