Are You Engaged With Your Loyalty Program?
Business Solutions What’s your relationship with your loyalty programs? If you say “we’re just friends,” you’re in line with the majority of other program members in North America who don’t have a close program relationship.
According to the 2011 COLLOQUY Cross-Cultural Loyalty study, few customers are fully engaged with their loyalty programs and brand. Virtually every form of customer interaction measured by the study—including swapping brand information via social networking sites and learning about special offers and program details via cell phone—was down in 2011 compared to 2009.
Interestingly, we found that only 31 percent of Americans (and just 22 percent of Canadians) find rewards-program communications “extremely relevant.” When we compared these findings to those of consumers in emerging economies, their assessments for marketing and loyalty communications are double those of the U.S. and Canada.
Why are our loyalty relationships cooling off?
The answer to the question harkens back to a factor that can doom many personal relationships: A failure to communicate. This revelation has been a big wake-up call for marketers, and it should grab your attention, too.
The upshot is that the loyalty market here has matured. Members aren’t motivated by the same needs that prompted them to participate in the first place. We’ve been living with loyalty programs for over 20 years now, and just as in a long marriage, we’re probably a little bored. Many of the program offerings have become a little predictable, and communication isn’t what it used to be.
"U.S. loyalty and rewards programs represent an economic engine worth $48 billion in perceived reward value."
But before you sit back and wait for the magic to return, realize that fixing relationship problems takes the effort of both parties. If you yearn for the excitement you felt when you first signed up, you have to do your part to rekindle this beneficial partnership, too.
There’s a lot at stake here. U.S. loyalty and rewards programs represent an economic engine worth $48 billion in perceived reward value. In other words, you matter. Companies want you to be actively engaged and communicative. Here are three easy steps you can take to help loyalty marketers create a loyalty program that you’ll love—and will love you back.
Don’t be a moving target
Focus on the media that best suit your habits and preferences. If you prefer to receive text messages on your mobile, want emailed offers, prefer using apps, or even if direct mail is your thing, respond to offers and communications via those channels so the company knows what you like. Most companies also make it easy to update your profile and media choices online.
Personalize your program
Look for new and creative ways that the company offers to personalize the loyalty program just for you. For example, when you check into a Courtyard by Marriott, do you want free wifi or a welcome chocolate-chip cookie? If you have a Citi card, you can pool your points with Facebook friends and redeem for a group trip, wedding gift, or donation. Customizing your program tells marketers what you want to see more of in the future.
Investing a little effort into revitalizing your loyalty relationships can make everyone happier. You could find yourself moving from “just friends” to “newly engaged.”