Sometimes having a routine can be a great thing. It can feel comfortable to know what to expect and when to expect it. But at the same time, most consumers don't want everything in their day-to-day existence to be predictable. Because of this, companies have ample opportunity to transform their loyalty programs from ho-hum to exciting – and all it takes a little surprise and delight.
While it's true that there are certain loyalty rewards that many customers favor, such as deep discounts on products and services they use every day, they experience value in other ways as well. When people receive great service they never expected, the impression can be powerful and long-lasting.
According to Jon Parise of rDialogue in an article for Loyalty360, there are a number of benefits to using surprise and delight marketing tactics, including the flexibility they give companies to tailor their approaches to unique customers. Additionally, unpublished offers are a great way for a business to try out deals and other loyalty rewards it may someday wish to incorporate in its formal loyalty program. Customer engagement also flourishes with surprise and delight, as individuals never know what to expect. This keeps them coming back, helping to build a stronger relationship with the brand.
When businesses start thinking about adding surprise and delight marketing methods to their arsenals, the place to begin is determining what events to tie to these tactics.
For an anniversary
Sending loyalty rewards to customers on their birthdays is a great idea, but why not help them celebrate milestones with their loved ones as well? An anniversary is the perfect time for a spa, restaurant, hotel or local attraction to send discounts that can help a couple enjoy their big day. Businesses interested in doing this should simply include an option for customers to list their anniversaries when they sign up for loyalty programs.
For the holidays
Especially when it comes to the winter holiday season, customers might be stressed out and short on money. This is a great time to step in and show them that their business is appreciated. For example, a retail store could offer some free holiday-themed sweets at the checkout counter, or an online business might include some small extras, such as product samples, in each package. This way, customers not only know the business cares, but shopping with the brand is a way to treat themselves, too.
For a customer milestone
When a particular customer reaches a certain volume of purchases or visits, there's reason to celebrate. Many companies utilize punchcards for these purposes: Each time a visitor buys something, he or she can present the card and come closer to receiving a free or discounted item. This isn't the only way to undertake this task. Loyalty programs work best when they aren't one-size-fits-all, so why not reward a pre-determined number of purchases with a highly customized gift? Nowadays, companies house vast stores of information about their clients that they can leverage to their advantage. If the lucky customer has a favorite product, send a message thanking them and saying the next one is on the house.