|Report: New customer loyalty programs build competitive advantage|
|Written by Christine D. Johnson|
|Wednesday, 02 April 2014 02:22 PM EDT|
Loyalty management leader Aimia recently released Rewarding Interactions: Are You Ready for Customer Intimacy?. The global report highlights the importance of connecting with customers beyond the transactional levelâ€”and planning for interactions before and after the purchase activity.
â€śReal loyalty isn't created at the close of the sale,â€ť said Rick Ferguson, vice president, knowledge development for Aimia. â€śIt's created when the brand and the customer become intimate through multiple interactions before, during and after the purchase. Companies that strategically use those interactions to learn more about their customers will build greater loyalty, create new revenue streams and develop lifelong customers.â€ť
Loyalty programs that reward customers for behaviors and attitude build deep customer advocacyâ€”and a sustainable competitive advantage.
The report also showed that when customer interactions are executed effectively, the intimacy and trust built through those interactions are catalysts for customers to become brand ambassadors, promoting the brand to their networks, including social media. Companies that value interactions develop ways to reward and recognize loyal customers beyond points, cash and discounts. For example, social currencyâ€”online recognition and statusâ€”is a way for customers to gain social standing among peers and social groups.
The report cites four reasons to collect interaction as well as transaction data: to create new revenue streams; to drive incremental revenue from the loyalty base; to leverage and validate investments in new communication channelsâ€”where, when and how the consumer wants to be reached, including social media and mobile; and to lower the cost to serve, while increasing value.