Is Your Loyalty Program Actually Rewarding Your Members?

Tracy Borreson on November 16, 2016

Loyalty Programs – we’re all part of at least one. We join them largely because they are supposed to be built on the fact that I will be rewarded in one way or another from doing business with your brand; it may be free gifts, special event invitations, or even points I can cash in for products and services.

But what happens when your expectations are smashed?

This happened to many “valued” members when a large point redemption program (which will remain nameless - although you have, no doubt, heard of this issue if you are a member) recently created this phenomenon. When one of their members attempted to redeem their “points” for a gift certificate – one of the biggest redemption item desirables within the program – they were informed that the “class” of points that they had did not qualify. Oh, and, did I mention that, the “classes” of points were something newly implemented, and they were NOT brought to the attention of the membership base when they were implemented?

So, let me get this straight. I have been collecting points for years, and these points USED to be redeemable for gift certificates, but now you’ve added secret classes to my points that won’t allow me to qualify for the SAME benefit I had always been having?

Sneaky. Just plain sneaky.

Now, if you are looking at it from the business perspective, it’s probably quite thrifty – they may have been thinking: We’ve now eliminated a whole BUNCH of redemptions, which means we are making more money. Yay us!

But the customer perspective looks a lot different. When your “loyal customers” or “valued members” start to feel duped, you’re losing more than their loyalty, you’re losing your credibility.

I was recently at a conference where one of the speakers quoted, “our greatest experience becomes our expectation”. This is especially true when you are looking within your relationship, as a consumer, with a single organization. If an organization USED to create a great experience for you, any step back-wards, even a small one, is going to have a negative impact.

So here is my advice – if you’re going to run a Loyalty Program, or a Client Success Program, or ANY kind of program that is customer-centric, make sure that you are providing legitimate benefits for your members, and, if anything, always keep ADDING new benefits.

After all, you are a Loyalty Member yourself – so what makes you feel special?