According to the 2015 Loyalty Report from Bond Brand Loyalty, the past year saw more and more consumers opt-in to a variety of different loyalty programs with consumers overwhelmingly agreeing that loyalty programs are worth the effort.
Enrollment is up, with meaningful year-over-year increases observed on all key sentiment trackers, and consumers reporting:
Marketers must focus on authentically fulfilling customer needs to break the habitual reliance on the discount-oriented value proposition.
The program must serve the brand, not just the program.
Mobile in loyalty not only improves the program experience, but ultimately drives loyalty to the brand.
Some of the most beloved brands have no formal loyalty program, yet lean on familiar loyalty design principles to achieve their covert and stealthy alternatives to formal programs.
In each of the years Bond Brand Loyalty has conducted this comprehensive study on consumer usage of and attitudes toward the loyalty programs in which consumers participate, they have captured and tracked a number of general sentiments, including:
Consumer response, though, says that there’s work to do to improve programs in the very near future.
Program satisfaction is a worthy pursuit for marketers – in general, program satisfaction correlates well with many of the desired outcomes that marketers expect of an investment in loyalty. The more salient question that naturally follows, says the report, is: What drives program satisfaction? What are the program elements on which program operators should focus in order to most positively influence overall program satisfaction? Elements that ranked as top functional drivers of satisfaction include:
The study reveals a path for marketers eager to reduce their reliance on monetary incentives in pursuit of customer engagement and program satisfaction. The path is paved with experience-based drivers of satisfaction, which are as weighty as the functional rewards-oriented drivers in terms of their influence on overall program satisfaction. Elements that ranked as the top experience drivers include:
34% percent of customers say they would not be loyal to the brand if it weren’t for the brand’s loyalty program, says the report, and 62% agree that “The program makes my experience with the brand better.” 63% agree that “The program makes me more loyal to the brand.”
The study also included the loyalty program as a factor in the Report, and assessed it alongside a host of other factors that potentially influence consumer satisfaction with brands, including the quality of product (or service), the consistency of product (or service) quality, price, value for money, location/convenience, and more.
What the results show is that the loyalty program ranks ahead of factors such as value for money, price, and convenience/availability of locations in driving satisfaction with brands.
Drivers Of Overall Brand Satisfaction
Quality of product/service
The brand meets my needs
Consistency of product/service quality
The loyalty/rewards program
Availability of products/services
Experiences at the brand are enjoyable
The brand treats me like a valued customer
Value for money
Customer service experience
Interactions with the brand are easy
Interactions with staff
Convenience and/or availability of locations
People I know are positive about the brand
People I know are loyal to the brand
Source: Bond Brand Loyalty, April 2015
Represented among the top drivers of satisfaction with the brand, and ranked second overall among all factors assessed is, “The brand meets my needs.” This tells us that “loyalty” is an opportunity for brands to close the gap between what they promise their customers and what their customers experience along the path to purchase, concludes the report. Done right, it becomes a path to repurchase that is frequently traveled by the customer who is engaged and loyal.
The role that all loyalty programs must play is significant, says the report; not just in terms of driving loyalty to the brand, but serving as a source of sustainable, competitive differentiation for brands.
To access the free Loyalty Report, please visit here.