How can a CRM help with your loyalty program?

Keeping track of which customers belong in which tier of your loyalty program requires either a lot of patience and organizational skills or a CRM--or both.
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Note: This is article #7 in the The Ultimate Guide to Creating Repeat Customers

Many loyalty programs have multiple tiers or statuses to distinguish how committed a customer is. It takes a truly organized and patient person to keep track of all the customers and their respective tiers/statuses, and even then, it can be an overwhelming amount of work.

You might already know what a CRM is, but if you don’t, it’s a customer relationship manager. CRMs and loyalty programs have one major thing in common: they track and manage your customers. Because the two are similar in this aspect, using them side by side gives you an extra boost to your sales and organizational abilities.

Many CRMs allow you to sort your contacts in groups and pipelines (sales-tracking feature). If your loyalty program doesn’t have tiers, you might want to consider using groups to store your contacts. Groups manage a list of contacts that have a common attribute (in this case, it’s being in your loyalty program). On the other hand, if your loyalty program does have tiers and your customers are moving from tier to tier, you would want to use pipelines to track your contacts. Pipelines track a process (in this case, it’s the process of your customers upgrading to a higher tier). If you’re not sure what a pipeline looks like, picture a page of contacts sorted based on their stage in a process (for a sales process, theses stages might include “interested in product” and “sale won”).

So how exactly can a CRM help with your loyalty program?

1. CRMS help you turn prospective customers into loyalty program members.

As I mentioned earlier, you can use pipelines to track your contacts as they move from tier to tier. Likewise, you can track customers who aren’t in your loyalty program yet. If your CRM allows you to customize your pipelines, create a status/stage titled “first time purchase” or “likely to join loyalty program.” You can sort these contacts based on their statuses so you can instantly pull up a report of all contacts you should get in touch with about joining your loyalty program.

2. CRMs track which customers get which rewards.

After your customers join your loyalty program, you can use either pipelines or groups to track their rewards. Once again, if your program doesn’t have tiers, use groups. For example, if you plan your rewards based on your customers’ preferences, you could create different groups named “prefers appetizer coupons” VS “prefers dessert coupons.” Another great thing you can use groups for is to track your customers based on location. You’d want to personalize your customers’ rewards based on their location (for example, you wouldn’t advertise a winter coat to someone who lives in the sunny state of Florida).

3. CRMs remind you of your customers’ birthdays.

One significant personal touch to loyalty programs is birthday coupons and gifts. Birthdays make everyone feel special--make your customers feel even more important by not only remembering their birthday, but also sending them gifts. You can save your customers’ birthdays in your CRM and opt to get reminders about them. This way, you can effortlessly keep track of your customers’ birthdays and send them fun cards, coupons, gifts, and offers exclusively to celebrate their special day.

4. Many CRMs integrate with email marketing programs.

Programs such as MailChimp or Benchmark are commonly used to send mass emails. Being able to email many people at once is vital to a loyalty program, because sending out discounts and promotions one by one isn’t efficient. Thankfully, many CRMs integrate with these programs, meaning they send over your customers’ email addresses directly into a mass email campaign. This way, you don’t have to enter in every single customer’s email address.

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