Stagnancy in Your Loyalty Program? Time for a New Perspective

So you’ve built and launched a loyalty program. Congratulations!

Customers are jumping at the chance to enroll and show you just how dialed in to your brand they can be, and you’re excited to leverage the program to create legions of devoted, engaged fans.

But then time passes…and very little happens.

The program is failing to inspire people. Participation is low. Enthusiasm is absent.

The same people who loved your brand before are still there, still devoted, but no more so than they were. The rest of the members are just there, no more or no less excited about your brand after enrolling in the program.

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What gives?

In all actuality, the stagnation and apathy could be due to any number of reasons. It could be poor overall program design, uninspiring rewards, or too much red tape.

Before you go about the business of deconstructing the whole thing, pause for a minute. Take a step back, and think about this:

Are you active in your own program?

How about your executive team? Your boss? Your coworkers?

This is often one of the first questions we ask potential loyalty program clients. More often than not, the very people tasked with building and maintaining customer loyalty programs aren’t even active in them.

It’s your brand, after all. No one is closer to it than you. No one cares about it more than you.

But if you, or your boss, or your coworkers, aren’t excited and motivated by what the loyalty program is placing in front of you, then it’s time to recalculate your efforts.

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An Honest Evaluation

At some point, we have to realize that merely having a loyalty program isn’t sufficient. Colloquy says there are over 2.65 billion loyalty program memberships in the US, over 20 per household. Yet people are only active in less than half – and truly engaged with even less.

Apathy is loyalty’s worst enemy. The most basic concept behind loyalty programs is to get customers off the sidelines and actively engaged with a brand. Yet, many loyalty programs are just…there, as if another item to be checked off a long list of corporate to-dos.

This post isn’t designed to fix whatever the problems may be, but to encourage everyone involved in loyalty programs to step back and inhabit the worlds of the people you want to connect with. Evaluate your program objectively.

Place yourselves in your customers’ shoes.

  • What excites you about the brand?
  • What would you want from the brand in exchange for your continued patronage?
  • What would make you fall in love with that brand in the first place?

Chances are you – a person with a vested interest in the brand and customer loyalty - know the answers to these questions, but for whatever reasons the loyalty program is unable to properly address them.

Enroll and give membership a personal spin. Then, adjust accordingly.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Member Benefits, Access Development, customer loyalty

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a former writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @bscarter

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