Enduring Customer Loyalty. It’s the golden ticket. The grand prize every business strives for. The one scenario where “more is actually… MORE.” Loyal customers convert more, spend more, refer more, review more, “like” more.
However, in today’s ever-changing environment, earning customer loyalty can be an elusive and tricky endeavor. The landscape of brand and customer loyalty is constantly shifting due to forces such as social media, technology, big data, and even generational mindsets.
For many practices, creating a patient membership or loyalty program has become a key marketing initiative in their effort to deepen customer loyalty—driven by over 40 years of data that proves loyalty programs can:
- Increase customer retention
- Foster brand advocacy
- Increase ROI
- Identify unprofitable customers
- Increase customer win-back
- Grow customer relationships
- Create a competitive advantage
- Reduce advertising costs
- Increase sales frequency
- Help acquire new customers
However, new evidence suggests that while customers are still highly attracted to the idea of being a member of a loyalty program, earning their participation and engagement is at an all-time premium.
A look at the meaning behind these numbers suggests that it’s time to shift our “Boomer-generation” customer loyalty program models from outdated methods, relying solely on:
- “Barriers-to-exit” (ie: creating contracts to construct barriers for switching brands, similar to that
of cell phone carriers),
- “Transactions” (ie: paying for loyalty through earn-and-burn methods, similar to some airline and
hospitality industry programs).
Today’s loyalty programs should address today’s customers, who crave deeper relationships, shared values, and non-material experiences before they ever produce evidence of brand love or tribal behavior.
While “earn-and-burn” rewards are still a vital and important component to retain and nurture your most valuable customers, in order to ensure your loyalty program is one of the 6.7 programs your customer participates in – and one that leaves your competition in the dust – you should construct your program to offer more than rewards alone. Enriching your member experience and building a stronger brand relationship is key to moving your customers up and across the loyalty ladder.
Today, the strongest customer loyalty programs include:
- A compelling and varied reward structure (moving a patient across the ladder)
- A personalized, communicative, and ongoing experience that is in alignment with your brand (moving a patient up the ladder)
- A strong social connection through shared identity, that patients are proud to be a part of and share (placing members in the winning upper right hand corner for life!)
There’s good news for practices who want to initiate and/or revamp their patient membership strategy. patientNOW’s new Membership & Loyalty Module makes it easier than ever to architect a membership program to meet your customer’s evolving program needs and move them toward the winning quadrant of the loyalty ladder. Having member information within your practice management and ERM tool is vital to customization, personalization, tracking, and reporting. Flexible parameters allow for tiered structures, levels, and gamification. Two-way texting, branded email marketing, and scheduling reminders allow for customized communication and notifications to keep engagement and brand alignment high. And this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how you can surprise and delight members with the new module!
Tami Vileta-Wells is the president of Pinpoint, a creative design agency with over 20 years of experience in aesthetic medical marketing. Pinpoint’s core expertise includes patient loyalty program design, practice event promotion, practice brand development, integrated patient marketing campaigns, patient education tools, collateral design and promotional products.
Look forward to Tami’s next post on Memberships:
Designing Your Patient Loyalty Program to Delight: A “Creatives” Perspective.
Schedule a time to visit with Tami in the patientNOW booth at VCS/Las Vegas, on June 6th or June 7th.
Schedule a time to visit with Tami in the patientNOW booth at Aesthetic Everything, on August 9 – August 12.