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Posted by Ashley Autry on Jan 28, 2020 9:00:00 AM

A customer is someone who buys something. A member is someone who belongs to something.

We should all aim to have members, even if we don't have a formal membership structure. Members, in this sense, are customers who have developed a deeper, ongoing relationship with your product or brand.

These relationships don’t happen by accident. Some brands can develop deep cult followings, but not all of us can be Apple or Starbucks.

We can however, borrow specific tactics from membership groups designed to build engagement and long-term loyalty.

Start small. Try any of these 20 engagement tactics used by some of the largest membership organizations in the world.

Posted by Gary Toyn on Dec 12, 2019 9:05:00 AM

If you don’t like receiving gifts, then stop reading. 

Posted by Ashley Autry on Dec 3, 2019 9:03:22 AM

And just like that, 2019 came and went - yet another prosperous year in the books. And we couldn't have done it without our incredible team of employees here at Access, as well as our awesome merchant partners and clients. We are beyond grateful for the many wonderful relationships we've made this year, fresh opportunities and new growth.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the Christmas decorations are up and the New Year is just around the river bend (as Pocahontas would say), we can't help but reflect on this past year and all its happenings.

It was a busy year to say the least. In addition to celebrating 35 years in business with a much needed refreshing of the Access brand (complete with a new logo, new colors, new website, and more), there were also plenty of cheerful product updates, money-saving endeavors and client success efforts to be shared.

Posted by Ashley Autry on Nov 19, 2019 8:58:29 AM

Just like a juicy Thanksgiving turkey, the best discount programs are made with carefully chosen ingredients that come together to create a recipe for success.

When imagining eating a delicious holiday bird, most of us taste ingredients like parsley, celery, onion, lemon pepper, salt, sage and thyme.  Almost no one is dreaming of eating a turkey where the main ingredient is, let’s say… Flamin’ Hot Cheetos powder (unfortunately this is a real thing). Ew! Much in the same way, nobody wants to be a part of a discount program that has poor customer service, novelty discounts that people won’t use, low-value deals, online-only offers, discounts that are nonredeemable, and no mobile coupon options.

So for all you membership organizations out there, make sure the white label discount program you’re offering members is one you would actually want to use yourself – and not just every once in a while, but frequently.

And for those companies and organizations looking to make a switch or offer a discount/loyalty program for the first time, it’s important to be aware of the essential “ingredients” to look for that make a discount program effective.  

After all, your members/customers/employees don’t just want a discount program for the sake of having one. It’s only valuable to them if they can utilize and incorporate it into their everyday lives, saving money often on the things they buy all the time.

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Posted by Ashley Autry on Oct 28, 2019 9:02:50 AM

It's a dark, cold night. We're gathered outside around the campfire. There's a noticeable uneasy feeling lurking in the air.

So with flashlight in hand, our scary story begins...

...Once upon a time there was a consumer that met a brand and became its devoted customer.

The brand also expressed it's love for the customer with a loyalty program and promise of valuable rewards.

But the brand failed to live up to its loyal customer's expectations.                                          

And so, what was once a devout customer turned into a beastly creature that threatened the brand, eager to gain revenge.

So what became of the brand and customer that were once in love?

It’s one of the oldest stories in the book, and a good reminder for brands out there on what can happen when you don’t deliver on customer expectations. Your most loyal customers can go from brand advocates to brand detractors – something we refer to as the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde predicament. But don't fret too much, you still have the power to choose how your story ends.

The Chilling Tale of One Coffee Rewards Program

This story stood the test of time yet again when Starbucks recently made some major changes to its rewards program, catching some of its loyal customers off guard.

Its old program let customers earn 2 points (stars) for every dollar spent. Once their first point was earned, customers became green level members. Green level members received things like free in-store refills and birthday deals. After a customer accumulated 300 stars during a calendar year, they bumped up to gold status. Gold members received a free drink or pastry for 125 stars, were given opportunities to earn double stars monthly, and a personalized membership card.

With the new Starbucks loyalty program there’s no tier status, instead it’s set up to allow customers to start utilizing points sooner in smaller amounts. For example, earning just 25 stars gets you add-ons like flavored syrup, while 50 stars lands you a free coffee, hot tea or bakery item. But in order to receive the most popular items for free, like a handcrafted drink or hot breakfast sandwich, customers must earn 150 stars – 25 points higher than the previous program. And boy was Starbucks in hot water with its most die-hard members after they realized the value of their stars had decreased.

Some customers even went to bed with enough points for a free breakfast sandwich or two and woke up to those being taken away.

Really the majority of people taking the biggest hit with the new Starbucks rewards program are its most avid customers, as they are the ones that rack up enough points to become gold members, earning the fancy free drinks. It all comes together to create the perfect formula, turning Starbucks’ most loyal customers (Dr. Jekyll) into its harshest critics (Mr. Hyde).

This new Starbucks rewards iteration has been active for less than 6 months, so the jury’s still out. We’ll see what the future holds and the impact it makes on what were once Starbucks’ most loyal customers.

Posted by Kendra Lusty on Oct 17, 2019 10:00:00 AM

The holidays are nearly here, along with everything they bring: excitement, gifts, feasts, decorations, celebrations…

Member loyalty.

At least for clients of Access Development they do. That’s because this December, we’re offering an extra special promotion aimed to reinvigorate and engage your membership.

This email campaign, which we're calling the 12 Days of Holiday Savings, will launch on December 1. Then each day for 12 days, members will receive an email highlighting one highly exclusive, limited-time offer.

These deals are among the deepest we’ve ever offered. And since they’re not available to the general public (or even to every Access member) we can’t reveal the participating merchants just yet.