Fuel your customer loyalty program with a CX mindset


PHOTO: elnaz asadi | unsplash


Marketers today increasingly see customer experience (CX) as part of their job. So much so that the Harvard Business Review says customer experience “has become the new marketing … [because] it influences brand perceptions and impacts business performance just as strongly as traditional marketing.

The Harvard Business Review is right. CX programs are a new marketing approach that matches its predecessors – and its impact is only going to grow.

However, many still confuse CX efforts with traditional strategies such as loyalty marketing programs. But there is a fine line between the two – and marketers should be warned that this is a place where “like” certainly doesn’t mean “equal.” So what are the differences between loyalty marketing programs and CX programs, and why can a CX mindset strengthen your loyalty program?

What is the difference between loyalty marketing programs and CX programs?

Loyalty marketing programs refer to company-wide initiatives that focus on growing and retaining existing customers by selling them more. CX programs help companies understand the customer / brand relationship and what makes the customer loyal to the brand in the first place.

The main difference between the two is in their approach: loyalty marketing sells – often through incentives – while the customer experience focuses on the ongoing conversation with the customer and then reinforces their sense of loyalty.

This is where the traditional approach to loyalty programs goes awry: Ultimately, your customers don’t want to be bought with coupons, infrequent giveaways, and discounts. While customers appreciate them, these perks don’t make them more loyal to your brand. Customers want to feel valued and heard. If you look through the lens of customer experience, you can reset your loyalty marketing programs to take a more holistic, relationship-centric approach that will truly impress your customers.

Related article: Where Does Customer Experience End And Where Does Digital Marketing Begin?

A CX mindset aims for a cohesive experience

According to Forbes, the Advertising Research Foundation found in a 2019 survey report that U.S. consumers are less likely to share their personal data (for example, home address and email) with businesses compared to a study conducted a year ago. This should come as no surprise with the annual increase in data breaches as well as the recent LinkedIn data breach that exposed 700 million users.

When trying to expand your memberships, this can be a huge problem. Loyalty programs almost always require customers to sign up by sharing some form of personal data. So how can a CX mindset help you resolve this possible customer objection? One word: consistency.

Customers need to know they can trust your brand from the start. If they get mixed messages in politics, employee interaction, or the overall experience, they won’t know what to expect and will be less likely to trust you with their information. But if you approach this problem with a CX mindset, you know you need to devote resources to uncovering areas of brand inconsistency so that you can streamline, hire and train appropriately and put your best foot forward. to request customer data.

When customers have a good impression of who you are as a brand, their positive and consistent experiences will inspire the confidence they need to join your loyalty program.

Related article: Manage Experience Consistency … Or Hunt Your Customers

A CX mindset offers the right benefits

While the perks alone don’t generate true brand loyalty, they are incredibly necessary to deliver what customers expect when they sign up. However, your efforts may be in vain if you do not provide the law incentives.

Customers are less likely to share without the right incentives

According to our CX Trends report, customers are less likely to share their information when a program simply offers to make interactions easier, more effective, or provide personalized recommendations. The problem with the benefits just mentioned is that they do not guarantee a quality exchange between the consumer and the business. Having ease, efficiency or personalization does not necessarily add value to the customer in their purchases.

Customers want VIP treatment

What consumers value is receiving exclusive access to sales, events or products. Essentially, today’s customers are more willing to share their data if they get VIP treatment. In fact, Microsoft’s “The Consumer Data Value Exchange” found that 99.6% of respondents would give information if there was a cash reward, 89.3% would if it was a cash reward. discount and 65.2% would do so for loyalty points towards services and products. To truly build brand loyalty, you need to invest in customers, even if that means offering substantial prices. After all, how are you going to incentivize otherwise?

Find out what really motivates your brand’s participation

No industry is the same, and your business may need a specific set of incentives that are different from other brands. The listening capabilities of a CX platform can help reduce the benefits that will drive participation in your loyalty programs. By listening to the Voice of the Customer (VoC), your business can elevate data collection and analysis to find out what customers are saying about the benefits of membership.

Related article: Voice of the Customer Strategies: Effectively Turning Feedback into Action

A CX mindset focuses on relationships, not memberships

Customer satisfaction is a short-term victory. After all, if a customer could purchase the product or service they were looking for, they might be more willing to join the loyalty program. But why stop there? When you provide great brand interactions over and over again, you have a customer who will come back, buy more, and recommend you to others. It’s the kind of customer you create when you focus on relationships and loyalty rather than just satisfaction.

The key to going beyond the “good” and creating great experiences is emotion. When InMoment looked at unstructured customer data, we found that when discussing memorable experiences, most customers focused on the interactions they had with brand representatives and, more importantly, emotions they evoked. Sixty-eight percent of those polled in a 2021 Customer Service Trends survey believed the key to great customer service was a polite customer service representative. Ultimately, 20% off coupons don’t inspire emotional experiences. Meaningful human interactions keep customers long term.

Keep an eye on the big picture

While loyalty marketing programs and CX programs both have similar goals, it’s critical that marketers recognize that the customer experience goes beyond the join / incentive mindset.

By being a consistent and reliable brand, you can inspire the trust and loyalty of your customers. By listening to what customers really want, their needs become clear. And, when you approach customers as a human being rather than as an additional number to your memberships, it’s more likely that customers will want to stick around for the long haul. When you focus on the customer experience, you can enrich all areas of your business, including your loyalty program.

InMoment CMO Kristi Knight, is a highly motivated marketing leader, her talent for branding and creative communications gives her the ability to convey technical ideas in understandable language, while creating business value with innovative marketing practices. Prior to working at InMoment, she worked on Utah’s two largest technology acquisitions: 2009: $ 1.8 billion acquisition of Omniture by Adobe and 2012: $ 2.0 billion acquisition of Vivint by Blackstone.

Joseph P. Harris