5 Ways to Drive Successful Loyalty Programs

David Clark, Vice President of Marketing for SDL (LSE: SDL), which offers global management support on customer experiences, knows first hand the value in delivering strong customer service and engaging customer experiences to increase customer loyalty. Below, gain his five tips on ways to best support loyalty programs and ultimately, to help increase store sales.

1) Understand your customers.  Know what they want, what their behaviors are, etc., to best focus a loyalty program on what will matter most to them.

2) Prioritize your most important customers first — a simple idea, but often challenging to execute. Organize your activities and investments to enhance the experiences that map to the needs, wants, desires and journeys of your most important segments. Not all customer segments behave in the same way, require the same type of experiences, or travelers the same buying, advocacy or engagement journey. Knowing the behavioral characteristics of your key customers allows you to focus on enhancing their experiences in the way that they need.

3) Focus on customer experience. Make certain that you are focused on the experiences that you are creating for your customer that make-up their journey to loyalty. The experiences that you are enabling or enhancing for your customer in awareness, interest, research, trial, out-of-the box experience, in-home use experience, service and support, etc. ultimately combine to create loyalty and, even better, long-term commitment to your brand and products. Understanding the barriers and enablers in each of these journey stages, touch-points, or experiences is critical.

4) Implement measurement system that looks beyond the “loyalty” factor. Retailers should make certain that they are measuring for the ideal business outcomes as “you get the behaviors you create incentives for and measure for”. These key performance indicators will drive both employee behavior, as well as invent customers to do the things you need them to do. We recommend measuring purchasing behavior, brand advocacy behavior, and the overall level of engagement with your brand as every retailer needs to create these customer outcomes to insure long-term success.

5) Deliver a “fair exchange of value”. Too often retailers want to create “delighted” customers. Many retailers spend far too large a percentage of their revenue trying to create “delighted” customers. The reality is that customers want a fair exchange of value and rarely expect a retailer to delight them. Give them a good value, provide a comfortable and efficient shopping experience, work with them through any issues, solve their problems, and they’ll become not just loyal, but committed.


  • Valerie Nalls
    October 8, 2013

    Hi! Great article! Can you give some practical examples of these?

  • Corey Savage
    October 22, 2013

    Number 2 is a particularly important point. As the saying goes, “20% of your customers make up 80% of your sales”. This is the most important segment to target within a loyalty program. You can’t please everybody, so focus on the top percent.

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