How Can Construction Loyalty Programs Change Part-Time Customers’ Ways?
As a construction manufacturer with an ever-changing supply chain, you’ve probably had to deal with “part-time” customers. What makes customers “part-time”?
- They aren’t brand loyal.
- They shop your prices.
- They don’t submit product registrations.
- They don’t register for warranties.
- They don’t contact you for aftermarket needs or maintenance.
- They don’t buy additional or supplemental materials from you.
These are all signs that, while a customer may find your product convenient to purchase, they aren’t fully loyal to your brand itself. According to a 2014 Forbes article on brand loyalty, these part-time customers are common. Entrepreneur and business consultant Glenn Llopis writes, “Consumers have become more critical and cynical.” They are inundated with choices and their decisions are influenced by social media, online information, and perception of brand authenticity. Pushing these part-timers into full-time, loyal customers takes effort. Companies must make an indelible mark in the customer’s mind, establish a relationship, and give customers a significant reason to choose one brand over another.
One of the ways you can engage and connect with customers is through an online customer loyalty program. The benefit of point-based online reward technology is its ability to reward everyone who buys your product—not just end-consumers, but distributors, dealers, and contractors in your sales channel. It acts not only as a simple reward delivery system, but as a hub of communication and information about your products, solidifying customers’ connection to your brand. Loyalty programs help you accomplish three important things for customers:
1. Inform them.
Communicating with customers is the most important aspect of creating customer loyalty. Make your customers experts of your brand. If they feel they know a lot about your company—that you are transparent and authentic—that familiarity establishes a comfort level and, ideally, a habit of checking in with your brand first for their construction supply needs. What leads distributors, for instance, say things like, “I don’t know much about this brand so I can’t recommend it, but Manufacturer X makes high-quality products, has a great selection, and they’re always updating us on new deals”? That kind of knowledge only comes with communications from your brand.
Online reward programs, such as these provided by Atlanta-based Loyaltyworks, come with multichannel communication packages so you can quickly and easily deliver information through the medium most effective for your customer base. With the option of a mobile app version of your program, you can use push notifications to instantly connect to salespeople and contractors when they’re in the field. A contractor may receive a notification from your contractor program about a casement window promotions just as they’re about to purchase window materials for a current project. You can use that same technology to deliver messages about product updates, regional discounts, and sales promotions.
Establishing a relationship with channel partners like contractors and distributors gives them reason to promote your brand over others they’ve recommended in the past, or those they carry in their current inventory. Distributors, contractors, and consumers want to do business with brands they know and trust—communication is the best way to begin building that trust and familiarity.
2. Reward them.
So what’s a contractor’s motivation for taking advantage of that casement window deal, besides the discount itself? The points you can reward him with for purchasing your product. He can exchange these points for items in an online catalog that, like Amazon or Overstock, has millions of merchandise items in numerous categories, including electronics, sporting goods, and hardware.
Rewards are exciting, especially tangible rewards that can be shown off or used time and again, strengthening personal connection. More importantly for you, tangible rewards are a very effective catalyst in changing customer behavior. Whereas consumers and contractors may not normally register products, submit warranties, seek you out for aftermarket needs, or buy supplemental materials from you, rewarding them for doing so can be the motivator they need to revisit your brand. They’ll come to your products for the rewards, but stay for your brand’s quality and reliability.
Combining desirable rewards with ongoing communications is a viable means of making customers feel they’re part of your brand family, which will push them from part-time to loyal customers.
3. Make their experience convenient.
According to a 2012 Harvard Business Review article, “in demanding ever more attention from overloaded consumers, brands ultimately lead them down unnecessarily confusing purchase paths.” More than ever, today’s busy customers are endeared to brands and services that offer convenient solutions and make their lives easier.
With all the pressures, deadlines, and copious materials and equipment construction entails, it is one of the busiest industries to be involved in. The best—perhaps the only—way to reach out to construction customers is to simplify the process. Your customer loyalty program can become an invaluable and reliable source for discounted items and reward opportunities, making customers’ decisions much easier. With an easy-to-use app or website they can access anytime, an intuitive reward shopping experience, and a steady feed of new promotion information, the reward program can meet several needs at once. You can even use integrated services to incorporate the program into your existing website, so your site itself is a one-stop shop for brand information and rewards.
Today’s lack of customer loyalty is tough to combat. Particularly in the construction industry, consumers and sales channel partners face many product options and are short on time. Online customer loyalty programs can serve as effective tools to communicate with customers and reward them for purchasing or promoting your products. The more familiar with your brand they are, the more likely you are to build their trust and loyalty. Enticing rewards and convenience also help to change the ways of part-time customers, making them full-fledged brand evangelists.