Talk to Your Members - The April 15 Customer Engagement Recap

By Brandon Carter | Updated on Apr 15, 2016 12:30:00 PM

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The news and trends affecting consumer engagement 

That You Need to Know

 

In this week's customer engagement recap:

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Back when we first opined on the Starbucks loyalty changes, we speculated that the coffee behemoth would find a way to sweeten the deal for their low-spending customers. They did that in a way last week with the launch of the changes and a new app. Now, anyone who wants to earn gold status can with a single purchase. Hitting that tier opens them up to more benefits, such as "double star" days and whatever else Starbucks may have up its sleeves.

Facebook is building a CRM. Sounds neat, until they suddenly restrict your ability to reach out to 90% of your contacts without advertising. (This sarcastic message brought to you by a bitter social community manager.)

Your product alone isn't enough to earn loyalty. Smartphones are cool on their own, but they become essential once you add apps and import your address book (for example). Blenders are great, but you don't fall in love with yours until you put it to the test with ice, frozen bananas, peas, celery, blueberries, kale, whey protein, and whatever else you put in their complicated smoothies. 

You get the point. Value and personal utility are tied together. The closer you help customers find that utility, the quicker they'll be to see the value. 

  • Netflix Standard Plan Rising to $10 for All Subs Starting in May (Variety)

  • Marriott CEO Sends Letter to Loyalty Program Members (Loyalty360)

We're batching these two stories together to show a best practice: overcommunicate with your members. Those of you who checked out our webinar on The Membership Economy know that people working within membership models (which include loyalty programs) need to be smart about managing relationships. 

In these two cases, plus the Starbucks case, they're communicating changes and making reassurances to members. Netflix could have sprung a price leap on members, perhaps earning a few bucks from people who wouldn't cancel in time.

Marriott could have just maintained radio silence until the loyalty program merger happened down the road. 

But they didn't. They showed respect for their members. Some members may not wait to cancel, or complain, but the damage is minimal compared to a sudden, surprise change. 

  • Virgin America Partners with Starwood to Link Loyalty Programs (Loyalty360)

This will be interesting. Two companies in the midst of mergers with larger competitors are combining efforts (a practice we love by the way). What happens a year from now, when it's possible that neither brand will exist? That may not matter, but for now it's a natural partnership that adds equal value to each.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, consumer trends

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding.

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