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How loyalty programs can slay pandemic to win customer loyalty

Introduction

With the novel coronavirus shoving people into a digital-only way of life, it becomes important for businesses to shift the focus of the customer experience to the virtual world but with a human touch. Your brand’s relationship with your customers has an emotional component which has been nourished over time throughout many online & physical touchpoints even through loyalty rewards programs & guided by expectations & confirmed through repeat purchases. As this Oracle report puts it rightly, the Coronavirus has affected the way people will do shopping. And therefore, you need to improvise the way you look at strengthening customer loyalty. A crisis reveals a lot about the nature of your relationship fabric. And the way the world has chosen to respond to this crisis – through ‘lockdowns’ is forcing people into physical separation & isolation from family, friends, & workplace. Consequently, organizations are adapting to a remote or digital way of doing business & dramatically changing the way they strive to pique customer experience. In this blog, we will elaborate upon how you can wield loyalty programs to win customer loyalty.  

Loyalty programs keep you customer focused 

In this pandemic time, you need to be customer focused rather than self-serving, that’s what a loyalty program teaches us. We at WovVTech serve many shopping malls, airport shops & other organized retails, they are all B2C, their most important stakeholder are people who are craving for comfort & connection. In this difficult time, what should be the most relevant question for you? – “How to boost my top line?” – No, “How to increase market share?” – Not either. The most important question for you right now should be, “How do I serve my customers in the most meaningful & human way?” And this is where shopping mall loyalty programs can work wonders. Through your loyalty programs you must have established multi-channel connections with customers, use them to provide mental support which they need most. 

Infuse human touch to digital

When it comes to customer communication, brands especially in the B2C domain running retail loyalty programs rely on omni-channel setup as they need to spread word in a 1:N way. These interactions may be categorized in different types – physical interaction: where you indulge in face-to-face communication, remote interaction: where you indulge through mobile phone, & digital interaction: where you communicate through online mediums. Up until now, the emphasis has been on creating efficiency by transitioning every interaction type into an automated, machine way. Now in the covid times, the focus has shifted – instead of focusing on efficiency, businesses are leaning towards strengthening the emotional side of the communication. Now you have to have a human tone on virtual channels. In offline/online loyalty programs, the emphasis is on enhancing the loyalty, thus this setup is well poised to meet the current demand of emphasizing the human side of the interaction. 

Loyalty programs promote contactless loyalty 

B2B loyalty programs are the champion of contactless loyalty wherein you establish a long-lasting relationship with your customers & keep them on for repeat purchase all this while keeping the human-contact minimum which has become a necessity during this pandemic. The best loyalty programs thought beyond short-term changes when they started promoting contact-free delivery, curbside-pickup & contactless payments. The philosophy behind these initiatives was to forge long-lasting relationships by providing comfort, creativeness & futuristic orientation. Though physical separation was not an agenda it came naturally with it & now, in the covid times, it has become the most striking feature. We provide OKEN – a SaaS platform that powers both android and iOS apps, that has the provision of QR code scanning for contact-free payments & this in a way has become a requirement today. We already have many examples of brands utilizing such technology to turn things around them. Walmart is one of them, they are providing customers the option of contactless payment through QR code scanning through their smartphones to sync Walmart Pay for contact-free payment.  

Loyalty programs show a shared future

In the pandemic time we are feeling vulnerable, now we need mental support & emotional-bondage not only from our friends & family but also from other stakeholders whom we engage with in life. A business is one of them. As we are going through pain & suffering together we are getting deeply connected with all around us who have the same story. These emotional realities are also true when it comes to relationships between businesses & consumers. We as consumers are seeking greater collaboration & emotional connection with brands. Loyalty programs for small businesses bring businesses & customers together. They are tier-based loyalty programs which pull customers even closer as the relationship matures. This is the need of the hour. You need to treat customers above & beyond as a transactional-partner & like an emotional-partner & rewards programs help in that. 

Conclusion 

As we are getting positive news from many places which is suggesting weakening of the pandemic & as more & more people are getting resistant to the virus through vaccination, the first light is breaking the dark in human horizon. Now is the time to look ahead in the future. Companies want to return to the normal business & provide value to the customers. Do you have something to offer which can improve moments in people’s lives? This thing does not have to be a novelty in the product mix, you can even do so by crafting an innovative package of product & practice. So, why not use a customer loyalty program for this? They are capable & productive.