If you manage a loyalty program – large, small or somewhere in – you’re accustomed to looking at metrics like activation rate and breakage. You also likely read about industry best practices and review third-party research. And while it’s important to understand the performance of your loyalty program and the impact of its performance on your organization’s overall business goals, there’s another key source of insights loyalty program managers may be overlooking.
This is a particularly effective tactic if your program efforts result in relatively few internal data points from which to draw. For instance, in retail, programs tend to have lots of participants with small transactions, making it hard to draw redemption patterns across customer segments. On the other end of the spectrum, loyalty program managers in the travel industry may see point earning in infrequent bursts. In both instances, program managers may not have the data they need. Looking to adjacent industries and leading consumer media sources can be a helpful tactic.
Let’s look at some examples.
Forbes: Loyalty program trends that create customers for life
In this contributed article on Forbes, the author paints a picture of complacency in the loyalty program space. In such a crowded market, what makes one loyalty program stand out over the others?
- Biggest takeaway: Program managers should humanize their loyalty programs to create a more meaningful and valuable relationship with customers. This means establishing trust, taking an individual approach and creating an experience for customers.
- Course correction: How much do you know about your members and what are you doing to create meaningful interactions for your most engaged (and hopefully profitable) segments? How do they prefer to interact with you? What do they want most from you? Answering these questions will help you segment your audience and deliver more relevant interactions.
The Points Guy: When the fine print turns into a “gotcha” situation
Consumers who are active travelers and loyalty program enthusiasts are likely very familiar with The Points Guy. In this article, one reader shares how a hotel loyalty program’s fine print resulted in a major letdown.
- Biggest takeaway: One hotel guest, who was displaced by Hurricane Harvey, exceeded a 90-day stay limit, which, as stated in the fine print, made him ineligible for rewards points. While accommodations were made for his situation, this peculiar term never was communicated explicitly to him, resulting in some confusion – and likely a little hit to his brand loyalty.
- Course correction: Particularly for customers who are going through special circumstances, customer service shouldn’t be reactive; it should be intentional and proactive. Identify customers who may need additional communication touch points and find a way to get in front of any issues that may arise before they become problematic.
NerdWallet: Credit card loyalty program things you need to know
This consumer-facing article from NerdWallet highlights what customers need to know about loyalty reward programs – from reward value to cashing points in.
- Biggest takeaway: What may seem obvious to a program manager may not be to a consumer. This article is very 101, however it does a good job explaining some of the basics– and nuisances –that come along with selecting a card with a loyalty program that best meets the consumer’s goals.
- Course correction: Articles like these answer the real questions consumers have and shed light on the pain points they experience through the customer journey. It’s great guidance for relevant website content, social media posts and useful information that your call center team should be able to speak to.
No matter where you’re looking, whether in trade or consumer media, stay on top of trends in the industry.
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