Hugging It Out - The March 25 Customer Engagement Recap

By Brandon Carter | Updated on Mar 25, 2016 2:00:00 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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    • How Loyalty Points Programs Could Be Impacted in Starwood-Marriott Merger (ABC News)

Now that Starwood has given its rose to its preferred suitor, the big question for us loyalty program observers is what's going to happen when two big programs are merged into one. As this article points out, Marriott has twice as many members, but is far less generous than the Starwood program. Most likely scenario? Starwood members are given a grace redemption period before total assimilation.

Yes, dealing with angry people online is just the worst. And yes, some people just put on a show in hopes of getting something for free. Brands play a role in the show, too. Defusing the situation and trying to be of genuine service will talk the person off their ledge. Or if it doesn't, the record will show for all perpetuity that your brand put forth a good faith effort. That counts for quite a bit in the internet age.

  • Apple Pay Meets Its Biggest Foe Yet: Consumer Apathy (PYMNTS)

Continued growth in the number of people trying Apple Pay and other payment systems is a good sign that there is an interest in paying by phone. The lack of continuing usage shows that the experience isn't cutting it for people, or it simply isn't as good as pulling out the credit card. Mobile wallet adoption has huge potential, not just for payments but for the retailer and everyone else in the ecosystem. It needs to become more than just another way to pay.

Dollar General is killing it when a lot of chain brick-and-mortar shops are struggling. They're filling in the gaps left by Walmart, primarily in small towns and areas with lower income populations. Their goal is 2,000 in the next two years, and eventually 20,000 total. By offering a scaled down version of Walmart without the long lines and crowds, the chances are pretty good they'll meet both their goals.

  • Starbucks announces Nespresso pod deal, new loyalty perks (CNBC)

For those still wondering why Starbucks shifted their loyalty program from visits to dollars spent, here's a big example. Starbucks wants to reward people for paying with their prepaid card. They can do that with the new program structure.

Why would anyone want to carry around a prepaid Starbucks card as their primary payment device? Reiterating what we said in our article on it a couple weeks back, they're simply appealing to their most profitable, die hard customers. The people that spend above-average amounts of money on a regular basis. Those people will probably be happy to carry around a card because they're already bending their days around a visit to Starbucks.

 2016 loyalty stats

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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