Posted by Brandon Carter on Aug 21, 2014 12:58:00 AM

I don't just work for a company that operates in the loyalty program space, I'm a huge fan of them myself. I'm attracted to the idea of getting something - points, a "punch," anything - for spending my dollars with a company. Like most people (78% in fact), I'm more likely to pull the trigger on a purchase if I know it'll be recognized somehow.

I'm not in the majority, however, when it comes to redeeming points (just 35% of members redeem points, according to Forrester). I like something for my points, even if it's just a branded beer koozie.

So it was that I found myself on the phone with a national retailer that operates a fairly prominent points program. Looking through their online portal, I noticed I had accumulated enough points to acquire a $50 gift card. Except, the site wouldn't let me redeem my points for that reward. According to the rep on the phone, it seems some of the points I had accumulated during a recent promotion weren't eligible toward the gift card.

Huh? I didn't know rules like that existed, but she told me it was all right there in the fine print of that particular promotion, naturally.


customer engagement learning

She went on to explain that I could redeem most of my points for a $35 gift card and my "promotional" points for a $5 card, putting me just $10 away from the $50 card I had fallen in love with. Conversely, if I spent a couple hundred bucks in-store that week I could earn points that would actually count toward the $50.

Have you ever signed up for a points program without actually knowing the details? As in, just pass over your name and phone number and you’ll start getting points on every purchase, eventually earning enough for…something.

Of course you’ve done that. Points are awesome. Points are sexy.

But there is a growing issue with many of these programs, and it's leaving members trapped in a glass case of emotion, wrestling with the joy of so many points (yay!) yet not much of value to acquire with them (boo!).

What's happening in points and miles programs, and what can be done to get them back on the right track?

Not too long ago I stumbled upon an article wherein a loyalty guru was asked to weigh in on the future of rewards programs for credit cards. He opined that the long-term outlook for these types of programs, particularly those that dole out points, was heading for a sharp decline. The problem, he said, was that the convenience of mobile technology would inspire people to actually redeem their points, resulting in a revenue decrease from shrinking breakage.

Like Walter White from the popular AMC series BreakingBad, some loyalty programs are turning to the dark side. They've abandoned their purpose - loyalty, the very thing they're named for - and instead are just another quick trick to bring people in the door and shuffle them right back out.

A loyalty program that's dependent upon breakage to be deemed a success isn't a loyalty program at all. It's just a broken promise.

Our colleagues over at Maritz Loyalty Marketing recently unveiled the results their second annual Loyalty Report. The report stems from surveys of 6,000 consumers, with program-level feedback on over 30 national programs across six industry sectors, including Retail Loyalty, Grocery Loyalty, Credit Card Loyalty, Co-Brand Loyalty, Travel, and Hospitality."

Based on their findings, the future is bright for customer loyalty programs. The report notes that the average consumer is a member of 7.4 loyalty programs, but is only active in less than two-thirds of them. 71% are interested in adding more loyalty program memberships, but more than half of the respondents admitted halting participation in at least one program in the past year.

Posted by Brandon Carter on Mar 19, 2013 2:57:00 AM

While I was in college, a popular national sandwich chain opened a location in the student union area. This chain allows customers to earn points on every purchase, and 50 points meant a free footlong. For the impatient, 25 could turn into a cookie, or 40 for a six incher.

Why are we called Access Development? It’s okay to ask. And no, we’re not a software creation firm, or a land management company.

We sat down with Larry Maxfield, Founder of Access Development, to discuss the origin of the Access name and its relevance to the company’s products and the discount/loyalty industry at the time it was created. We also got to talk with Access President Casey Kleinman, and Executive Vice President of Business and Product Development Kelly Passey. They were able to give us a heads up on what “access” and “development” mean to the company, and whether the concept is relevant today.