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How do you create a loyalty programme for top-end customers who are not influenced by discounts and saving money?

We believe, for long-term loyalty you need to connect with your customers through unexpected moments of delight, on an emotional level. People crave the unexpected and are attracted to moments that money can’t buy. Because loyalty gives you permission to engage with customers, track their behaviour and interactions with your brand. You now have the power to use the data beyond what customers expect from your day to day interactions with them.

One of our recommended strategies is to create a surprise and delight campaign. These campaigns do not always require a large time investment or budget to make it work. It should be a relatively easy yet effective way to say “Thank you” to your existing customers. It can be as simple as a phone call from a CEO to your most valuable customers to say “Thank you” or “Happy Birthday”.

A medical scheme provider, based in South Africa, wanted to show some of their top members that they were thankful for their loyalty to the brand. They did this by surprising and delighting a group of their members with a choice of a coffee, dining or clothing voucher via SMS.

This created much excitement for the recipients because it was so unexpected. The response was well received by their members and saw a 26% response rate and 11% redemption of vouchers. These campaign results were way above the average industry response rates.

Hilton Honours’ B2B loyalty programme makes use of their data and their member preferences to offer a unique (once in a lifetime) surprise & delight experience for each member. A beautiful example shows how Hilton Honours identified a member’s dream of attending The Masters with his father in Augusta, Georgia, USA. Through the Owners Access Club, Hilton arranged for this member and his father to attend The Masters.

“Access to special events sets us apart from the competition. More owners are coming out of the woodwork after they hear about this club. The more emotionally connected to owners we are, the better brand ambassadors they become.”
– Jonathan Pettus, Manager, Club & Events, Owner Services, Hilton Worldwide

Another loyalty technique to employ to get the attention of your top spenders is by offering them something that no one else has. In some global loyalty programmes, especially those that are tier-based, the highest tier is the most elusive and exclusive level. To gain entry into this tier is by invitation only and is only open to a select few.

A great example of a loyalty programme with an invitation-only tier is Australian retailer, Myer. Myer’s loyalty programme, Myer One, has 3 main tiers with the highest being the platinum tier (by invitation only). In order to reach platinum tier status you must have spent over $ 20 000 (Australian dollars) per annum. This tier is only available to the top 2000 members.

The benefits include:

  • Platinum card
  • Ability to leave your shopping at the store and collect later or have a team member walk yourshopping to your car
  • Can be expected to be called by your name by staff – VIP treatment
  • Free online delivery
  • Free gift wrapping and delivery of the gift purchased
  • $30 birthday gift card
  • Exclusive night shopping experience with latest fashion designers, drinks and snacks andpersonal shopper for the evening

However, when further probing the benefits of the Platinum tier, we discovered that, not only does the Platinum tier allow you access to the benefits listed above, but, also includes a surprise and delight element that is not publicly advertised on their website.

Through research, we found that MyerOne treat their top platinum members to unexpected moments of delight by granting access to a shopping night at Myer for one day a year for friends and family only. A Myer store is opened after hours just for its top tier members. To arrange this evening, members call Myer and arrange for them to open the store just for them. Light snacks and drinks are served to members during their night-time shopping experience.

As mentioned above, these campaigns do not have to break the bank. If you truly understand what your customers want and crave, a simple message of thanks could turn an average moment into a very special, unforgettable one.