By Joe Brannon
Here's a secret I wish all marketers knew: If you make it easier for me to engage you and you really care about my experience with your company, I will naturally become a more loyal customer — and my lifetime value to you will be much higher. Just romance me a little.
Even if you're certain your customer's experience is top notch, ask yourself these questions:
- What am I doing to deepen the relationship with my customers when they visit my brick-and-mortar business?
- Am I making it simple for a customer to communicate with me?
- Am I creating a relationship with my customer on the device they look at over 150 times per day?
- Am I using technology to create a one-on-one communication thread with my customer?
- Am I using triggers and automation to engage my customers?
If your answer to any of these is no, you need to revisit your strategic process to engage your customers more efficiently and effectively.
Many companies spend thousands of dollars to drive in new customers, but don't have a way to communicate with them after they leave. They can't learn from their customers' experiences how to create more loyalty. Many other companies have a platform to communicate with customers, but ask them for everything under the sun, making their adoption rates horrific. Your communication, loyalty and marketing platforms are only as good as the customers using them, so simplicity and customer experience should be paramount when creating your programs.
What is the happy medium to ensure you start building a deep relationship with your customer that makes them loyal for life? These four steps can help you find it.
1. Make it so simple to sign-up that anyone from a three-year-old to a 93-year-old can do it.
It amazes me how complicated some reward programs' sign-up processes are. You are prompted for your birthday, anniversary, address, email address, age, and then to go online, register and answer more profile questions. For each piece of additional information you ask for, your adoption rates are going to decrease. A single step process or self-serve kiosk at the point of sale or hostess station can reduce the friction immensely.
2. Don’t ask for too much information.
When we built the TL Connects communication, loyalty and marketing platform, we chose to only ask for two pieces of information: your cell phone number and your first name. This removed the friction and enabled our merchant's customers to sign-up for their program in under 20 seconds at one of our self-serve kiosks.
3. Incentivize a customer to sign up.
Don't we all enjoy a little instant gratification? My philosophy is to give more from the start and slowly build a relevant profile and relationship with a consumer. Once we've gained permission to engage a consumer by SMS (which, according to a Dynmark study, has a 98 percent open rate I might add, 90 percent within three minutes), by adding value over time we are able to deepen the relationship through other channels such as email, social media, surveys and SMS chat. We find that by just offering a small token of your appreciation such as a free drink or a dollar off for signing up, you can dramatically increase the adoption rates of your program.
4. Personalize and automate engagement based on specific habits.
If you are in the restaurant industry and you're not automatically engaging your lapsed customers with an offer, you're missing out on the potential to drive upwards of 25 percent of these customers back in to spend money with you, as we found at our firm. At TL Connects, we use layered "we miss you"-type offers to achieve these results. You've got to stay top of mind with your customers and one-on-one automation can do just that.
When building your program remember this, for each piece of information you ask for, your adoption rates are going to decrease. So remember, keep it simple.
Joe Brannon is the co-founder & CEO of TL Connects.