For every business, whether it’s an established brand or a recent startup, customers are the biggest assets. They are the ultimate critics of your product, and can be advocates for your brand if you manage to win them over. This is why it is important to let them know that you appreciate their continued patronage of your brand through customer loyalty programs.
First introduced by airline companies, the customer loyalty program served as a way to let customers know that they are valued, and that the brand is willing to go above and beyond to ensure their satisfaction. In today’s world of instant gratification and communication, having a well-thought-out customer loyalty initiative can do wonders for your brand.
Figuring this out involves an approach that goes beyond standard feedback forms and questionnaires. The ‘Surprise Reward’ is one such way to approach customer loyalty.
1. The element of surprise: While rewarding a customer for a set number of purchases, or for accumulating a certain number of points also pleases your customer, it is the element of surprise that works better. A brand that rewards a customer unexpectedly is more likely to delight the customer – surprises are great. Loyalty is less about ‘earning’ a reward; it is more about surprising your customers and rewarding them when they least expect it.
2. Positivity: Surprise rewards build feelings of positivity, and that, in turn, makes the customer associate these feelings with the brand. Positive feelings are powerful in leaving a lasting impression on the customer – he/she is much more likely to use your product or make a purchase again.
3. Gifts, not rewards: The psychology of gifts is about making someone feel cared for and special and this also extends to customers. A surprise reward has the effect of making them think of it as a gift from the brand and also reinforces the idea that the brand values its customers.
4. Relationship-building: Surprise rewards not only bring joy to a consumer but also ensure that he/she will tell someone about it and looks forward to engaging with your brand again. They also contribute to making a consumer feel that they have been singled out of so many others to receive a benefit or reward, making them want to let others know. Word-of-mouth is powerful, and so in this way, a customer can be an indirect brand advocate.
5. Not just for the freebies: Often, giving a reward for a set action or goal to be performed can lead to the customer doing so just for the reward and possibly would not engage after the brand as often after receiving it. A spot-reward or surprise is for something that a customer does voluntarily and so that would be seen as a lot more valuable. A solid and well-planned customer surprise reward strategy would go a long way in establishing a strong bond with your customer. In today’s fiercely competitive market for startups, the importance of a sound customer engagement program cannot be emphasized enough.