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Consumer loyalty seems to be evolving with the passing of each hour these days. Expectations are high and loyalty is low, which presents a unique issue of adaptation that is needed. Mark Allen, SVP of Marketing a YA | Engage, sat down with Loyaty360 to discuss present day loyalty and where it is heading.
Can you talk about the current state of consumer loyalty and how you see it changing?
The days when consumers would accept fine print and blackout days are over. Relevance and ease-of-use are critical to the state of consumer loyalty programs today. Loyalty programs must enhance the overall customer experience and reinforce the brand promise. A happy loyal customer can quickly turn if their behavior isn’t met with a valuable and timely response from the brand.
What impact does consumer loyalty have on a company’s customer engagement/customer experience efforts?
Customer experience is based on a deep understanding of the consumer and their expectations. Companies can’t simply start with a process based on a transaction and wait for consumers to opt-in. Today consumers want to be active participants, they expect more control of loyalty programs. They want to use their favorite channel to engage at a time that is most convenient for them.
Customer expectations seem like they are at an all-time high. What can brands do today, and in the future, to meet and exceed these expectations that will directly impact consumer loyalty?
Brands must continue to innovate, loyalty programs that look at service delivery within their category as a baseline are not sufficient. To exceed expectations brands must invest in authentic customer-centered loyalty programs that can evolve with their consumers.
What do you foresee as far as consumer loyalty trends and how companies will have to adapt?
Customers are looking for meaningful experiences when they interact with a brand. Points programs proved to be too difficult for today’s consumers. They won’t wait to earn thousands of points or a reward that isn’t applicable, they will just move on to the competition. One tweet can impact a brand’s reputation and loyalty programs that don’t deliver can’t get away with the same old tricks.
What is being done well regarding consumer loyalty and where do the challenges lie?
Many brands have started to recognize the customer-focus I’ve discussed in my previous answers. They’ve come a long way in terms of transparent communication, rewards and rebates are now easily tracked from submission to delivery. Brands that continue the transition to digital mobile interface options and allow the consumer to easily engage with their loyalty programs will realize the value in their investment with their most loyal fans.
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