Relationships have a way of becoming stronger, if people feel valued and catered to, in the midst of crisis. For all its dramatic disruption of our lives, the silver lining to the dark cloud of a pandemic affected 2020, were empathetic gestures and initiatives that showed people they were valued. Governments, international bodies, institutions, and organizations, either elevated their stature, among the general population, or found it famously diminished. Naturally, 2020 gave businesses the opportunity to show they valued their customers as well.
In a market being reshaped by heightened customer expectations and unprecedented competition, Customer Loyalty programs were everywhere already, in the pre-covid era. But the pandemic has certainly put this trend front and center. Managing customer relationships became even more explicitly about delivering value in 2020, like never before. With the advent of 2021, we are witnessing an evolution, in customer loyalty programs.
Accelerating a customer focussed model of business
With economic activity slowing to a crawl in 2020, businesses were single-minded, in their efforts to retain customers. But it would be unfair to say that the pandemic restricted economy was the chief reason for an even greater focus on Loyalty. In fact, an overwhelming 75% of the respondents to a 2019 survey said they were likely to make another purchase from a business, after receiving an incentive. With 2021 ushering in an even more customer-focussed era, here are the top 5 trends that are taking Customer Loyalty to the next level, in the new normal:
Delivering real-world value, not just discounts
It’s becoming increasingly clear that, if businesses want their loyalty programs to truly set their brand apart, they have to acknowledge a sophisticated and discerning customer base. Point-based loyalty programs and cumulative rebates will certainly continue to have their place. But, as customers are flooded with options from competitive marketplace in the palm of their hands, Loyalty will need to evolve to offer truly rich engagement. For those progressive businesses who are truly listening to their customers, it has already become apparent that ‘value’ is a far more nuanced concept to the modern consumer, than a simple percentage taken off the price-tag.
Opinion piece by Sajid Azmi, CEO Yegertek
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