Maintaining customer’s loyalty and engagement has never been more difficult for businesses in the financial industry. With emerging free, convenient apps and alternatives to make payments the space has become very competitive for many financial services companies. To remain competitive, financial services marketers need to find a way to differentiate themselves from new competitors and provide value to their customers. Many have started to create loyalty programs to do this. Loyalty programs have expanded into many industries, with over 3.8 billion total U.S members participating in loyalty programs in 2017, they are no longer primarily for grocery and retail. Financial services loyalty programs require different thinking then a standard loyalty program, so here 3 ideas to focus on to make your financial services loyalty program successful.
What Actions You Reward
This one requires a lot of thought for financial services businesses and is critical in developing a program that works for both you and your customers. Will you reward based on frequency of use, total spent, where customers spend or something else? Regardless of what you decide, it needs to make sense to your business as well as your customers, both are equally important. Creating a program that offers rewards that only help your business but pays no attention to the behaviors and desires of the customer, will quickly lose customer engagement. On the other hand, rewarding customers for things that do not help drive the business will obviously not work either, so it’s critical to find the right balance.
Mobile has been a hot topic for some time across all marketing, but especially for financial services companies. With the evolution of apps like Google Wallet and Apple Wallet as well as many peer-to-peer payment providers, consumers increasingly use their phones to make payments and pay others. Because of this, including mobile channels in your reward programs become a must-have. Since the average consumer is enrolled in an average of 29 loyalty programs according to the 2017 COLLOQUY Loyalty Census, expecting them to carry a card at all times can be unrealistic. Of course, they can leave the card at home and bring it with them when needed, but that is not the convenience consumers expect now a days. If customers can pay while shopping at a grocery store or clothing retailer-simply with a phone they carry with them at all times-the likelihood of use increases. Bottom line: figure out a way to make the actions your customers take as seamless as possible with mobile.
Data and Personalization
Creating a personalized experience is crucial in loyalty programs regardless of what industry you are in, but in the financial industry it can be an even bigger advantage. Financial services companies are lucky to have a wealth of data, such as where their customers shop, what they regularly buy and how much they like to spend on certain things. With all of this information, financial services loyalty programs can include rewards that are specifically tailored to each customers wants and needs. Have many purchases on their card been wedding related? Offer them flights or hotels to regular honeymoon destinations to entice them. Are they buying a cup of coffee every day at Starbucks? Offer them a Starbucks gift card once they reach a certain milestone. Providing customers with rewards that matter to them must be done for a successful financial services loyalty program.
To create a financial services loyalty program that works, marketers need to focus on understanding their customers to incentivize them to take action to get the rewards, make the program as seamless as possible by incorporating things like mobile and provide them rewards that they are actually interested in.
Click below to see how J&C continues to help a financial services company increase engagement and loyalty through a personalized marketing approach.