back icon Back Insights 04/23/2024

The Power of Social Proof: Leveraging Customer Testimonials in Loyalty Programs

What if you learned there was an untapped gold mine hiding in your organization — a treasure trove of customer insights and shortcuts to brand advocacy that were simply sitting dormant somewhere you’ve yet to explore? If you collect customer testimonials through a loyalty program, this very well might be the case. Customer testimonials in loyalty programs are priceless.

Customer testimonials offer authentic social proof of your company’s value proposition and create a direct line of communication with real customers so you can deploy noticeable program improvements that build trust and credibility. Here’s how to leverage the power of customer testimonials in loyalty programs, complete with testimonial collection strategies. 

Understanding Customer Testimonials in Loyalty Programs

Customer testimonials in loyalty programs play a critical but often overlooked role. Since 81% of consumers trust recommendations from real people over a business, genuine feedback directly provides social proof from legitimate customers’ perspectives. Testimonials serve as a cornerstone for building trust, enhancing engagement, and fortifying the foundation of a loyalty program.

So, how do customer testimonials enhance loyalty programs? Take a look at the vital role customer testimonials play. 

Building Trust

The psychology behind social proof is trust. Despite brands spending countless hours crafting their own content, nearly half of consumers would rather see user-generated content (UGC) — like reviews and testimonials from actual customers — for unfiltered opinions they can trust. When businesses actively seek, acknowledge, and act on forms of social proof, particularly customer testimonials in loyalty programs, they demonstrate a commitment to transparency and building coveted customer trust. 

Informed Decisions

Genuine feedback acts as a direct line of communication between your business and its customers. These authentic insights allow your brand to make informed decisions about how to enhance your loyalty program. For instance, common customer feedback in loyalty programs centers around the available perks and rewards. Allow your customer testimonials to inform the frequency of rewards redemption and guide the type of program benefits you provide, such as cashback rewards for program members. 

Enhancing Personalization

Unlike run-of-the-mill consumer reviews, customer feedback in the context of loyalty programs often contains valuable information about individual preferences and behaviors. This is especially true if your loyalty program tracks user activity, previous purchases, and recent searches. Leveraging both member preferences and customer testimonials in loyalty programs allows your brand to more effectively personalize member offerings, like marketing and rewards, helping to forge stronger emotional connections.

Customer Advocacy and Referrals

Customer testimonials in loyalty programs have a snowball effect: Seeking feedback builds trust, garnering genuine feedback informs decision-making, and better decision-making powers personalization that creates emotional bonds and enhances satisfaction. Even more, satisfied program members are more likely to become brand advocates. When your loyalty program caters to member preferences, you can transform neutral or satisfied customers into enthusiastic promoters and continuous referrals. 

Integrating Testimonials into Loyalty Programs

Encouraging and integrating customer testimonials are some of the best practices for loyalty programs—Testimonials ​​showcase real-life examples of customer satisfaction and the tangible benefits of being a program member. Integrating customer testimonials into loyalty programs helps transform positive customer experiences into brand credibility, trust, and lasting customer relationships.

Take a look at how you can incorporate genuine customer testimonials into your loyalty program. 

Strategies for Collection

So, what are the best practices for collecting customer testimonials? Collecting genuine and impactful customer feedback in loyalty programs begins with directly engaging with your program members. Encourage feedback through surveys, direct communication channels, and social media by highlighting the importance of member input and how it helps improve your program. Offering incentives for providing feedback and gamifying the testimonial experience can also increase participation rates.

Best Practices for Displaying Testimonials

Much like how your testimonial collection strategies are spread across multiple platforms, the testimonials you display should also be featured on several platforms. After all, testimonial-based advertisements can result in a 4× higher click-through rate and a 50% reduction in cost-per-click and cost-per-acquisition on social media platforms, making them invaluable marketing materials. 

Some of the top platforms to highlight your loyalty program success stories include, but are not limited to:

  • Your loyalty program’s webpage. Whether through a dedicated section or a rotating carousel, strive to spotlight testimonials that speak to the diverse benefits of your program, such as exclusive rewards, personalized experiences, and superior customer service.
  • Email campaigns and newsletters. Positive feedback from peers can not only motivate prospective loyalty program members to join but also reinforce the program’s value to current members, so incorporate testimonials into email marketing communications.
  • Social media platforms. From text-based reviews to video-based testimonials, share positive customer success stories on social media to create a more engaging and relatable narrative as well as encourage a feeling of community among loyalty program members. 

Two women taking a selfie while on vacation.

Maximizing Customer Testimonials for Social Proof

Now that you better understand how to collect and display customer testimonials in loyalty programs let’s talk about how to maximize them for social proof. Remember, the basis of social proof is trust. However, the foundation of customer loyalty is connection. Fortunately, testimonials combine an element of trust with emotional resonance, helping to boost overall effectiveness. 

Creating Emotional Connections

The best loyalty program success stories are those that convey significant positive changes in customer experiences. These stories resonate deeper, creating a sense of connection and community among current and prospective members. As such, it makes it easy for satisfied members to share their positive experiences on multiple social media channels. Provide simple tools and incentives to continue engaging customers with testimonials, such as loyalty referral codes and social media contests. 

Leveraging Multimedia Testimonials

Did you know that 63% of customers consider visual-based testimonials to be more credible than written testimonials or that 72% of customers find images shared by fellow consumers to be more trustworthy than stock images? While written testimonials are valuable, incorporating video testimonials and story highlights dramatically increases engagement. Videos allow potential and current members to see real people sharing their genuine experiences, adding authenticity and depth to your testimonials. 

Measuring the Impact of Testimonials on Loyalty Programs

So, can customer testimonials increase loyalty program enrollment? The short answer is yes, they can! However, it’s integral to measure the impact of testimonials over time to confirm they’re actually building trust and driving program participation and retention. That brings us to a better question: How do you measure the success of testimonials in loyalty programs? Here’s how! 

Analyzing and Acting on Feedback

While customer feedback in loyalty programs can provide tons of promotional marketing materials — like social media videos and email newsletters — it’s vital to analyze testimonials for actionable insights. It can be helpful to invest in sentiment analysis tools to identify common praises and concerns. This highlights program strengths to double down on as well as areas for improvement.

You must take an agile approach to ensure your loyalty program remains responsive to customer needs and preferences. In order to remain responsive, it’s critical to continue monitoring customer testimonials in loyalty programs over time, making adjustments based on feedback and key performance indicators (KPIs). Speaking of KPIs, check out the following list of metrics to keep an eye on month over month.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Track

  • Customer engagement levels in loyalty programs can take several shapes, including post clicks and interactions on social media, as well as the frequency of return users. 
  • Enrollment and participation rates for your customer loyalty program can be measured by comparing the number of members at the start of a period versus the end of a period, as well as tracking metrics like rewards redemption and contest participation rates. 
  • Conversion rates for your loyalty program can be calculated by taking the number of new members and dividing that figure by the number of total interactions during that time period, such as how many new members enrolled from a recent testimonial newsletter. 
  • Retention rate measures the number of loyalty program members who remain enrolled in the program from the start of a set time period, such as one quarter, to the end of a period.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer satisfaction and loyalty survey that has consumers rate how likely they are to recommend your loyalty program on a scale from 0 to 10, with responses of 9 or 10 classified as promoters and responses from 0 to 6 classified as detractors.

Arrivia Helps Leverage Customer Testimonials in Your Loyalty Program

Customer testimonials in loyalty programs are vastly underutilized yet incredibly useful. By collecting genuine feedback from loyalty programs, you create a direct communication channel between your brand and your soon-to-be brand advocates, where you can not only personalize your member interactions but also provide authentic social proof of your program’s value proposition.

Now that you know how much untapped potential lives in customer testimonials from loyalty programs, learn how to leverage them with arrivia. As a white label travel rewards platform for all industries, arrivia helps craft valuable loyalty program perks that come complete with personalized marketing campaigns driven by your members’ online behaviors, preferences, and feedback.

Explore arrivia services today to discover how you can leverage the power of customer testimonials in loyalty programs!