An organization’s success can be largely based upon how successful they are at recruiting new members and retaining those they already have. One strategy that has worked time after time is the creation of loyalty programs for members that offer perks that attract a strong following—and provide products and services that members would not otherwise have access to. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a loyalty program for a customer base.
Figure Out What Members Want:
Because the key to a loyalty program is offering something of value to the customer, you’ll want to decide just what that “value” is. This will of course depend entirely upon your customer base, and the products and opportunities that your company is able to offer. There are multiple ways to do this.
If customers’ needs are particularly hard to assess, offering them a survey in which they are able to better communicate their interests can be a viable solution—and can provide insight into your clientele that your company might not otherwise have had. Membership management software makes this both easy and efficient.
It might also be a good idea to have “customer support” meetings with staff that work closely with your clientele, and who therefore are at the front lines for customer suggestions, feedback, and complaints. Staff can be a rich source of information and fresh ideas; take full advantage of this feedback source when you can.
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Perks and Member Engagement:
Do not fear if your company cannot offer goods to all members; this can be a financial stretch, particularly for non-profit organizations. Instead, you can look toward opportunities that you can provide to enhance your customers’ experience. Examples of this might include offering exclusive sale offers, free conference attendance, reduced renewal fees, or entrance to a member’s only event.
Be creative with this: loyalty perks can be great opportunities to support or create community among members. Providing special events or avenues in which members can interact with one another will increase the value of their membership while it will naturally attract new clients who want access to membership in a community of people with similar interests.
Utilizing Online Communities:
Not all of this customer interaction needs to occur in person.
It is becoming more and more common for members to contact one another through online forums and communities. With the rise of social media, it only makes sense for customers to extend their relationships to the virtual world and to reach out to one another through that medium.
It can also be fruitful to utilize LinkedIn, which now offers company pages that allow users to “recommend” businesses to their families and friends, and surveys have shown that members are most convinced to join a community when they receive positive recommendations from the people closest to them–it’s virtual word of mouth.
Really, any perk you can offer that can inspire customer participation will yield a higher return for you than it will for the client, and will keep them invested in your company for the long haul.