It seems like everyone is selling something nowadays. With the rise of ecommerce and online shopping, customers today have more options and choice than ever before.
The heavy market saturation has proven beneficial for customers who want to find the best deal and the most affordable prices. However, the sheer magnitude of competition has presented retailers and businesses with the challenge of working harder to maintain customer retention and loyalty.
One of the most successful ways to enhance and maintain customer engagement are reward and loyalty programs. According to the latest marketing research, customer experience and rewards programs reign supreme with all demographics as a way to inspire long-term loyalty.
The data collected by online marketing information collector Marketingprofs found that, when asked, 87 percent of consumers said they do want customer loyalty programs. Another 89 percent of shoppers reported currently participating in as many as 10 loyalty or reward programs.
International computer company Dell recently launched a customer loyalty program of their own in an attempt to grab a larger section of the market.
“Now we see our program as a way to strengthen our entire online store experience,” said Ryan Massimo, Marketing Director at Dell. “To do this, we are integrating the loyalty program into Dell.com and enhancing our online technology to allow greater access to the benefits our customers desire the most such as fast shipping, rewards, and exclusive offers.”
For Dell, the rewards program is a needed tool in fostering a positive customer experience, which is a deciding factor when it comes to customer retention. “Our biggest focus has always been on ensuring our customers have the best experience possible when visiting Dell.com,” noted Massimo.
However, loyalty and rewards programs aren’t just for retailers.
These specialty initiatives can be implemented by all businesses. Take, for example, the plastic surgery industry. Clinics like Toronto Cosmetic Clinic, a plastic surgery centre located in the heart of Toronto, Canada, are introducing points-based reward programs that allow patients to collect points for every dollar they spend on procedures at the clinic.
Designed to pay homage to repeat customers while enhancing customer experience, Toronto Cosmetic Clinic’s Exclusive Rewards Card program has been popular with the clinic’s patients and has made Toronto Cosmetic Clinic’s patient experience all the more richer.
Loyalty programs have become popular because they go beyond simply rewarding a customer for their patronage — they showcase a business’s appreciation of its customers. Customer experience, which includes how valued and appreciated the customer feels, ranks highly among reasons why customers stay with or turn away from a company.
The top three reasons consumers switch brands or discontinue business are very telling. In the top spot, at 31 percent was cheaper pricing, which comes as little surprise.
However, the second and third spots both had to do with customer service and experience. 18 percent of respondents said they had stopped doing business with a company because the staff was rude, while 16 percent reported too many mistakes as the determining factor in the termination of the relationship.
While some business owners may be leery to implement a loyalty program out of fear of increased cost, a report from Intuit QuickBooks explains that these programs can actually boost revenue and patronage, which, after all, is the goal of all commercial businesses.