Marketers are always trying to think of new ways to delight consumers. After all, not only do companies want their customers to buy their products or service, but they hope that these customers are doing so with enthusiasm. The best kinds of customers are the ones who are excited about a brand, especially because they are likely to spread the word to friends and family. Marketing experts can play a key role in elevating people with purchasing power from mere shoppers to true fans.
Of course, the real question is how can this be achieved? What does it really take to drive meaningful engagement in any organization's client base? One way brands today can do this is by providing innovative and customized member discounts through their loyalty programs.
Making customers feel special
Clients might know that they aren't a company's only customer, but that doesn't mean they have to feel like one among many. While it's easy for businesses to offer a more standardized loyalty rewards system, it's always possible to tailor offerings to what a particular audience might want. HBS Working Knowledge noted that a personal touch to customer care is of the utmost importance in today's competitive business environment. Professor José Alvarez told the source that many retailers focus too heavily on what's right for them instead of what might delight the customer, and consumers can sense these attitudes. If companies view their relationships with patrons as partnerships instead of business transactions, they can get ahead. Engagement is key.
"This is the one place where retailers will have an advantage – the experience with the customer," Alvarez told the news provider. "It won't be price, selection, or convenience. The only thing that will matter is how a retailer can better understand and best serve the needs of the customer. This includes understanding the intentions of the customer."
However, while retailers can certainly benefit from using surprise and delight strategies, all types of marketers can apply these programs to their industries. One hotel chain that is leveraging these strategies effectively to elevate customer loyalty is Kimpton Hotels & Resorts, according to Loyalty 360. Maggie Lang, senior director of loyalty and relationship marketing at Kimpton, recalled a time when a woman called the hotel's customer service desk to arrange a stay and revealed that she was visiting due to some cancer treatments she was receiving. During the call, she mentioned that going on a whale watch was on her bucket list. Many hotels wouldn't have used this information to put together a special surprise, but Kimpton saw the opportunity to show how much it values each individual customer's desires. When the woman entered her room, she found a plush whale on the bed, which she subsequently took with her when she went for surgery.
"The woman was comforted by the fact that the company cared to take the time to listen," Lang explained. "As a service company, when someone has a bad experience it really upsets us. Customer feedback really matters in making the experience better. What customers really want is for you to really listen."
Unexpected acts of kindness and appreciation go a long way toward building long-lasting relationships with customers, and with the right marketing solutions, any organization can deploy its own highly customizable surprise and delight initiatives. This can take a company to the next level.
When clients receive added value through such special touches, they are sure to remember the brand and spread the word about their positive experiences. Customer loyalty is about much more than simply providing redeemable benefits: It also depends on the emotional ties that develop when clients are shown they are truly valued and understood.