Q: The only contact we really have with our customers is when we bill them each month or quarter, so how do we ensure they stay engaged with our brand and don’t shop around?

A: “Integrate experienced-focused rewards to compliment your core business offering and add value to the wider lifestyles of your customers.” Anwar Sultan, CMO.

With consumers more empowered and selective than ever before when it comes to choosing which brands they adopt, we are unsurprisingly seeing an increasing number of businesses approaching us with enquiries like this.

This has particularly become an issue for brands who are restricted in how often they can contact their customers, due to the infrequent nature of the products or services they offer.

Take the utilities sector for example, where purchases are considered by the majority of consumers as a basic and essential commodity, often made annually, with few opportunities for one-to-one communication. In fact, consumers are thought to give utilities companies just ten minutes of their time per year on average.

These brands must therefore look closer into how they can understand the wider values and preferences of their customers in order to become more prominent in their daily lives.

At the root of solving this problem is utilising customer engagement data to inform your strategy, and since the brands in question have limited touchpoints to retrieve this data, they must therefore seek new and innovative ways of communicating with and engaging their audiences.

We’ve found that the most effective way of doing this is by offering relevant, value-added extras and experience-focused rewards throughout the duration of your customers’ subscriptions; ELLO Media’s new research into customer loyalty revealed that being surprised with rewards is the favoured form of brand engagement (70%).

Such rewards might include cinema tickets, restaurant discounts or a variety of other lifestyle experiences and activities, accrued for remaining loyal to your brand. A digital-led reward experience is important, as not only does this create multiple new touchpoints to gather invaluable engagement data and learn more about the wider lifestyle habits of your customers, but also positively and frequently reminds them of your brand while saving money on the go.

This data allows brands to pinpoint trends and patterns to refine services and communications further, ensuring rewards can become more personalised and focused, targeting customers with relevant content that adds value in the right place, at the right time, nurturing trust and developing brand loyalty.

Interacting and engaging with customers in this way also eliminates a common pitfall that far too many brands have fallen victim to, and that’s competing with one another on price alone in a constant race to the bottom, which can often lead to quality of product or service suffering as a result.

Our new research would suggest this is the case, revealing that 57% of consumers had switched provider in the past twelve months, with a staggering 80% saying that price had influenced a decision to leave their previous provider.

While it is of course important to remain competitive on price, competing on this alone can be a risky approach, as not only does it restrict margins, but it also invites and encourages consumers to keep switching providers again and again, with brands losing sight of the value of a loyal customer.

In contrast, regularly engaging with your customers to showcase experiences and offers in line with their lifestyle preferences, as well highlighting the money they have saved by utilising the rewards, reinforces the added value they have received as a result of sustained interaction with your brand.

This squashes concerns around sustained engagement, and if done well, will help you develop an understanding of your customers’ preferences that creates lasting relationships and adds value in a way that will make them reluctant to look elsewhere.

So to summarise, going beyond your core business offering to enhance the wider lifestyles of your customers is the golden ticket to ensuring they stick around. I hope that helped!

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