The answer is to tap the experience and knowledge of your own employees. What feedback are they receiving from their customers? What types of rewards do they value? What are other companies in your industry doing? What can you improve upon or do differently?
Asking these questions and thinking how a customer would help you to determine how to build trust and win over brand loyalty.
Here are nine cost-effective and creative ways to implement a rewards program into your business.
1- Personal Acknowledgment
Nothing means more to a person than a simple acknowledgment of their existence and importance. Call them by name. Acknowledge their birthday and other milestones. Send a text, make a phone call, or mail a handwritten note.
Thank them every time they make a referral, a compliment on Social Media, and even when they leave a bad review.
2- Exclusive Perks
There is a myriad of ways to implement a rewards program but here are just a few thoughts to keep in mind.
- Give loyal customers a title such as VIP, Premier, Gold Member, etc.
- Offer members-only access to sales, events, contests, etc.
- Make it relatively easy to reach loyalty status and consider implementing tiers.
- Keep the program simple; e.g. a straight percentage off or dollar-for-dollar earnings.
- Programs don’t necessarily need to be free. You can charge an upfront fee for access to VIP benefits.
- Be sure your program offers actual value to your customer.
3- Celebrate with a Special Surprise
Catch your customer off guard (in a good way) when you surprise them with something special. It can be as simple as sending a greeting card on a less-celebrated holiday such as Groundhog Day or dropping off bagels on a Monday morning. Gift cards and free upgrades are always appreciated.
Your act of celebration, especially when it’s unexpected and fun, will mean a lot to your customer.
4- Be Social Media Savvy
In this tech-driven time, it’s imperative that your business has a strong online presence. This means you are on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and every other widely used social media platform.
Post often and with relevance. Make special announcements, give exclusive promotions, answer questions, post pictures, and ask for feedback.
5- Face-to-Face Meetings
Nothing can take the place of an executive or a sales rep meeting face to face with your customers. It can be as formal as an invitation-only meet-and-greet event, as personal as taking someone out to lunch, or as spontaneous as introducing themselves and shaking hands with customers who are waiting in line.
By making that one-on-one connection, it shows that there is a caring face behind your company’s logo.
6- Teach to Build Trust
Teaching is a great way to building trust with your customers.
- Write blog posts explaining why a certain service is needed.
- Offer a class on a software program.
- Give tastings of your products.
- Lead tours of your facility.
- Set up online question-and-answer sessions.
When a company is transparent about their goals and how they achieve them, they are rewarded with their customers’ confidence.
7- Return the Favor
When your customers are other businesses (b2b), make every effort to say thanks by sending business back to them. When applicable, bring them into your network. Refer them to your clients or refer your clients to them.
Other ways to say thanks are by linking to their website on your blog, making enthusiastic comments on their social media posts, and by offering your own testimonial.
8- Charity Never Faileth
Giving back is always a good idea. Whether you do something charitable for one person, a family, or an entire community, your efforts won’t go unnoticed.
- Make a contribution on behalf of a client.
- Plant a tree.
- Give employees time off for volunteer work.
- Donate school supplies.
- Participate in a fundraiser.
- Simply smile and make the day a bit brighter for someone else.
9- Happy Employees Equal Happy Customers
Creating customer loyalty is a team effort and starts with loyal employees. Nothing says thank you better than friendly, helpful service representatives. Let your employees’ personalities shine through and give them the flexibility required to help customers in any realistic way that they see fit. Your customers will respond with repeated business.
When you start rewarding loyal customers by truly considering what they want, you’ll be able to implement a plan that not only brings in new business but keeps it.
About the Author:
Bryan Peterson is a freelance contributor for multiple online publications. He has recently worked with ROI Call Center Solutions. Bryan is committed to learning about innovative methods that will help people to progress in their careers. When he is not busy writing, Bryan loves to be outdoors, and he loves to be with friends.