Ten years ago a customer loyalty program was a new invention among marketing teams, who, like myself, was desperate to find a way to entice customers to come back for more. But nowadays, every store you shop at, and every company you work with is asking you to sign-up for some program and before you know it, you’re walking around with three-hundred cards in your wallet that you have to thumb through every time someone asks “Have you already joined our program?”
So here is my rant to companies out there about the attempt loyalty programs in their present incarnation:
- I don’t want to carry a card. You should know who I am and have a way to identify me so I don’t have to ever carry a card.
- I want the freedom to spend my rewards any way I please. No blackout dates or limited catalog selections please.
- If you want to encourage me to purchase more, run specials that apply to me or that help me double my points for future spending when I might want to spend more. Best Buy’s Reward Zone is a great example of this as they often have Rewards members-only benefits/discounts.
Some companies have done a fantastic job of getting some of these things right. Hilton for instance doesn’t require you to really carry a card, in fact, when you book with them over the phone they find you without even asking, and all of your preferences are automatically populated (I love that). Southwest just recently did a revamp of their program, no doubt with major customer feedback which allowed for a pure points model. As mentioned, Best Buy’s Reward Zone program is pretty good, but has room for many improvements.
Personally, for the companies that do get it right I do return to them because I believe that they value doing business with me as a consumer. A good loyalty program will make you feel important and entices you based on your preferences.
If you were inventing a customer loyalty program, what would you put in it?