In a growing world of payment options, how does any business batten down the hatches and ensure customer loyalty? Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, in combination with existing loyalty programs, are critical to establishing and maintaining key relationships that businesses need for survival as well as increasing engagement. By utilizing a partner with CRM capabilities, businesses can track current customers and gather the information on their spending habits, interests and more in order to understand what may drive marketing strategies.
Using CRM to Drive Loyalty
Currently, there are many loyalty programs and payment solutions (debit, credit, prepaid, etc.) in the market. The question is, how can businesses use these programs to increase customer engagement? One way is to offer rewards tied to a specific payment tender to encourage its use. For example, a merchant could offer customers unique rewards for using a particular payment type at checkout – whether in-store or online.
There is no doubt that customers love to collect points through loyalty programs at their favorite retailers when making purchases. While this type of engagement is occurring, it’s a great opportunity to capture additional information about those customers based on their purchase history, brands they are interested in, location and other demographics. With a robust CRM in place, retailers can track and make sense of all the information they’ve gathered; this allow for targeted campaign strategies that will increase engagement by providing tailored offers and rewards to draw consumers back into the store or website time and time again.
When starting a loyalty program in conjunction with a CRM, retailers need to understand what data is needed, how to collect it and how this information can be used to shape behavior and drive purchases. Proper infrastructure must be in place; for some, this may require new point-of-sale (POS) hardware that can integrate with newer technologies in order to gather accurate data relevant to sales and merchandise goals.
As the landscape of mobile payments and mobile marketing shift to meet the ever-changing demands of consumers, technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) can help condense this information into something more palatable, almost instantly. In the meantime, data can be leveraged from the CRM to analyze spending habits and merchandise preferences so as to present a more customized experience to customers.
Speak to your Customer – Constantly
It is said that the average attention span of a consumer is eight seconds. That means merchants must reach them immediately, with something that will attract them, or they most likely won’t take action and become a converting customer. CRMs are equipped with multiple toolsets to leverage depending on who the customer is, how that customer makes purchases and what business model the company follows.
For example, if the customer base is constantly on-the-go and always using mobile devices, it may be wise to send a push alert to those customers’ phones, notifying them of promotions they may be interested in, and then linking them to the store app or website for the purchase. In such a case, emails are less effective because the customers aren’t as likely to read them, or the message may be lost in a junk folder until the opportunity for a sale has passed.
They say that the more you know, the better off you will be; in the world of customer loyalty there are no truer words. No individual wants to be labeled as “cookie-cutter” or the same as the next person. It is important to use and leverage consumer data to customize your outreach – driving desirable shopping behaviors and offering every customer a personalized experience, including offers that will resonate and be relevant to their individual preferences.
Combined with great customer service, a strong CRM system can help you decipher, track, monitor and make sense of all the attributes your customers present. This way, you can enhance the shopping experience, increase your brand reputation and ensure that your messages never end up in the junk folder.