Loyalty Program managers: Here are seven ideas for tough times

We are all doing our best to dig deep, be strong and be proactive during these challenging COVID19 times.

For those of you who have a loyalty or rewards program it’s worth considering a few strategies to leverage your program to be more valuable to your:

  1. Members (be sensitive and generous where you can) and
  2. Business (motivate members to actively engage in your program by earning and redeeming – whether from home or in-store).

Here are seven ideas for you to consider and although these might not all be suitable to your business operations or program structure, hopefully you will find the spark of an idea to action.

Even if funds are tight, find a way to invest a little more than usual into your loyalty program and members – they are a valuable asset.

Please note: The intent of these ideas is to stimulate the economy of your business with a grounded sensitivity towards your members and their long-term value, all within the wider issues being faced.

Seven ideas:

  1. If you have a status tier in your program, think about offering ‘a period of grace’ or extension of status (tier) for these exclusive benefits to be available. There might some ideas you can gain from this article by Mark Ross-Smith – “Should Airlines & Hotels Extend Elite Status in Times of Crisis?”
  2. Set up a ‘let’s beat this virus’ promotion with your members. Be brutally honest (maybe even a bit vulnerable) and ask members help your business by spending a bit more or visit that extra time to keep the business breathing.
  3. Consider a members-only free or reduced delivery offer for a defined period so your members can still purchase from you online and stay at home. While this might not help store visits, it will still keep the option of sales coming in.
  4. Crazy thought?!! How about setting up or escalating a phone hotline (free call) for all members to call in their orders (maybe divert store staff to take calls).
    •  You can even test an outbound campaign to your high value members to check in and see if there is anything they might consider buying OR if they have high points value redeem with points+pay. (I know this is a bit out of the ordinary, however ‘extra ordinary’ actions are often needed when we face unknown situations).
  5. Boost your bonus benefits to members to purchase more or more often from your business.
  6. If you have a subscription program, reduce or remove the cost to subscribe if the time for renewal is within the next (say) 3 months or provide a 'grace period' if it is a monthly subscription.
  7. If you have a catalogue of redemption options, make a hero of those for in-home benefit eg entertainment and games. Consider reducing the redemption value as a “thank you for being a valued member".

In summary, these are a few ideas (some in the box, some out of the box) for you to think about. Bring your team together and get them to identify more.

Above all, in these uncertain and unpredictable times please keep a level head with a tone of calm in all your communications.

Be sensitive and yet be open and transparent with your members. They are not only here for tough times they are your members for the long-term.

Thank you to Mike Capizzi – Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP) and Dean of The Loyalty Academy for providing ideas and input to this article.