In order to receive loyalty and the other related items to it we have discussed in our previous blog posts, one must be prepared to give something to the customer in return. The value proposition you are making to your customers is basically, ‘The promise you are making in exchange for something of fair value’.
In order to come up with the exchange rate for loyalty – let’s discuss what you want from a loyalty-marketing program (again) and then discuss what you can give in exchange.
1. Data: a formal loyalty-marketing program like the ones you more than likely participate in on a daily basis, will give you data. This data is valuable because the more you know about your clients and potential clients, the better you can be at marketing and providing services. You want your clients to provide you with data on their needs and wants.
2. Advocacy: your loyal clients should be the ones who help promote your brand through endorsements, testimonials, positive reviews and word of mouth. By building a strong group of advocates, you will have the people who participate in social media and share your information.
3. Dialogue: One your main goals should be open and clear two-way dialogue with your client base. The flow of information should come from your clients as much as you. Their opinions should matter because they will make you a better company and you should be open and receptive to getting information from them.
4. Sales: Yes, it always (as it should) comes down to this – you want/need more sales from previous clients. No real elaboration is needed here, this is the bottom line.
Now, as the definition asks for, you need to give something to get these items. What will that be?
This has been mentioned before – but it is worthy of repeating – we are not talking about the home you rented them, your great customer service, the best housekeeping or anything like that. Your competition has that too (or at least they say they do). In a loyalty-marketing program, the key to the customer psychology is that they want to feel special. In order to be loyal to you – they must feel that you are being loyal to them and appreciate their repeat business. They want something that you are not giving a new person.
So, what can you give in exchange to come up with ‘fair value’? Well, what your clients really want are ‘Members-Only Benefits’. This can come in many forms, but the key is going to be they are ‘exclusive’ to your loyal clients. The more loyal they are the more benefits they will want.
Some examples of this are:
1. Exclusive or Members-Only Discounts/Privileges: your loyal clients want to receive something for their loyalty above and beyond what the average customer can receive on your website or calling your reservationists. They want to feel special. This can be considered benefits/privileges or discounts exclusive to them.
2. Promotional Currency: the most obvious form of this is rewards points. You see this in place in almost any loyalty program from hotels to grocery stores. Build up enough points and you are rewarded.
3. Soft or Hard Benefits: Examples of soft benefits would be special toll-free numbers to call, early check-ins, or late check-outs, notifications of important information ahead of others or even exclusive area discounts or coupons. Hard benefits can be combined with promotion currency and be more geared towards discounts, free linens, waived fees and even free stays.
4. Exclusive Tools: Make their shopping experience easier – help them plan their vacation or trip with tools that they can only get with you. The more stress you can relieve in planning a vacation the more they will be in debt to you.
5. Dialogue: Once again, it cannot be stressed enough that your loyal guests want to have an open dialogue with you but on their terms. They want information that is relevant to them not to the masses. If you know someone stays every year for July 4th week, they do not want information about fall get-a-ways forced on them. They want information on that week and the things to do.
Of course, they key for you is to determine how far you are willing to go to get more loyalty. Each of you has a different business model, a different set of clients and different needs. The basic need of wanting more loyalty is consistent – but how you get there may be different.