Last week I reviewed some types of loyalty programs found in the services industry: Last week's Blog.
Do loyalty programs have a place in dog daycare, boarding and other pet care services? There are good reasons to establish a rewards program for your customers - particularly in highly competitive markets - but even then, I urge caution in establishing loyalty programs. We can earn our customers' loyalty with outstanding service, not just by discounting our service value.
My approach is to keep things pretty simple. Leave the complex 'loyalty points' programs to credit card companies and airlines. There are enough complexities in pet care services. Any loyalty program should be very easy to administer and benefit both the customer and you.
Here are my two criteria:
1. The program is fully automated.
2. It's a 'win-win' for both the customer and the business.
Streamline the Payment Experience with pre-paid packages - aka 'punchcards'
Streamlined payment is a significant aspect of a positive customer experience. This is why 'punch card' or 'pre-paid packages' are so popular with dog daycare services. The customer gives you their loyalty by paying in advance for their services. The customer's incentive is to save a little money, you get payment front and lower transactional costs. This is a win-win.
We earn our customers' loyalty with outstanding service Service that people want to engage with and pay for. The better the experience, the more they want to repeat it.
With a pre-paid package, your customer is 'buying' a better customer service experience. They have helped you streamline the transaction of each visit among many. Multiple payment experiences are distilled to one, as you simply deduct a package-credit from their account. The customer has a faster and easier 'check-out' experience with their pet, and, so long as you are delivering great service, the loyalty cycle repeats itself.
Further streamline the transaction with automated payments.
Now we take this a step further and automate the process with a recurring unlimited daycare package. Your software automatically charges their credit card and applies fresh package credits to their account.
Your customer saves their credit card information on file in an encrypted 'token', ready to be inserted into an electronic payment that's repeated - normally weekly or monthly.
This still requires maintaining contact with the customer in other ways - through marketing and other engagement - to help ensure they have a positive experience with your business and you have a 'pulse' of how they feel about your business.
For those that want more complexity, customer spend levels are pretty easy to monitor, and you can reward these customers manually with cash-credit, package credits or other perks. This requires more administration, and may simply be handing out discounts to the customers that are not buying based the incentive of lower rates, so I would be wary of points based on 'spend' levels, unless its more related to retail item purchases (food, treats, etc).
What are your thoughts? How are you building and maintaining your customers' loyalty? - Andy