Five words: customer loyalty programs are crucial! Loyal customers are the best ambassadors for your brand. Research indicates that it costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. So how do you retain a customer? Through an effective and smart customer loyalty program. The latest in a series of tools and techniques to implement loyalty-based strategies is Big Data – heaps and heaps of unstructured and structured data that can be used to interpret and analyze hidden patterns and customer preferences to provide optimal customer service experience.
Shoppers want special deals and loyalty points, but also need a personalized experience that suits their needs. Assume that you are offering free coupons for red meat to your customers and one of them turns out to be a vegan. Not only does this show that you don’t know your customers, but doing so might also trigger a person or two and cause them to switch to your competitors. Big Data analytics helps you understand your customers’ unique needs and their preferences, and provide them with the most appropriate deal. Catering exactly what is needed not only ensures customer happiness, but also makes your customers turn to you every time they want to buy something, because you understand their preferences. In this decade, when a lot of companies are offering the same product, what helps you make a difference is customer experience as per customer needs which plays a pivotal role in winning them over. So if Big Data analysis reveals that a particular customer is buying a new house, offering coupons for furniture items or a special discount on paint or tiles will be the perfect example of a personalized experience.
There is nothing more tiring about a shopping experience than having to take time to answer twenty questions regarding that experience. Though surveys have been made shorter and easier now, but still a tool that provides more information on customers than any survey ever would be Big Data. According to a survey by McKinsey, there was a 126% increase in profits for companies that made extensive use of customer data analytics. Big Data analysis helps analyze information constantly being collected on what the customer is viewing and the items they’ve bought in the past, and all this information provides insight into what your customer wants. A smart solution would be providing loyalty points and rewards through your company’s very own app which will always have an edge that the traditional ‘card’ does not. Integrate live chat within your business app to better engage customers and offer them more convenience and better deals.
Take your time to study the sales data and see when customers are most likely to use promotional codes. During summer or before a particular public holiday? In the morning or during peak hours? Making the promotion time-sensitive can have a great impact on sales, but providing a sales promotion on the right product is even more important, for which one must understand client demographics. Remember your customers are receiving so many promotional deals from companies’ everyday just to direct them away from your brand, so if they still wish to stick with you, they deserve some appreciation. Give them all the right reasons to stay. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all customers need to be provided with the same offer through the same channel on predictable days. Surprise them by presenting rewards and discounts through multiple channels – mobile, online etc. and on random days. Doing so keeps the excitement and customer involvement alive.
Undeniably, utilizing Big Data effectively is challenging, and interpreting data incorrectly can result in implementing a faulty strategy. It will be accurate to say that Big Data is not effective enough on its own as for a major part. Depending on just numbers and figures can lead you to mapping incorrect customer preferences making the loyalty program ineffective, and a waste of time and resources. Big Data makes more sense with something what we call Thick Data. Looking at figures and graphs may seem like a good way of predicting what your customers want, but to know why they want it is also crucial. It is just as important to look at everything in terms of human emotion and Thick Data provides the window for it. Thick Data helps understand how customers interact with the products, providing the perfect insight into what your customer loyalty program should have. While Big Data provides numbers, Thick Data provides stories and emotions which are essential when strategizing reward and loyalty programs. Thick Data is collected by human interaction through emails, live chat support, phone etc. and it completes the gaps in Big Data, ensuring that you know exactly what your customer’s unique needs and preferences.
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