Feedback is the key to delivering a brand experience your customers will love. That’s because their motivations and needs are constantly changing. As a result, you need to find ways to stay up to date on what those desires are if you want to continue building relationships that turn into profitable repeat customers.
This is something smart lighting manufacturer Nanoleaf learned very early on. By using “participative, customer-centric design” as the backbone of their product, they’ve built their brand experience around conversations and customer feedback with the help of their Nanoleaf Perks loyalty program.
We sat down with Paul Austin-Menear (Director of Digital Strategy) to learn more about how they were able to leverage their loyalty program to gather customer feedback and what they learned by doing so.
Loyalty programs make sharing feedback more valuable for your customers
At their core, loyalty programs are designed to give your customers something for engaging with your brand. By offering rewards for completing actions like making a purchase or following you on social media, you show your customers that you care about how they engage with you and want to thank them for it. This encourages them to do it again in the future, transforming them into valuable repeat customers.
Rewarding customers for sharing their thoughts with you demonstrates a commitment to their experience and the value they'll get from your brand.
Rewarding for customer feedback, then, is the best way to demonstrate you care about the experience you’re delivering. When you reward customers for sharing their experiences with you, you’re demonstrating how much you care about the value you’re delivering. This will encourage them to share their feedback more often.
As a pioneer in their industry, Nanoleaf knew that their success depended on getting customer feedback quickly. In an effort to start more customer conversations, they launched a beta program that invited customers to participate in product testing and share their thoughts.
This is where the idea to combine their beta program with rewards was born. After learning how a Smile loyalty program worked, it seemed like an obvious solution to incentivize for enrolling and participating. With the Nanoleaf Perks program, they started rewarding customers with points for answering questions about how they would use products and what they’d be willing to pay for them, reserving their largest rewards for customers who beta tested hardware for their new products.
"We need a lot of feedback to validate decisions, so it's very important. It also helps us acquire new customers for our direct to consumer business since you can only spend points on the Nanoleaf Shop."
Paul Austin-Menear, Nanoleaf
With significant rewards up for grabs, their beta program created a powerful switching barrier that helps Nanoleaf retain more customers for longer, while also making participating and sharing experiences more valuable for every customer who joins.
Rewards turn your most engaged customers into vocal brand advocates
One of Nanoleaf’s goals has always been to attract people who truly love design and technology to their beta program. They’re looking for customers who will share genuine opinions with them because they care about their products — not just because they can earn a reward. The Nanoleaf team knows that people who are shown a reward up front are less likely to provide thoughtful feedback just so they can cash in on a reward, which is why they don’t publicly promote what’s in it for their customers.
Instead, they reserve the reciprocal nature of their programs for the customers who have their brand’s best interest in mind. By rewarding value with value, they’ve found that they can build much stronger emotional connections with each of their customers while still inspiring them to share feedback and, most importantly, talk the program up with others.
"These folks who are really emotionally invested in our design process talk about our company with like-minded people. You don't do that sort of thing for a brand that you don't care about — it doesn't even occur to you."
These brand advocates become the most effective marketers because they’re easier to trust. Rewarding them for both their feedback and the positive affirmation of the Nanoleaf brand ties the two actions together and turns their feedback loop into a vehicle for powerful referral marketing.
Loyalty programs give you the power to turn ordinary moments into extraordinary ones
Ultimately, the biggest value of using your loyalty program to gather customer feedback is that it creates an incredible brand experience. With a two-way exchange of value, a rewards program becomes a huge part of building a successful brand community built on lasting relationships.
Nanoleaf does this primarily by taking interactions from “ordinary to exceptional.” Every member of the Nanoleaf customer experience team is trained on how to use and manage their loyalty program and empowered to award points to customers who do something valuable for their brand.
"What we really want to do is retain that human relationship and add a special touch. As we continue to scale up that will be a key differentiator for us."
These small rewards go a long way to make every customer interaction feel real and approachable, and also increase the likelihood that customers will be willing to share their feedback with the Nanoleaf team in the future.
By adding an easy-to-manage tool like a loyalty program to your brand experience, you make feedback more compelling to share and more valuable to every customer’s experience at your store. This emphasis on value makes it obvious that you care about the relationship you’re building with them and inspires them to pour into that connection in return.
Points are the key to unlocking more actionable customer feedback
Nanoleaf made their rewards program a critical part of their brand experience by strategically positioning it at multiple points in their buyer journey. From landing pages to email campaigns to order notifications in Shopify, they leveraged a variety of ways to earn points — including leaving feedback — to create a personal experience customers want to contribute to. As a result, offering points for feedback became one more piece of a differentiation and retention strategy that encouraged customers to buy from them directly.
You can harness the same power for your brand by rewarding customers for sharing their feedback with you. By adding this to your program’s earning actions, you will start to get more feedback that is valuable, empowers more brand advocates, and strengthens your relationships with customers.