Loyalty program members have spoken, and they seem to have one thing in common: a desire to share less personal information with companies. According to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Wilbur, 76 percent of Americans are more likely to join a program that collects only their names and phone numbers. An almost equal number (71 percent) said they would be less likely to join a rewards program which collects personal information. This includes address, account information, and other sensitive data.
 
These two data points highlight the growing concern Americans have about their personal information. As more organizations report data security breaches, consumers are growing concerned about to whom they hand their information.
 
“These survey results prove that US consumers are becoming much more selective about the loyalty programs they join and, I believe, are ultimately more loyal to brands that respect their personal privacy,” says President and CEO of Wilbur and Smart Transaction Systems Ray Clopton. “It is really important for businesses to pay attention to what their customers want—especially when developing a loyalty program.”
 
The personalized experiences consumers want comes at the cost of providing the personal information they value so much. However, finding the balance consumers and businesses can live with is the key. As we’ve seen, if a program only asks for a name and phone number, 76 percent are more likely to join a program. This is information brands can use increase loyalty program membership.
 
However, some don’t want to provide even this minimum amount of information. According to the poll, 16 percent of respondents are somewhat less likely to join and another 8 percent said they are much less likely to join if a program asks for a name and phone number. Some truly innovative strategies would need to be developed to reach consumers such as these.
 
In addition, more than half of respondents (58 percent) are less likely to join if they have to download an app. While the fact that consumer willingness to participate goes down as the amount of information requested goes up isn’t extremely surprising, the idea that most consumers don’t even want to download an application is definitely counterintuitive. One would think that downloading an app is the baseline these days.
 
In any case, the Harris Poll at least confirms what many working in the loyalty space already expected. People prefer to share as little information about themselves as possible, especially since the 2017 data breaches. Brands should use this information to design programs that require as little customer data as possible or that offer an extremely good value proposition to make them enticing.
 
 

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