In recent years there has been a tendency to undervalue loyalty programmes on the basis that customers are more inclined to impulse purchase and are attracted to an increasing number of one-off promotions. Banks, phone companies and magazine publishers have all fallen into the trap of offering new customers better deals than existing ones and this has seemed to endorse the view that customers are becoming less loyal. Statistics show though, that customers are still very loyal – we just have a wider choice.

As ever, to build an effective programme one has to understand one’s customer base or audience. How often do we hear that but how true! So, why not start by asking them what their needs are?

Once we know what we are dealing with then there are two accepted priorities. Firstly build your loyalty strategy and programmes around the customer and not around whatever is convenient to you. As ever it is about what the customer truly values. They will always want lower prices but listen carefully and you will find they also value other things. In this way you can offer them something that is relevant – a vital component of any programme. Next, customers won’t be loyal if their customer experience is not a good one in the first place. So, it is worth remembering that the customer experience has a large part to play in any loyalty programme and it makes sense to make it integral to the offer.

Lastly bear in mind the “boredom factor.” In this rush-around world people can forget their habits or lose interest quite quickly. All in all, it not a question of one programme fits all – so make sure that the programme is kept constantly updated and fresh.

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