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Loyalty Levers 10 Ways to Make Your Loyalty Program Experiential

Tips and advice for improving your loyalty program and how to make it experiential. This type of program includes the customer journey behaviors, which is a shift from the traditional earn and burn programs. This takes the customer beyond just a transactional experience and creates a much more engaging program overall.

10 Ways to Make Your Loyalty Program Experiential

Welcome to the next edition of Annex Cloud Market Movers. It's called loyalty levers, where we bring in the best tips and advice and the right levers to pull to improve the success of your loyalty program. Today's topic is specifically focused on how to make your loyalty program experiential. We're going to cover 10 specific tips and tricks on how you can do that very effectively to improve the success of your loyalty program.

1. Include Customer Experience Behaviors

This one's an extremely important one where you want to make customer loyalty programs, a part of your entire customer experience. Too often, we fall in the trap of focusing just on earn and burn or transactional loyalty. That is where I want my customers to get rewarded for certain behaviors or purchases only, but not for the entire customer experience and including customer experience behaviors within your loyalty program that are beyond just transactions, it will help you succeed and make your program a lot more experiential and keep your program members engaged.

2. Track and Reward Social Behaviors

We've got three sorts of behaviors defined here. We've got the Connect, the Mention, and the Share. And so the idea behind social behaviors is a great way within the customer experience when your customers are experiencing your products when they're sharing their experience with others to reward them for that behavior experience. So imagine airline loyalty program, especially during these times of post-COVID where you not only had a great experience flying, but you shared that on Twitter. How important would that be for the airline that rewards that customer in miles for that share? How important would it be for a retailer that just opened their stores and people came in and shared their experience with everyone socially for that. So, that's the idea of social loyalty. Within the three steps that I defined, the connect is the identification of the customer.

A lot of times you don't know who that social customer is and how I tie that into the loyalty program. And so that's allowing them to connect their social profile with their loyalty profile, thereby allowing them to connect the dots together. The mention is rewarding them for those social mentions, where they're proactively sharing and telling everyone else about their amazing experience. And lastly, the sharing part is them sharing your products or sharing other things like for example, their purchase with other people or their experience with your service with other people. And that's important as well to garner experiential loyalty membership for your program.

3. Incentivize Referrals and Advocacy

Beyond sharing. You want to incentivize referrals and advocacy. It's not just important that people share with their networks. It's important that they then use that to generate referrals for you, for your products and services. And it's important for you to incentivize those referrals and advocates specifically within your loyalty program. Advocacy is the next level for loyalty and it's important that you roll that up into one coherent program.

4. Provide Experiential Rewards and Benefits

The next tip here is to provide experiential rewards and benefits. A lot of times we think that our customers only want discounts. And frankly, loyalty programs are a way to kind of go against the discounting policy. Discounts as a way to the bottom and you're training your people or your audiences incorrectly if you keep discounting your products and essentially giving gift cards and discounts as part of your loyalty program membership is one of those portions, but giving them experiential rewards that they care about, whether it's swag, whether it's an invitation to an event, whether that's something special or maybe whether it's even charity donations, is an excellent way to kind of keep your loyalists engaged by giving them experiential benefits, not just a discount focus benefits.

5. Surprise and Delight Customers

The next tip here is to surprise and delight your customers, and so surprise and delight is a very, very interesting and important technique. One of the things we talk about is, you don't want your program to be one size fits all. I come to a page and I understand what the program parameters are, but that applies not just to me, but to everyone else. You want to keep people engaged and if you want to do that effectively, you'd want to include surprise and delight techniques in your program. That surprise and delight could be a benefit that I would get as a customer that I wasn't expecting, that I wouldn't see out there, but because I did something special, I would be recognized for it and I would get a surprise benefit that would delight me. And these surprise and delight benefits would make me share more often. So now I would tell everyone else about my experience and that virtuous loop of involving that social loyalty would now allow me to stay engaged in that loyalty program.

6. Gamification: Make it Fun

The next tip is to gamify and make it fun. You know, the loyalty programs can get boring a lot. If I forget about a program and I don't think about it on an ongoing basis it will make me sort of not react to it more positively. There's an important fact that people are part of close to 20 loyalty programs where they're engaged, really engaged in about three to five of them. And you want to be one of those three to five programs you need to gamify and make it fun for those people to come back and engage with you regularly, as part of their experiential rewards and benefits, you want to gamify loyalty program as well.

7. Provide Exclusivity and Early Access

The next one is to provide exclusivity and early access. As one of the rewards and benefits that we've seen people care about, especially in experiential programs, is the benefit of getting something early, better, and before that other people would get it. The fact that I'm a loyal member, the fact that I'm a gold or platinum member of your program should allow me benefits that other people wouldn't get as surprise and delight and would allow me benefits earlier than other people would get and that early access and that exclusivity get those people excited and takes them away from that mindset of the traditional kind of benefit-focused loyalty or this traditional discount-focused loyalty, where I'm waiting for a discount.

8. Educate

The next one is to educate. And this one's an important, important part. You need to use your loyalty program to educate your audiences about upcoming products... And sort of getting feedback from them about those products and sort of engaging them within that educational experience. And a lot of times we just talk about benefits, we don't talk about education. Education is such an important part of the loyalty program, and you do make sure that that is incorporated into your program design.

9. Solicit Feedback

The important part of a loyalty program is it's a membership and it's a membership of people that care about you, that essentially raised their hand and said, "I want to make a difference. I essentially opting into this program when I had a chance not to." And so, as part of that, you need to solicit feedback, not just about your products and services but slithers of feedback about the loyalty program itself. And you can do this effectively through surveys or integration with other products like Medallia and Qualtrics and SurveyMonkey, but essentially getting that survey data into a loyalty program. And then essentially that feedback and incorporating that feedback loop into your loyalty program experience is extremely important to create an experiential benefit. It shows that you care, it shows that you're listening.

10. Personalize + Tailor the loyalty program

And then lastly use that information to personalize and to tailor the loyalty program, to the feedback that you've gotten. Again, back to the point of having experiential rewards and having surprise and delight campaigns, you need to personalize the benefit to these people so that they feel it's distinguished it's for them. And it's not a one size fits all. And that personalization techniques, then when applied correctly, make me much more engaged in that experience of that loyalty program.

So hope you enjoyed it. Those were 10 tips to make your loyalty program truly experiential and differentiated. Thanks, Bye for now!