In many parts of the world, quarantines are lifting, and people are resuming daily activities. Restaurants, hotels, and retail stores are open, even if the business looks a little different these days. As businesses make plans to reopen, those brands with loyalty programs have a distinct advantage over those that don’t. How so? Loyalty programs can outline what being a consumer looks like today and tomorrow, putting minds at ease and setting expectations of service and cleanliness.
Loyalty programs open a line of communication that not all brands have. Whether it’s via email, SMS, app, or something else, brands can use these channels to inform. This is nothing new. But when it comes to the customer experience today, what can customers expect? Here are some ways to leverage your loyalty program to keep members in the know.
Outline how processes have changed
Does your business require temp checks or masks? Separated tables for social distancing? Cleaning more often? Let members know that the steps you’re taking to keep them safe. If you have a reservation system, revise your reminders to let members know what to do differently.
For example, the children's retailer Purebaby is protecting their staff and customers by following social distancing rules, which involves providing hand sanitiser and masks. And the electronics retailer The Good Guys introduced contactless home delivery and pick up and have gone cashless. Both have communicated these changes to their loyalty audience.
Acknowledge that things are a work in progress
Survey your members to ask them what you can do to earn their business. If a member has an issue, an open line of communication can allow a customer to voice their concern instead of leaving a negative review or choosing not to return.
Extend expiration dates and rewards
Allow for a relaxed expiration date for items like birthday or anniversary gifts. Consider an email campaign to members that have been impacted and let them know you’re excited to see them. For members of hotel brand Shangri-La’s Golden Circle, their current tier status and benefits are maintained until December 31, 2021. Hilton also paused the expiration of all points scheduled to expire between now and the end of the year.
Remove barriers to entry
Thinking specifically about your brand, what steps can you take to make things easier? From emailed receipts, to knowing when new merchandise comes in, consider the steps you can take to solve problems your members might have. Restaurant Bakers Delight joined UberEats so customers could have their bread and treats delivered straight to their door.
Surprise and delight
Consider rewarding those customers that visit you with a token of appreciation — a point reward, dessert for their next dinner, or even a follow-up email. A gesture of goodwill goes a long way. Hyatt's collaboration with Headspace, a relaxation and mental health app, acknowledged the importance of nurturing member’s well being. They provided complimentary mindfulness and sleep exercises in the World of Hyatt app.
The existing channels you have with loyalty members can create trust and goodwill with your brand, ensuring that customers come back. Let’s hope it’s sooner than later!
More tips for taking care of your loyalty members in unprecedented times.
Brittany Luebke is a Content Marketing Strategist at Cheetah Digital. You can find her writing through our corporate social media channels, so follow Cheetah Digital on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. She has worked with email marketing programs since 2007, and her work has won awards from dotComm, Hermes Creative, and MarCom, as well as recognition from Really Good Emails.