Survey: Brands Need to Rethink the Conversation When it Comes to Customer Loyalty
This spring, 3Cinteractive completed its fourth annual mobile loyalty survey of both brands and consumers to gauge how attitudes and behaviors towards loyalty programs have evolved year-over-year, as well as the effect mobile technology is having on the interactions between consumers and their favorite brands. This year’s results showed consumers still expect more from brands when it comes to loyalty program communications and engagements.
Below are some of our key learnings from the survey, a few questions to ask yourself to see if you're keeping up with your customers, and some solutions if you need to catch up.
Your Customer Loves to Chat
Gone are the days of one-way communication. Consumers today demand instant access and answers. They're not going to wait on hold for customer service or for a response from a “contact us” email, and they’re getting more comfortable interacting with chat interfaces. In fact, our survey revealed 82 percent of customers have communicated with their favorite brand through a messaging chatbot. While it’s true that chatbot technology is still in its infancy and customers aren't always satisfied with the interaction, they still said being able to communicate with brands through a chat interface made them more brand loyal.
Is your brand keeping up with these expectations of instant communication? Is it offering a frictionless, easy-to-access entry point for customers to quickly get what they want?
Quick Win: Implementing text messaging into your loyalty program can be an effective and efficient tactic to answer simple customer inquiries like point balances, available offers and redemption codes — with no need for customers to remember login details or loyalty member ID numbers.
Your Customer Wants to Get Personal
Once again, personalization topped the list this year when customers were asked what features of a loyalty program are most important to them. This is consistent with research from Accenture, that found 91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations. Therefore, if you’re still blasting the same offer week after week to all of your customers, now is the time to figure out how to integrate your CRM profiles and purchase data into your loyalty program.
How would you rate your ability to deliver personalized communications? Do you leverage existing CRM data to improve your customer experience?
Quick Win: Using the mobile wallet functionality pre-installed on almost all smartphones can be a great tool to take your loyalty card from physical to digital, and it will always be with your customer. Loyalty cards stored in a mobile wallet can be personalized and updated directly with customer details like status change, new offers or points balances, making sure your customer always has the most up-to-date information.
Your Customer Wants Choices
There are many communication channels to choose from today: email, app notifications, push, text, chat, to name a few. Your customer doesn’t want to be boxed into one channel; they want the option to interact through multiple touchpoints. This year’s survey revealed that a brand's app and website were the two most popular places customers look for their loyalty status. However, as the customer moves through their day, these preferences may change. For example, the app may be preferred first thing in the morning as the customer has time to plan their day, but they may prefer to receive a loyalty status update in the middle of the afternoon via a text message. As additional channels emerge, you’ll need to test and learn to see how your customers interact and engage.
How do you keep pace with new technology? What's your brand’s strategy for testing new channels?
Quick Win: RCS, the much-anticipated upgrade to SMS, is growing in popularity with all major U.S. carriers having announced launch plans. RCS is feature-rich and blends the experience of an app with the convenience of messaging. It's native to the mobile device with nothing to download or update, and early trials have proven to be effective in serving customers. Getting in on early trails of new technology like RCS can allow brands to experiment with emerging channels relatively risk-free before they reach widespread adoption.
With 61 percent of customers responding that a mobile-enabled loyalty program makes them visit and/or purchase more often, it’s now more important than ever to rethink the customer conversation.
Margie Kupfer is vice president of marketing at 3Cinteractive, the leading provider of rich communication services (RCS).