A Member Benefit Program is designed to retain customers and give them motivation to keep purchasing goods or services from your company. Therefore, the program needs to nurture the customer without hurting the company's profits. It is critical to come up with innovative ways to make your customers choose your company above all others for their purchases. This means that loyal customers need to feel like they can trust your company to give them the most value for their money. An effective Member Benefit Program will offer perks and discounts to customers who keep coming back to them.
The first thing a business must do is come up with a thorough and intelligent plan for the program. Implementing the program needs to be cost effective, or it can end up hurting business. If the program does not pay for itself after awhile, the business will then be at a huge disadvantage. The most important thing, of course, is to make sure the member benefit program encourages people to become loyal customers. If they do not, the whole program is a waste of time for the business.
One important "Don't," for any kind of loyalty program is, don't give away items to customers simply to make them happy unless the business is going to benefit in some way. Any business that gives something for nothing is likely to end up with customers that will come to expect things for free. This will start a vicious cycle that the business may never recover from. One example of an industry that frequently makes this mistake is the flight industry. Many airlines have found themselves in trouble because they promised freebies to their customers and that led to customers expecting those freebies whether they qualify for them or not.
Another "Do," for a company that runs a member benefit program is to allow pre-orders or purchases on things such as event tickets. This gives members the chance to get the good tickets before the "general public" is allowed to purchase tickets. The U.S. Tennis Association has been very successful with this method. Their member benefit program allows members the chance to buy tickets for the U.S. Open before others. This led to a great deal of customer loyalty from the die-hard tennis fans in the U.S.
Do keep in mind that the whole purpose of a member benefit program is to reinforce the positive behavior of the company's customers. The customers need to only be able to receive benefits if they are good customers. If customers that cause problems for the company are rewarded they will not change their behavior. They will remain problem customers and will end up negatively impacting the company's profits.
Do make sure that the program is easy for its members to understand the benefits of and easy for the company to determine if the program is benefitting them in turn. If the program is easy for both the company and the members of the program to use, this will build customer loyalty. In the process of ensuring the program will be beneficial, it needs to be determined what the company expects from its customers. As long as the company has a clear idea about the kind of customer behavior that is to be rewarded, the more successful the program will be.
Do encourage customers to purchase items from the company on a regular basis. This means it is crucial to have the right amount of each product in stock. If too many customers try to purchase an item that the company did not order enough of, this will lead to customer dissatisfaction and may prevent them from shopping with the company again.
Do design any rewards program around the expectations the company has for the customers. Customers need to be encouraged to make large purchases from the company. It is always good to offer a discount on items that are paid for early. As long as customers are encouraged to keep coming back, the company will be able to run a successful rewards program.
Do ensure that the benefits you are offering to members are in line with the kind of goods or services your company provides. For example, a company that markets to parents would not be wise to offer members deals on age restricted items because that is not what their customers are looking for.
Do put discounts into place for your members that they cannot get without being part of your program. This gives you an edge over your competition. It gives members another reason to be loyal to your company above all others.
Do make sure that the personal information of your program's members is not sold to other companies. This is one of the fastest ways to lose customers rather than retain loyal customers.