Brands are spending a lot of time and money on loyalty programs. And while the enrollment keeps increasing, satisfaction levels are not moving up accordingly.
In its seventh annual survey, Bond Brand Loyalty finds that enrollment in loyalty programs has grown by nearly a third over the past four years. However, satisfaction levels remain steady at about 46%, suggesting that many companies are missing opportunities to develop fully engaged customers. (The survey collected data from more than 28,000 consumers in the United States and Canada, covering more than 400 programs.)
“It’s about more than satisfaction,” Scott Robinson, vice president of design and strategy for Bond Brand Loyalty, tells Marketing Daily. “Marketers are counting [on these programs] for tangible business results and to do things with their brands.”
The average consumer belongs to 14 programs, up from 9 three years ago. However, consumers only actively engage in about half of their programs regularly, meaning that companies need to work harder to stand out.
The easiest place to do that is through the loyalty program’s experience. According to the survey, only 22% of program members say they are treated better than those who are not enrolled in the program. Only 27% say they have a consistent experience across all brand touchpoints, and only 30% say their experience with the loyalty program is consistent with what they expect from a brand.
“We’re encouraging clients and marketers to focus on the experience,” Robinson says. “When consistency is lacking, that’s eroding customer satisfaction.”
Loyalty program experience particularly matters when it comes to redemption. While redeemers are twice as satisfied with programs than non-redeemers, more than 20% of program members have never redeemed anything.
“Companies should be focusing on the redemption experience, not the reward,” Robinson says, noting that many more customers look forward to redeeming their points rather than having the reward itself.
Yet many participants don’t know their program status. More than half (57%) don’t know their points balances, and 38% don’t know the value of the points they have. Considering that satisfaction (and references) increases as consumers approach their redemption goals, marketers should work harder to communicate rewards status and point accumulations to participants, Robinson says.
“Marketers need to be doing a better job at communicating the status of programs and guide more participants to better program outcomes,” Robinson says.