It’s all about simplicity and ease of use.
Simplicity is the new theme echoed in the world of loyalty. Creating complicated hurdles to earn and burn and making it difficult for consumers to participate in your programme is a thing of the past.
We have seen companies over the past 12 – 18 months break away from rigid legacy systems and processes to slick, streamlined customer loyalty experiences. Consumers are demanding higher quality experiences from the brands they love. They want simple yet worthwhile loyalty propositions, with even better experiences.
Furthermore, larger companies have started to compete with smaller, more nimble entrants into the market, using flexible tech solutions purely focused on offering an excellent customer experience such as mobile loyalty app solutions with built-in payment solutions to geolocation surprise and delight rewards. Some players in the market have made more drastic changes than others, overhauling complicated legacy systems to offer a more tailored one-on-one customer service. We highlight two global examples below.
Loyalty steers towards simplicity
In 2017, Air Canada announced its separation from coalition partner Aimia and its Aeroplan programme, bringing all loyalty operations in-house from 2020. The reason for the move is to streamline the customer experience, by eliminating some of the barriers caused by a coalition partnership with a 3rd party supplier. Aeroplan has been the loyalty programme for Air Canada since 1984 and currently has approximately 5 million active members. Air Canada has moved swiftly on the announcement, already highlighting exactly what the new programme will look like and how and when the change will occur.
“The new programme, launching in 2020, will offer additional earning and redemption opportunities, more personalised service and a better digital experience for Air Canada customers. Similar to all of Air Canada’s North American peers, by managing our own loyalty programme, we will be able to take better care of our customers by making decisions in real time that address specific needs. We’re excited to take this next step that delivers on our promise for continued investments in the customer experience.”
President of Passenger Airlines
In 2016, Red Lion Hotels, also dramatically changed its loyalty programme by revamping its legacy points system to offer instant gratification and personal recognition programme instead. In an article by Loyalty360, Jason Thielbahr, Senior Vice President of Revenue Optimization & Distribution Services at Red Lion says the move away from the accumulation of points and having to reach tiers was no longer a drawcard for their guests (and future guests). They needed to do something different to keep existing customers engaged while attracting new (and younger) customers.
The new version of the programme offers guests instant rewards every time they stay at a Red Lion Hotel, from room upgrades to discounted activities at the hotel. This is perhaps one of the greatest loyalty trends we’ve seen lately in the global space where the customers’ need for simplicity and a seamless experience reign.
Imagine the following scenario: A customer travels for business a few times a year and stays at the same hotel every time she frequents the same city for business. Every day, before she leaves for her daily client meetings, she grabs two cans of diet coke from the mini bar. She doesn’t drink anything else but just the two small cans of diet coke. Imagine her reaction if the hotel started to track her daily diet coke ritual and in turn stocks up the mini bar with more than two cans per day (discarding any beverage she has never used before). Or, even better, on her next trip, upon arrival to her room, an ice bucket filled with ice-cold diet cokes (possibly customised with her name) awaits her on her bedside table. Now that is what we call true personalisation.
We hope to see in the near future more brands taking the reins on personalisation. We challenge companies to dive head first into fully understanding what they can do today, to offer a truly personalised experience because those which don’t will find themselves becoming part of the background noise of companies clamoring for consumers’ attention.