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How many cards do you have in your wallet? The average U.S. household now belongs to more than 18 loyalty programs, for a total of more than 2 billion memberships. That’s an awful lot of loyal customers, but as it turns out, all these programs and cards are having an unintended effect: customer loyalty fatigue.
According to a recent survey by LoyaltyOne, customers are becoming increasingly “fatigued” by customer loyalty programs. So does that mean you shouldn’t have a loyalty program? On the contrary; despite some of the annoyances, most people still participate in their ‘favorite’ loyalty programs, and for many businesses, it’s a proven marketing tool that adds revenue to the bottom line.
So why are customers being turned off? Some of the most common reasons are “I always forget to to bring my card,” “the coupon I got in the mail has expired,” “restrictions on merchandise,” “not getting good discounts,” etc. For the most part, it seems that customers just aren’t perceiving much value in their customer loyalty programs.
To combat this customer loyalty fatigue, make it a priority to create a loyalty program that stands out from the rest, and is perceived as valuable by your customers. Here are a few tips on how to accomplish this:
1) Consider a loyalty program where cards aren’t mandatory. All the customer has to do is give his or her name, or phone number, and all the membership information and transactions can be pulled up and done on screen.
2) Give members something fun to work towards. Having a tiered loyalty program allows you to send updates like “only 100 points away from becoming a silver/gold/platinum member!” In general, people like to feel they’ve achieved VIP status or increased recognition. But if you have a tiered program, make sure the customer feels like they’re getting something for achieving the new level! How does gold feel different than silver? If you or your customers can’t explain that, then re-think the tiers. Remember, sometimes you have to give more to get more!
3) Offer choices. One thing that many customers don’t like is being restricted in terms of what they can use their rewards points for. Be sure to keep your plan flexible and place the customer firmly in control of what they can use their points for. Whether it’s towards a new car, a discount on a maintenance service, dinner for two at a good local restaurant, or even cold, hard cash, people define “value” differently and will appreciate different types of rewards.
Are your customers suffering from customer loyalty fatigue? Creating a customized, flexible program that offers customers real benefits is the key to ensuring that your program is perceived as valuable.