How to Set Up a Customer Loyalty Card Program

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Customer loyalty card programs are a good form of marketing.
Customer loyalty card programs are a good form of marketing. (Image: businessman with the credit card image by Dmitri MIkitenko from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

A customer loyalty card program can help a business show it values its customers, will encourage repeat business, is a low-cost way to advertise a business and can help an establishment learn more about the customer. According to Search CRM, a loyalty card program is an expensive endeavor and can cost a business up to 5 percent of its revenue. In addition, it can take up to 18 months for a business to see the return on the program fully. Setting up a customer loyalty card program is a long-term commitment that can bear fruit when executed properly.

Provide good customer service. Customers value service, information regarding products and services, information about store policies (like return policies) and support. The business website BNet.com says there is no point in creating a customer loyalty card program if a business does not practice these fundamentals, because customers will only see the program as a stunt to attract business.

Plan to run the loyalty program for a long period of time. The point of a loyalty card program is to keep customers interested in a business for years to come. Therefore, a business must plan to wait for a customer to build up as many “points” as necessary to redeem a reward that is worth the wait and money spent towards it.

Gather data to determine why customers are loyal to a business. A business can do this through marketing research to determine who a company’s most profitable customers are and how they can be encouraged to continue shopping at the particular establishment. While gathering data, evaluate how much you can give your customer without negatively affecting the bottom line while still making the loyalty card program seem worthwhile.

Evaluate the best type of loyalty card program to offer. Program options to consider include those based on points or those that make customers feel as if they are elite or premium shoppers. A point-based loyalty card program gives points to customers based on the amount they spend. Customer programs that make the consumer feel special are awarded this status for their repeat purchases. These customers may receive special offers, invitations to events, samples or discounts that they know others are not receiving.

Design the loyalty card. Loyalty cards come in the form of business cards that are hole-punched with each purchase. Alternatively, a business may choose to give customers a plastic card that gets scanned every time a purchase is made so that the customer and reward information is stored in a computer. The reward card should include the company’s logo, business name, address and contact information. If customers have the ability to see the balance of their points or rewards online, include the web address where customers can look up this information as well.

Let the customer know about the program. Once the rewards program starts, let customers know about it with advertisements, in-store fliers and by having employees advertise the loyalty card program to the customers.

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