I was having a tidy out of my wallet last night and kept coming across customer loyalty card after customer loyalty card. Some of them were for places I frequent often and have given me a lot back over the years but it got me thinking, do I feel loyal to a business just because of its reward programme?
Customer loyalty programmes can be very good at building loyalty as long as they’re done well. You want people to feel loyal to your business and to do that you need to offer them something that’ll make them go out of their way to visit your business and want to keep returning. However, you can’t just rely on a loyalty card to bring back your customers ― fundamentally you still need a solid business. Your product and price must be competitive and consistent.
Consistency is essential in building customer loyalty. Your customers need to know they can expect the same product and service every time they spend money with you. If you manage the quality of your product and consistently meet your client’s expectations, then they are much more likely to be happy to continue to buy from you and give you their loyalty.
In my mind at least, employing good staff seems the key to customer loyalty. Often your staff are the people customers deal with on a more frequent basis than yourself, so you need them to consistently act how you expect them too. You want frontline employees who have great people skills as well as product or service knowledge. Your customers need to feel that they can talk to anyone in your business and receive the same friendly service and expert knowledge.
So while I think that some customer loyalty programmes, and the pile of cards in my wallet, are beneficial, I do think there is more that people can do to build loyalty with their customers and keep them coming through the door. Loyalty is so much more that just handing out a plastic card and waiting for the repeat business to increase. No matter how fantastic your product or loyalty programme is, if people feel like they aren’t being treated well then they won’t be back.