One of the most important aspects of the customer experience is trust. Shoppers simply refuse to buy from a brand they have little confidence in. And, with the number of internet users using ad blockers reaching 30%, it’s clear that consumer trust in traditional marketing techniques is waning.
This behavioural shift has left many retailers in despair. Often they fall into the trap of spending too much time and money on costly acquisition techniques just to keep up with their competitors. This means that building trust after a customer arrives at their site or following a purchase falls down the list of priorities.
Ignoring opportunities to build trust can be incredibly damaging to your brand. Without trust, the opportunity to deliver on customer experience diminishes and you could easily lose out to your competitors who beat you on price and logistics.
All in all, customer trust doesn’t come easy. You need to put initiatives in place that elevate your customer experience, build emotional connections and foster confidence in your brand.
Research shows that when customers are delivered an excellent customer experience, they are 86% more likely to repurchase from you and 79% more likely to trust your brand. One way to elevate your customer experience is through a loyalty program. This post will cover four key ways you can leverage your loyalty program to build trust, increase your repeat purchase rates and secure long-term loyalty.
Strategy #1: Personalisation
Although many consumers still prefer to keep personal information and data close to their chests, many are starting to understand that they need to hand over their details in exchange for relevant, targeted and meaningful brand interactions. A loyalty program gives you the opportunity to collect customer data and analyse purchase histories so you can serve up hyper-personalised messages.
Use this data to open a line of communication through relevant loyalty emails. These emails could show customers their point balances and the rewards they are leaving unclaimed. You could even set up monthly reminders that show how many points the customer has earned to date just like Dr. Axe does with their customers.
Post-purchase emails offer up another opportunity to personalise your content. If your customer isn’t a member of your program yet, let them know how many points they could have collected from their purchase. Or, if they are a member, add information into your order confirmations that show them exactly how many points they still need to rack up to unlock their next reward. This will give your standard emails a personal touch and show customers that you appreciate them as individuals rather than just being an entry in their database.
Strategy #2: Social proof
A huge 92% of customers trust word-of-mouth recommendations, making it the most trust-rich form of marketing. Not only that, but people pay twice as much attention to recommendations from friends and family and 77% use product reviews as the main source of validation before buying online.
Use your loyalty program as a social proof generator by making referrals its cornerstone. You can do this by offering your customers additional points or incentives for every referral they make. And, by giving each customer a unique referral URL, you can also track which of your customers are your biggest advocates and reward them for their loyalty with more valuable rewards down the line.
June and January have successfully leveraged their loyalty program to enhance their social proof. By rewarding customers for referring friends, they have acquired 1,058 new customers and generated $139K in additional revenue.
You could also use your loyalty program to reward customers with points when they leave a product review. This will make sure your site is filled with content from real people living and breathing your products. Not only is this content more realistic and trustworthy in the eyes of consumers, but in most cases, it is actually preferred. In fact, 88% of shoppers sought out UGC in the process of making a purchasing decision.
Strategy #3: All-round customer experience
Nurturing trust throughout the whole customer journey is now vital. Shoppers expect a good experience every time they interact with you and are not afraid to look elsewhere if they don’t get it. In fact, four in five customers are willing to switch brands if they have an unsatisfactory online experience.
By empowering your customer support team to use your loyalty program as a quick and easy way to mitigate the impact of negative customer experience, you’ll be restoring the relationship with these disgruntled customers instead of losing them to your competitors. By having access to your customer’s full loyalty profile – including previous purchases and point balances – your customer support team can easily see the points or rewards they could offer as an apology.
Your team could also use your loyalty tiers to re-engage customers who are at risk of shopping elsewhere. Set up alerts that notify you when a customer hasn’t purchased from you within a particular time frame. You can then surprise them by moving them up a tier so they’re encouraged to return to your site to unlock exclusive rewards.
By enhancing the interactions your customers have with your band outside of their purchase, you’re showing that you care about them on a personal level and want to provide the best experience.
Strategy #4: Be transparent
With so much choice out there, customers can be pickier with who they spend their money with. Today, 65% of customers buy on the basis of their beliefs and with brands they align with.
Make sure to take every opportunity to communicate your brand values and beliefs to your customers to win their trust. This can be achieved through the name of your loyalty program and your messaging. For example, 100% Pure named their program “Purist Perks” to bring home the fact that their products are natural and chemical free. And, when customers become a member of their program, their welcome email tells their brand story.
In today’s era of distrust, winning customers over can be a challenge. Acquisition costs are high, distractions are plenty and competition is fierce. Rather than pinning all your hopes on traditional advertising that customers are blind to, instead, implement strategies that build up confidence. When you pay attention to this, your customers’ trust in you will build and they’ll reward you with their long-term loyalty.