In Pursuit of Customer-Centricity

Many retailers have proclaimed to their stakeholders that customer-centricity is their number one goal. We don’t imagine this –  we’ve read it in 10K reports and press releases, listened to it in presentations, and heard it in meetings with multiple retailers each year.

The statement is a classic example of something “easier said than done.” Developing a thoughtfully designed and well executed strategy for customer growth is a first step that must be followed by patient and consistent execution over time.

Customer Loyalty Programs Are Everywhere

Customer loyalty programs are the most common example of how retailers are taking steps towards achieving this lofty goal. The 2019 Maritz Motivation / Wise Marketer Loyalty Landscape Study provided support for why loyalty programs remain a popular and effective means to connect with customers, as 87 percent of respondents said they considered loyalty programs important in their purchase making decisions.

No matter how effective your loyalty program may be, there is always danger that the structure and program design maybe stale. Many of the programs in the market today were designed and launched over five years ago. When customer purchasing habits are changing at a faster pace than the technology meant to connect customers with your brand, there’s no time to rest on your laurels.

To stay on pace with your own customers and to stay ahead of competition, every customer loyalty program should be given a top to bottom review at least every two years. The audit should document program financial performance, confirm adherence to brand and financial goals, and ensure alignment with current trends and best practices.

Performing a loyalty program audit provides the assurance needed to maintain high engagement levels with customers and ensure that marketing efforts contribute meaningfully to your organization.

What Are the Benefits of a Loyalty Program Audit?

We approach a Loyalty Program Audit by reviewing the Six Key Competencies of Loyalty Marketing™. The audit challenges the status quo in each area and makes recommendations to close gaps that surface as outputs of the audit. The key to an efficient audit is to focus outcomes and recommendations on the most highly prioritized elements that need attention, or where the greatest opportunity to improve your connections with customers exists.

The key areas reviewed include the primary elements of the “customer loyalty value chain:”

  • Strategy
  • Communications
  • Analytics
  • Operations
  • Technology
  • Rewards

Read more indepth information about the types of questions asked to kick off a Loyalty Program Audit in the PDF  below.

Any retailer seeking continuous improvement on its journey to customer-centricity will benefit from a Loyalty Program Audit. Even if you think you’re doing a great job and the program is running smoothly, you still have one key reason to engage an audit: your customers.

What Is Unique About the Impact 21 Approach to a Loyalty Program Audit?

Even under “normal” circumstances, the path to purchase for most customers has changed dramatically. Recent COVID-19 disruptions have only accelerated the pace of change. Customers have an abundance of information available to them and many seek out brands that align with their values and deliver on brand promises. You need to find ways to engage with them way before they walk in your store, and it’s certainly worth the investment. The Maritz / Wise Marketer study we mentioned earlier also reported that 43% said they are willing to get into an argument to defend their favorite brand when someone says something negative about it. That is true brand advocacy at work!

Impact 21 understands these trends in customer purchase behavior and the enabling of technology that can deliver the stellar customer experience they expect. We also know how to build trust through the way programs operate and communicate with customers.

Impact 21 approaches each Loyalty Program Audit with the intent to deliver a clear return on investment. Recommendations from a Loyalty Program Audit are focused and actionable to create the biggest gains on the opportunities identified.

Refreshing your customer loyalty program will pay for itself through a sharpened customer focus, optimization of the data you have collected, higher customer satisfaction, and more efficient operations. That combination is a win-win-win for the customer, the retailer, and its stakeholders.

Loyalty Program Audit & Refreshment

Most Retailers are Pursing Customer-Centricity

Most retailers have made statements indicating their desire to become more customer-centric. Some have proclaimed to shareholders or stakeholders that they are committed to becoming a customer-centric organization. We know this from reading information shared in 10Q and 10K reports for publicly traded companies, press releases, presentations, and other information disclosed by privately held companies, and our own direct contact with dozens of…