In 2015, the vast majority of us have smartphones. And many of us are in the business of buying and selling products and/or services, all of which hinges on good Customer Experience. As successful Customer Experience teams know, when you combine people and technology, the result can be something incredible. One example of this is loyalty apps — a mobile means of building relationships with customers through incentive-based engagement.
Consumers can use loyalty apps in many different ways — to “check-in” at real world locations, to access exclusive deals, or even as part of a gamified rewards program… to name a few. And while loyalty apps vary across industries and businesses, the universal goal is to boost brand loyalty by providing customers with a fun, personal mobile tool.
Salesforce and Heroku: a match made in the cloud
Salesforce acquired Heroku back in 2010, an intriguing jewel to add to their CRM crown. While Salesforce is the leading Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform — beloved by fans of the download- and installation-free web delivery model — Heroku is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), a framework developers can build upon to develop or customize apps. Simply put, this opposites-attract union makes sense; developers love Heroku for its flexibility and CRM managers love its ability to bring new life to their CRM system.
And when it comes to building loyalty apps, the pairing of Salesforce and Heroku has it covered. With Heroku Connect — an add-on that makes it easier to sync data between Heroku and your Salesforce org — the data from your customer-facing loyalty app can coexist with your employee-facing CRM. Unified data storage allows both customers and employees to access the data they need. Want a closer look at Heroku’s prowess with loyalty apps? Fortunately, they’ve given us Nibs, a sample loyalty app that demonstrates how to build customer engagement apps with the Salesforce1 Platform.
Five elements of successful loyalty apps
Companies today are interested in creating and maintaining a dialogue with customers, not a one-way onslaught of one-size-fits-all messaging. With loyalty apps, that dialogue can reach new heights. Salesforce advises companies to incorporate these 5 elements when designing a loyalty app:
- Engaging experiences. Personal touches like remembering payment information and personal preferences, in addition to having an attractive design, go a long way with customers.
- Connect to business processes. Enter Heroku, which does more than simply enable companies to build modern apps — it instantly connects them to existing business processes inside Salesforce.
- Scale to meet global demand. Because Heroku provides insights into the effect of traffic on app performance, app owners can instantly scale up resources to maintain a great Customer Experience, accommodate growth, and upgrade resources as needed.
- Enable rapid iteration. The work shouldn’t end once your loyalty app is in the smartphone-wielding hands of customers. In the development process, include regular iterations based on customer feedback and technological advances. To make this even easier, Heroku enables developers to set up testing environments so they can make updates and push out code as needed.
- Build relationships between company and customer. An engaging loyalty app needs to provide a platform for customers to interact with employees, rather than simply pushing out one-way messaging and offers.
Free stuff + great Customer Experience = loyal customers and financial gain
In the consumer world, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like free stuff. Loyalty apps are important to brand engagement because consumers love getting things for free and having a good experience in the process.
For instance, Yelp and Sephora are 2 big brands with particularly great (albeit different) loyalty apps. Restaurants who partner with Yelp sometimes offer “check in” deals on Yelp, wherein customers who “check in” on Yelp receive perks like a free drink or discount on their bill. Sephora’s ecommerce loyalty app is a bit different. By registering for their rewards program — a program known for its exclusivity and status-based rewards — members are eligible for benefits like trial-sized cosmetics, annual birthday gifts, and even invitations to parties and events… just by tacking on membership at a place where customers already spend their money.
Loyalty apps don’t just attract customers; they help promote brand loyalty and generally increase spending — a variation on the classic “free gift with purchase.” Get more insights and help transforming your company’s Customer Experience with our ebook, The Digital Customer Experience Strategy Guide.