When talking about consumer loyalty programs, Ashley Tate and Barry Kirk speak from deep experience and a shared passion for customer engagement. The pair of loyalty experts understand what drives loyalty and are always monitoring the industry for new ways to increase engagement in an ever-changing consumer landscape.
In this Customer Loyalty Space episode, Tate and Kirk discuss how to engender social loyalty through two proven social media strategies.
Increasing Brand Loyalty through Responsive Social Media
Tate opened the interview by sharing two interesting social engagement statistics released by SAP in a recent study:
- 15 percent of the customers said that more than 25 percent of their customer service inquiries had been initiated over social channels
- 27 percent of brands surveyed said it took them less than an hour to respond to questions posed to them on social media
Tate was most interested in that second statistic, noting how an hour’s response is “almost real-time to me.” She went on to say,
As a customer, that makes me feel like my voice is being heard, they really cared about what I’m saying and they’re making a concerted effort to be around in order to respond to me.
In other words, Tate believes that brands who aren’t responding quickly to customers are missing a huge opportunity for engagement.
Increasing Brand Loyalty through Connecting Customers
Kirk sees another opportunity for brands looking to increase engagement: connecting loyalty members with each other. He cited his company’s Maritz Institute and how they’ve been connecting with neuroscience and behavioral psychology researchers in order to better understand people’s behavior in regards to loyalty. He continued, saying,
One of the really interesting things we’re learning … is that the way that our brain connects into positive experiences is through our drive for social connection. And so the parts of the brain that light up around social experiences are the parts of the brain that actually help us really connect and remember an experience well and want to return to it.
As a simple example of socially connecting loyalty members, Kirk suggests that a brand could offer a newsfeed so that one member can see what other members are doing in the program. He also references JetBlue and Citibank as two companies whose loyalty programs have allowed members to pool their points in order to redeem something as a collective unit. This increases the social interaction among members while also engendering brand loyalty.
Kirk considers this aspect of social loyalty to be an untapped area for customer rewards and hopes to see more loyalty programs create better connections between their members in the future.
By combining Tate’s suggestion that brands should respond quickly on social media and Kirk’s suggestion to connect loyalty members with each other, companies looking to improve their own offerings have a lot to consider.