By Jeanne Roué Taylor
How much does customer loyalty bring your business to your stores, site or app versus how often you seek out the customer? If you’re achieving meaningful customer engagement and your loyalty programs are working, the balance will be in your favor.
We’ve worked hard to help people accidentally find us. Search engine optimization (SEO) is as old as the search engine itself. The moment there was a way to put a brand online, there had to be a way to be found and SEO was born. But unless your product is so undifferentiated that these schemes are your lifeblood, there has to be a better way.
Seth Godin talks about this in a recent post:
There are proven strategies that generic products can use so that they’re more likely to be stumbled upon by someone searching. Name your new book with all sorts of keywords in the title, for example, so it organically ranks higher for those very keywords…
The alternative is to create a product that earns a reputation sufficient that people choose to talk about it, choose to argue about it, choose to look for it. Not something like it, but it.
Nice to be found. Essential to be sought.
Godin didn’t say it in his classic brevity, but in the new age of customer engagement, the brand itself is also the product. The brand’s interaction with its customers is an essential part of the experience that surrounds the product and creates a compelling relationship, not just a transactional one.
As the technology of social, mobile and Big Data rewrite the rules of customer engagement, the first change needs be our mindset. We should seek to be sought by wrapping our customers in a compelling experience that brings them back time after time.
By Jeanne Roué Taylor
You run a successful business, your customers are primarily repeat offenders, and your marketing department is giving you everything you ask for. Why would you care about doing more around customer engagement and, more importantly, why would you do it right now? These are great questions that customer loyalty marketers should be asking themselves. After all, who has the money to invest in the latest fads without solid reasons?
Skepticism is a good thing, but you’d have to agree that if there were compelling reasons, you should act—and soon. Here are the reasons others are implementing loyalty platforms and why you should, too.
The Connected World
First and foremost, we live in a recently-connected world that’s growing more so every day. Customers walking through the door are very likely to be carrying a computer in their pocket, and are interacting with your brand whenever and wherever they choose. Are you there and available to engage? Does your presence outside of the store look more like a billboard or do you ask your customers to raise their hand for your loyalty programs?
If you’ve invested in customer loyalty programs that include mobile loyalty, your answer to these questions is the difference between a shopper walking through the door and a connected, loyal customer. A loyal customer is now one that you recognize and immediately pick up the in-person part of the relationship. While that shopper may have been in before and may come back, the loyal customer shares information with you at a level that betters your products and provides the strategy for how and when to engage.
That strategy becomes reality through the use of a loyalty platform that can tie together data, understanding, and action across any connected channel.
No Brand Is an Island
Secondly, while you’re thinking about your next move, you’re not alone. Many brands realize that the connected world and loyalty are two parts of the same solution for engaging customers effectively. At this point, the value of taking a platform approach to customer experience management isn’t in doubt. The only question is this: Which brands will capitalize on the connected world now, and which will wait, possibly until their customers have gone in the direction of a better experience with another brand?