Five key loyalty trends to watch for 2011
Customer loyalty is increasingly a critical tool for growing and maintaining market share, yet each year marketers are faced with new and evolving challenges that can affect their ability to attract new customers and maintain relationships with existing ones. So which of these trends should we all be watching most closely in 2011?
According to loyalty marketing firm Uber, one of the most significant challenges that businesses face today is optimising customer satisfaction and developing an effective, meaningful customer relationship management strategy.
With this in mind, the company has isolated five key trends that marketers will need to watch in the near term:
- Embracing Social Media Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter can provide businesses with specific information on how their target market thinks and acts. The informal, non-threatening environment is an ideal place to engage with customers about anything from buying preferences to promotions to customer feedback.
Real-time sites such as Twitter and Openbook can also provide you with lead generation ideas; a quick search can help find people who are looking for a company just like you, actively seeking a product or service you provide, but aren't aware of you.
- Engage Consumer Communities Almost goes without saying but customer service can always be improved, especially as customers become increasingly savvy and demanding, and quite rightly too.
Consumer action and money-saving sites are there to help consumers get the best possible deals, but don't treat this as a threat. Embrace it, get on board and interact with these sites for heightened exposure and positive reputation management.
- Tap Into Emotional Psyches Loyalty will continue to centre on emotional thought processes rather than rational, incentive-based initiatives.
Psychological economists have often spoken of economic decision-making being 70% emotional and 30% rational which perfectly sums up why tactical incentive-based loyalty campaigns, that are based on rationality, do not always work so well. Tapping into the feelings behind customer decisions will ultimately create connected, passionate and engaged customers, which is essential.
- Relevant, Targeted Loyalty Programmes Customers of today are increasingly demanding which is a good thing for all involved. Listen to their needs and wants, and carve out loyalty programmes for customers who are always thinking about me.
This will make them individual, relevant and most importantly, personal, which is the most frequently chosen reason for spending more with a company. Show customers you are listening, use data effectively to build on your targeted personalised loyalty programme.
- Think Differently Not everyone wants more "me too" points-based customer loyalty schemes. Challenge yourself and dare to be different. Non points-based loyalty programmes can be more cost effective, allow you to control spend, don't have huge liability issues, and could also earn you a much faster ROI.