The most recent edition of Delivermagazine.com has a point of view on “How Critical Is a Loyalty Program to Building Your Business?”
Stan Skadal, senior director of sales and marketing for Hyatt Regency notes that repeat customers are the backbone of any company. Those loyal customers refer you to their friends and business associates. This type of customer can spread the news of your company far and wide with little to no advertising. Given this, staying in touch with, and recognizing, your loyal customers is critical.
Having recently worked for a firm whose consultants and investment bankers were on the road 100 to 200 nights a year, I saw the loyalty hotel programs created and I also know how important consistently outstanding product and service was to them. These business people make their living on the road and they didn’t need surprises when they got to the hotel. Their needs were not excessive but they were critical (e.g., internet access or food after a late arriving flight).
Bill Zinke, chief marketing officer at Tasti D-Lite believes loyalty comes from consistently delivering a superior, differentiated product or experience. To me Chipotle does an outstanding job of this while also building a relationship with me — even without a loyalty program. Chipotle has empowered its employees to reward loyal customers as they see fit. It’s much more personal than the punch or swipe cards used by Moe’s and Qdoba.
Mary Aragon, program director at Camp Cook believes in the power of handwritten, personalized notes. I believe this is critical for any small business. Think of how you can send a customer a handwritten note three or four times a year thanking them for their business or a referral, wishes them a happy birthday or happy holiday and providing them information of personal interest. Think of the bonds a company doing this would create with you.
Whether you’re a large, medium or small-business, you can create loyalty by delivering a consistent positive experience, rewarding the customer for their loyal patronage and thanking them with personalized notes. And don’t forget, loyal customers become your raving fans.
What can you do to improve the loyalty of customers to your business?