Should you consider a loyalty program?
Is it time to get loyal with a loyalty program?
Whether you’re in the market to buy gas, groceries or gum, it's a fact in today's business climate that no purchase is complete until you answer that one, final question: “Are you a member of our loyalty program?”
Yes, loyalty programs seem to be everywhere these days, and just about every business has its own card or offer you can participate in. Sign up and you may be able to get cash back, access additional benefits or even knock some money off the initial bill. Each example makes for a nice little perk, so you join the loyalty programs for your favorite one, two or 20 stores. As a result, your billfold will end up bursting at the seams with all of the extra plastic, and you still won't want to throw a single one away. After all, you're loyal.
Adopting loyalty programs in the pharmaceutical industry
Given the increased popularity of loyalty programs in just about every industry, it’s no surprise that many pharmaceutical companies are adding programs of their own. Michael Lowenstein’s piece for SearchCRM offers an insightful look into the business case for building customer loyalty, and scores of other companies in our industry have already adopted loyalty programs. For the most part, these efforts appear to be ongoing and successful, though they are unlikely to be so coveted as the card for your favorite coffee shop.
But given the positive response these programs are generating, you may be wondering if a loyalty program is right for your company. The short answer is yes, but not necessarily for the reasons you’d think.
The true benefit of loyalty programs in pharma
The goal of any loyalty program is to promote increased engagement between a business and its customers in order to support future sales. While most companies institute their loyalty programs to support the latter goal of boosting the bottom line, we in the pharmaceutical industry should focus on the first benefit of increasing customer engagement. This benefit, after all, will have the most profound impact on our industry and, most importantly, our patients.
The role of patient engagement in improving healthcare outcomes is one of our industry's universal truths, and few tools have the capacity to drive patient engagement better than your loyalty program. By providing patients a way to gain additional benefits or perks via their participation in a loyalty program, we’re motivating to increase their interest in their health and their patient journey. It's just one more way we can support our patients, and those who partner with us will experience benefits greater than any earned on some plastic card.
Showing loyalty to the patient journey
If you're planning to start your own loyalty program, the size of the program can be as large or small as you want; just make sure it spurs engagement. By creating an engaging loyalty program, your customer base will be more active and all the more successful throughout their patient journey.