Incentives to Inspire Customer Loyalty: Techniques to help build your network through time-saving, tech-savvy solutions

Exclusive to Builder and Developer Magazine

By Steve Damerow

One of the best ways you can distinguish yourself from your competition in residential contracting is by sweeping customers off their feet. How can you do this? By understanding what your customers want and how to best communicate with them. Think of customer services the same way you think about any serious, long-term commitment: sometimes you have to sit down and have “the talk” about where your relationship is going.

Every customer base is different and must be handled according to its unique needs. Although specific needs and desires vary from customer to customer, they share many “commitment issues” common in today’s society. Incentive programs act as the “relationship therapy” tool you need to overcome these common customer issues.

Most households these days are crunched for time. In 2014, CNN reported that Americans took less vacation time than they have in decades. Time has become a valuable commodity in our culture, causing people to gravitate toward time-saving options like mobile apps, online communication, and automated self-service. People want to take care of their own needs, on their own schedule.

Creating an incentive program can help consolidate you and your customers’ time. Some companies offer their incentives programs through online software that can be integrated with their company website, so that it fits in seamlessly with their website’s design and wireframes. Programs can be accessed online or through a Mobile App module. This saves time, allowing participants to log in whenever they want.

Participants can also earn rewards by taking quizzes and surveys through a Learn and Earn module, making it worth their time to spend a few moments educating themselves on your services. These features automate the sales claims reward process into an easy, 24/7 medium.

Social media has become more than just a way to waste time looking at friends’ cat pictures on Facebook. People stay in contact with long-distance relations, read feeds from news sites, and track the activity of their favorite brands. With global access to opinions, word of mouth is an even more widely-used method of product and service recommendation. People often investigate businesses and make their decisions based on Google Plus, Yelp, and Glassdoor reviews. If your company has no social media presence, or isn’t interactive enough with potential clients online, it could cost you new business.
The social media aspect of an online reward program opens up communication routes between you and those in your sales channel. This gives your customers the information, control, and choice that make social media so popular in our culture.

According to a prominent ad agency study, only 4 percent of people between the ages of 25 and 49 said they were brand-loyal. Contractors are constantly asking themselves, “Why should I go into business with this particular manufacturer?” The brands that stand out to them are those that are transparent and trustworthy.

With a business-to-business (B2B) customer loyalty program, you can inspire B2B partners to continue doing business with you by rewarding them for ongoing purchases. When they receive recognition and rewards for promoting your brand, they know you are interested in a mutually lucrative partnership, not just silent exchanges and endless product pushing. Passing along the rewards of increased sales shows off a spirit of openness and collaboration.

With these things in mind, you have an idea of what a potential customer or business partner expects from you and in which direction your relationship needs to be headed. It’s up to you to push the relationship to that ideal, cozy place where you’re both benefitting. You can address time poverty, social media, and loyalty challenges with a single platform.

Today’s residential contracting customers can be challenging to romance. They are busy, swamped in information, and they have many suitors to choose from. The best way to win their attention is to listen to their concerns, understand their needs, and find ways to facilitate an exchange of communication and appreciation. Incentive programs can help you woo customers and B2B partners with easy-to-use, online interfaces and engaging, informative features.

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