Customers, are increasingly savvy, price-driven and informed. Essentially, brands have to work harder than ever to retain our business.

Customers, are increasingly savvy, price-driven and informed. Julian Patel

Customers, that’s you and me, are increasingly savvy, price-driven and informed. Essentially, brands have to work harder than ever to retain our business.

As online research replaces face-to-face interaction, relationships with sales and marketing people are being sidestepped. And with so much choice readily available at the click of a mouse, we customers are liable to be fickle.

According to research reported by Ad Week in the article “Consumers Seem to Be Falling Out of Love With Brands”, 29 per cent of consumers even said they like to change brands just for the sake of variety or novelty.

So in this changing landscape of brand interaction, what really drives us customers to return to a provider – is it price, quality, or customer service?

What’s the differentiator?

If channel partners are selling identical products at the same price with similar levels of customer service – how do they differentiate themselves?  One tactic that has proved to be increasingly successful in recent years is a loyalty program; this can bring the required value-add.

Research contained in the Retail Loyalty and the Consumer research report  by SAS and Conlumino, revealed that 95 per cent of respondents had at least one loyalty card and nearly 90 per cent admitted to using them regularly. In fact, just over 40 per cent of respondents actually said they would be less likely to use a provider that didn’t offer a loyalty program.

While many companies run discount or rebate promotions, they will generally find that customers abandon the brand once those discounts and rebates disappear. A loyalty programme, however, encourages an ongoing relationship with the customer and the more that customer is rewarded, the stronger the relationship.

Rewards make the difference

By providing non-cash rewards such as gift cards, music, movies, books and travel, there is added incentive to engage with such a programme. This is the case with the Genuine Xerox Rewards loyalty programme, designed for customers purchasing authentic Xerox solid ink and toner products for their desktop printers. Customers immediately earn 1,000 points for enrolling in the programme, one point for every pound or dollar spent on Xerox supplies and an additional 100 points for each eligible device registered. These points can then be redeemed against ‘rewards’ of their choice.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what some of Xerox’s partners are saying about Genuine Xerox Rewards in the U.K.:

Beta Distribution plc – Jon Duckham, Sales Director

“Genuine Xerox Rewards is a real asset in helping us to get resellers to engage with the Xerox brand. Clearly the real beneficiaries are the end users who get the gifts, but in a very competitive and budget conscious environment, anything that adds real value to the original brand is bound to make a difference.

It gives resellers an opportunity to engage in a different way with their customers. It also shows resellers that Xerox is trying to do something different to create loyalty in the market.

We use Genuine Xerox Rewards as a core part of our marketing to resellers and by creating ready-made flyers for them to use and make it easy for them to promote the programme to their customers.”

Leco Computer Supplies – Lynne Brown, Purchasing Manager

“At Leco Computer Supplies we have been promoting Genuine Xerox Rewards (GXR) since last year to our database of end-users. What we love about the scheme is that it offers us something different to engage with our customers. Our end-users like the fact they are rewarded for buying through the authorised channel.”

Printerbase – Aaron Anderson, Marketing & Sales Manager

“Genuine Xerox Rewards gives our customers more reason than ever to purchase Xerox genuine toner and solid ink supplies. Our customers can now count on the guaranteed quality, reliability, and performance of genuine Xerox supplies for their printers and get rewarded for it too!”

Long-term customer engagement

With so much choice available via an increasing number of channels, we customers are more demanding than ever.  To engage on our level, value-add incentives are required – and rewarding customers for choosing you, shows you’re prepared to go the extra mile.

Subscribe to the Channel Partner Connection and receive email updates when we publish a new article.

(This article was first published on Small Business Solutions, a Xerox blog that helps Small Businesses get the most out of their office technology.)