Blog

The Rise of Micro Rewards

You’ve heard of the jet-setting rewards, the big showy incentives and the treats that big business use but what’s available to the time poor or cash strapped SME? Introducing the biggest trend in rewards  – Micro Rewards.

These are the bite sized ways to say thank you that don’t take chunks out of your budget and come with smart analytical packages that pinpoint ROI where you need it most and smart, millennial proof delivery options.

We caught up with Jill Goldworn, co-founder of the company behind the SaaS Enterprise level platform, thefirstclub.com, the leading worldwide B2B digital Thank You Company who think rewards should be open to everyone so you can see if Micro Rewards are right for you.

 

What are micro rewards?

Micro Rewards are low cost, high value snackable rewards allowing Brands to say thank you easily and often to anyone. New customers can be rewarded with an instant download from the first purchase and high valued customers can be engaged throughout the relationship with Surprise and Delight digital rewards based on Brand goals, and employees for engaging in successful activities.

 

What types of business utilise micro rewards?

We have Clients such as Wells Fargo Bank and InterContinental Hotels Group who use our millions of choices of music, movies, games, e Books and eMagazines integrated into their respective loyalty program redemption choices. Other Clients such as FedEx use them to say thank you for completing surveys, watching videos or as an anniversary bonus; and yet others who understand that Customer Service is not a department but an attitude and thus reward customer service operators in call centers to encourage desired resolution of customer queries.

 

Are these internal or external, or both?  

Loyalty should be a cohesive strategy within an organization, we share with our Clients that their employees are their most important customers and they should be rewarded with the same loyalty program to both reward and help employees better understand the value proposition, and as such our platform is well suited to be used internally as part of the existing program or externally on thefirstclub.com as stand-alone solution.

 

What problems do you see in the reward and loyalty space ?

When we launched thefirstclub.com in 2009 it was to fit a need for Lightspeed Research a company who wanted to offer digital downloads as an incentive to inspire consumers to complete surveys. They had tried high end rewards, but as in most programs it takes the average user 2 ½-3years to earn enough points for a $300 airline reward, and a high value user 9months to -1 ½ years, so they suffered with a high degree of churn. With instant digital downloads their customer could be rewarded from the first survey and so the number of surveys completed rose a dramatic 50%. Over time we migrated Clients previously using physical rewards to adopt digital and added many more categories to the site to encourage repeat visits such as eBooks, games, eMagazines, software mobile apps and games and more recently movie streaming and next month gift cards so we now have compiled the most robust digital entertainment reward category in the industry delivering 60 million choices to most any device worldwide and translated into 14 languages. Now with the rise of mobile usage for purchasing, reward redemption and researching the competition becoming ubiquitous, it is even more important for Brands to institute engagement strategies to reward the customer from the very first purchase and nothing does that better than instant micro rewards.

 

What trends are you seeing in the space?

Our goal is to connect Brands to their customers passions and nothing does that better than entertainment content…music is still the most popular choice followed evenly by the top-selling PC games, streaming movies and current eMags. One of the important drivers is choice….from the latest content releases from all the major Labels to excite the Millennials and the classics for the Baby Boomers. And the fact that we share the redemption data with the Brands, thus allowing them to understand their customer’s passions in order to suggest more targeted offers to provide deeper engagement.

 

Are the same rules of reward still at play?

Yes – choice is key – we offer a wide range of what people want including millions of music tracks from all the major Labels, the top-selling games, the most popular eBooks, largest variety of eMagazines ( single download or subscription), mobile apps (free and paid) , productivity software, and popular movie streaming – all instantly redeemed onto most any device — PC, Mobile or Tablet

 

What have traditional rewards platforms overlooked?

One of the primary reasons people are not active in the loyalty programs they join is it takes too long to earn rewards and Brands tend to focus on the most valuable 20% of members. So what’s needed are strategies to help a new member embark on the journey to become a most valued member. We help by using digital entertainment to reward social media posting activity, gamification by giving random rewards and because our solution allows for redemption from the first purchase it’s a strong driver to hook a customer early and keep them active. Members in programs using our digital reward solution come back to the site an average of 17X per year to redeem rewards thus spending more and having that Brand become part of their every day lives and growing into a high value member.

Where are your energies going and what’s next for you?

We are looking to the future and are focused on the release of an improved interface of our customer service community, which will provide a more holistic view of user data, allowing for a better understanding of consumer behavior and passions to better engage with them on a deeper level.

The implementation of the first AI (augmented intelligence) features will be added to our Core customer service tool to allow the Client to see the customer in a wholistic way and cool features to thefirstclub.com to recommend the most suitable rewards based on customer desires. We will continue to expand our catalog with more desired content such as gift cards, and enhancing the mobile experience to engage our Clients customer even further.

the first club™ is excited to announce Movie streaming to the millions of Digital Reward choices it offers on its worldwide Enterprise Loyalty platform

London, Tuesday 16th February, 2016 – the first club™, today announced the addition of Movies as new content category on its worldwide Enterprise level rewards platform. the first club™ is constantly increasing its digital reward offering to meet the needs of its Clients, and Movies will add more than 6,000 titles per country to the rapidly expanding catalogue. Content can be streamed on a range of devices, offering hours of high quality entertainment redeemed for any rewards currency. The category is currently available in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain and will soon also be released in Ireland, Belgium and Austria. The long term goal of the first club™ is to provide massive value to benefit its Clients loyalty and corporate incentive programs and offer their customers the widest range of instant digital content redeemable to almost any device worldwide.

 

the first club™, the leading global Thank You platform, is considered one of the most innovative and advanced companies in the loyalty and rewards space, delivering millions of compelling digital rewards worldwide, including the latest music tracks, eMagazines, eBooks, audio books, software, apps and games, and with the new addition of Movies it will give Clients more options for acquisition, engagement and retention strategies to acknowledge their Customers and Employees.

 

As more companies turn to digital content to reward their top employees, the first club™ is privileged to have worked with some of the world’s most prestigious brands. The rewards industry is constantly changing in response to an evolving consumer market, and believes that the coming year will see instant, digital rewards such as Movie streaming growing in popularity among corporate incentive programs.

 

Denis Huré, its CEO says: “We have redefined the notion of Digital Rewards, and are pushing it to the next level. Films are a natural addition to our catalogue and as always we focus on getting the best catalogue available anywhere in the world. 2016 is a turning point for our company, we will add more content in more countries faster than at any time before.”

 

About TFC International, Ltd.
the first club™ is a worldwide digital content distribution solution particularly dedicated to rewards as a loyalty solution where consumers can access the very latest in digital content, including over 60 million choices in music, software, games, eBooks and Audio Books, mobile apps and now films in return for redeeming rewards instantly in multiple currencies. The solution has been specifically designed to enhance loyalty reward programs, corporate incentives and sales promotions giving unique access to the entertainment world on a global scale. TFC International, Ltd., founded in 2002, has its headquarters in the UK, with offices in the UK, France and the United States.

 

For more information, please visit our B2B site at www.thefirstclub.net, or the first club™ white label consumer site, www.thefirstclub.com.

###

© 2016 TFC International Ltd. All rights reserved.

the first club™ will leverage 1% of product and employee time to improve communities around the world

London, Friday 12th February, 2016 – TFC International Ltd. announced today that through its digital rewards distribution platform, the first club™, it is honored to be among the first U.K. companies to join Pledge 1%, a corporate philanthropy movement, which launched in the U.K. this week. Founded by Atlassian, the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado, Rally and Salesforce.org, Pledge 1% empowers companies to donate 1% of product, 1% of equity, 1% of profit or 1% of employee time to improve communities around the world.

the first club™, through its leadership as the first worldwide Digital Rewards Platform in the Loyalty and Employee Incentive space, is one of the first to join Pledge 1% U.K., which has more than 25 companies joining the movement at the time of launch. the first club™ is joining an impressive network of entrepreneurs and companies across the globe that have committed to philanthropic efforts through the Pledge 1% movement. By pledging 1% of its time and product, thefirstclub.com is demonstrating a commitment to philanthropic leadership that has been a commitment of its founders, Denis Huré and Jill Goldworn since inception and launch of the platform in 2009.

the first club™, a leading global Thank You Company delivers millions of compelling digital rewards branded for Clients including the latest music, movies, eMagazines, eBooks, software, apps and games for the immediate recognition of their Customers and Employees by accelerating growth of customer acquisition, engagement and retention strategies.

Comments on the News

  • “Through our rewards platform, the first club™ we enable people to get the rewards they want, when they want and delivered instantly to any device. In our mission to make it possible for Clients to engage more deeply with their Customers, we are looking forward to enable our team members to also work for the cause they are interested in. We are delighted to be part of the Pledge 1% movement and to contribute to the efforts of creating social impact on a global scale,” said Denis Huré, CEO and Co-Founder of the first club™.
  • Salesforce.org is dedicated to changing the way companies think about corporate philanthropy,” said Suzanne DiBianca, president, Salesforce.org. “Today, we’re excited that the first club™ is joining us in giving their resources back to the community. This is another great example of the power that business has to effect positive change.”
  • “We are thrilled that the first club™ has joined the Pledge 1% movement and is committed to sharing its success with the community,” said Scott Farquhar, co-founder and co-CEO, Atlassian. “Employees, customers, and the community all benefit when a company builds giving back into its DNA. It’s one of the best decisions we ever made.”
  • “We believe Pledge 1% is a great step for businesses to become a force for good in the world,” said Ryan Martens, Board Chairman EFCO & Founder/CTO, Rally, now part of CA Technologies. “We applaud the first club™ for committing a portion of their success to their community stakeholders and social impact.”

 

About TFC International, Ltd.

the first club™ is a worldwide digital content distribution solution particularly dedicated to rewards as a loyalty solution where consumers can access the very latest in digital content, including over 60 million choices in music, software, PC games, mobile content, eBooks and Audio Books, and films in return for redeeming rewards instantly in multiple currencies.  The solution has been specifically designed to enhance loyalty reward programs, corporate incentives and sales promotions giving unique access to the entertainment world on a global scale. TFC International, Ltd., founded in 2009, has its headquarters in the UK, with offices in the UK, France, Germany and the United States

For more information, please visit our B2B site at www.thefirstclub.net, or the first club™ our consumer site, www.thefirstclub.com.

 

About Pledge 1%

Pledge 1% is an effort spearheaded by Atlassian, Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado, Rally for Impact, Salesforce.org and Tides to accelerate their shared vision around integrating philanthropy into businesses around the world. Pledge 1% encourages and challenges individuals and companies to pledge 1% of equity, product and employee time for their communities, because pledging a small portion of future success can have a huge impact on tomorrow. Pledge 1% offers companies turnkey tools and best practices, making it accessible for any company to incorporate philanthropy into their business model. To learn more or to take the pledge, please visit www.pledge1percent.org.

###

Salesforce, Salesforce1 and others are among the trademarks of salesforce.com, inc.

© 2016 TFC International Ltd. All rights reserved.

5 must haves for loyalty in eCommerce

Sodexo Partners with the first club to Expand Offering Worldwide

London – 5th, November 2013the first club™ a global leader in digital rewards and loyalty solutions, is expanding their partnership with Sodexo Benefits and Reward Services for their new reward platform. This partnership will provide Sodexo’s clients across the globe the ability to add millions of choices of instant digital rewards to their corporate reward and incentive offering.
Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services provide access to a wide range of customized and innovative services that improve the quality of life of beneficiaries, including employees, students and public benefits recipients. Because they improve daily life, promote work-life balance and recognize effort, these solutions have a positive effect on employee motivation and contribute to improving the performance of companies and organizations. Instantly rewarding users with their favourite music, eBooks, audio books, apps, games, software and movies will further deepen their engagement and boost their motivation.
Denis Huré, Co-founder and CEO of the first club™ states, “We look forward to providing Sodexo clients to opportunity to add digital rewards to their incentive programs. We think it will improve the customer’s journey and deepen their engagement with the program by enabling them to access rewards instantly.”
Frederic Woitrin, International Catalogue Manager for Sodexo states, “adding digital rewards to our offer reinforces Sodexo’s capacity to provide attractive gifts to the users of our clients’ incentive and recognition programs worldwide. Digital rewards will add a new, modern user experience to Sodexo’s global capacity to manage worldwide incentive and recognition programs by allowing users to access their reward instantly.”

As more companies turn to digital rewards to reward top employees, the first club™ is privileged to have worked with some of the world’s most prestigious brands. The rewards industry is constantly changing in response to an evolving consumer market, and the first club™ is excited to stay on the cutting edge of instant rewards by adapting to consumer trends.

Fully Responsive Site – now live!

responsive

As mobile browsing grows in popularity among consumers, the first club™ recognised the need for a fully responsive web design on its white label download site, thefirstclub.com. Optimized for browsing on mobile phones, tablets, laptop and desktop screens, the first club™ is ready to meet you where you are.
The new site gives consumers the ability to browse the catalogue of music, games, eBooks, audio books, software, mobile apps, and soon digital magazines from any device with a web browser. Consumers can download digital content to their computers and sync it to their mobile devices. Future releases of the responsive site will include the ability to download content directly to a mobile device. iOS devices will still require content to be downloaded and synced from a computer due to restrictions from Apple preventing any downloads outside of iTunes.

 

Anthony Chambers, head of Development at the first club™, says, “the Responsive Design Project is one we have been working on for a while, and we are excited to see consumers’ reactions to the upgrade. Mobile usage is a growing trend in the consumer technology industry, and we are happy to keep up with consumer needs by implementing the most cutting-edge technology.”

 

the first club™ prides itself on being the first worldwide digital rewards platform on the marketplace. The new responsive site presents clients of the first club™ with the opportunity to convert their digital rewards sites to the responsive format.

 

Denis Huré, CEO of the first club™, says, “We are excited to see our clients eager to adopt the new version of our digital download platform. Responsive Design is a huge upgrade to our mobile browsing experience, and our clients recognize the great value that presents to their customers.”

 

As more companies turn to digital rewards to reward their loyal customers and employees, the first club™ is privileged to have worked with some of the world’s most prestigious brands. The rewards industry is constantly changing to adapt to an evolving consumer market, and the first club™ believes that the coming year will see instant, digital rewards growing in popularity among loyalty, rewards and corporate incentive programs.

 

ALL4ONE Racing Team Back on the Extreme Sailing Series

Paris – 09.24.13 After having taking part for the first time to the Extreme Sailing Series in 2011 in Singapore, ALL4ONE Racing Team is back on the circuit this year, where the team will take the start of the Nice Act from the 3rd till the 6th of October 2013, under the colors of the first club™ by ALL4ONE.

With Jean-Christophe Mourniac (Skipper/Helmsman) leading the team, and with whom Stephane Kandler already chose to work two years ago, the team will be formed of French multihull specialists: Stephane Christidis will be the Mainsail Traveller, Arnaud Jarlegan will trim the headsails, Julien Cressant will be the bowman and Romain Petit will call tactics.
Stephane Christidis and Julien Cressant will also have the advantage of being locals, since Nice is their hometown, and that they know really well the race course of the “Bay of Angels”.

Stephane Kandler, ALL4ONE Racing Team’s CEO: “I am very excited to come back to the Extreme Sailing Series after our first Act in Singapore in 2011. The Series is one of the top professional sailing circuits in the world and it offers a true return on investment to our sponsors. The multihull will be increasingly more prominent in regattas throughout and one example is the America’s Cup. A team such as ALL4ONE must therefore participate in this event, especially considering the great French talent in this type of boats. As it has been the case in previous sailing events where we have successfully participated, such as the America’s Cup, the Louis Vuitton Trophy and the Audi MedCup, with prestigious sponsors (Areva, Audi, Soitec, Geodis, Canal+ or adidas), I put into practice methods inspired in the corporate world to be able to maximize the return for our partners and to improve the sporting performance element.”

Jean-Christophe Mourniac, Skipper: “The Extreme Sailing Series are a very interesting circuit where the sporting level is extremely high and where very well known teams participate. Everyone races on the same boat: the Extreme 40, a very fast multihull. We are lucky enough to be able to sail close to the public and do more than 30 races in each Act. The concept is magical, the organization is highly professional, and so the result is an exceptional circuit.
This will be the second time we participate in the Extreme Sailing Series with Stephane Kandler. The common goal is to perform as best as we can in Nice with the view of entering a boat for the entire 2014 season.”

Two sponsors will support the first club™ by ALL4ONE for this act: the first club™ and ID-PROM:

Denis Huré, the first club™ CEO, Title partner:
“The Extreme Sailing Series is changing the way sailing is seen in the same way the first club is changing the way companies reward their clients around the world. We are very happy “the first club: reward the world” boat will be taking part to this competition in Nice.
Sailing is as much about these unbelievable machines than the people riding them and at “the first club” our team always aims to become first!”

Laurent Terebus, ID-PROM CEO, Official Sponsor:
“As a real estate company, ID PROM carries a dynamic image, modern and completely different from the usual professionals of our business field. It seems to us that Sailing is the best compromise to showcase the values bound to sustainable development, esthetism, fluidity, competitiveness, and Stephane Kandler, who we’ve been following since its challenge in the America’s Cup, gives us the opportunity to communicate on our vision of our business in a different way, and at the international level, by welcoming us on board for his new challenge in Nice.”

the first club™ by ALL4ONE Crew:

Jean-Christophe Mourniac, Skipper/Helmsman, joined the Tornado French Team with his brother Philippe when he was 20; they became Tornado World runner-up in 1995 and in 2000, and they also were the substitutes for the Olympics in Atlanta (1996) and in Sydney (2000). Jean-Christophe started to sail in Formula 18 from there, and finished three times World runner-up (2000, 2001 and 2002). He also sailed in multihull 60 with Alain Gautier, Michel Desjoyeaux and Loick Peyron, in Extreme 40 and in D35 (two last seasons with Alain Gautier, winner of the Vulcain Trophy in 2011). In 2007, he won the Archipelago Raid in Formula 18 (F18 world champion). In 2012 he joined Team Alinghi as tactician in Extreme 40, then in 2013 he won the Route des Princes in MOD70 with Team Gitana.

Stephane Christidis, Mainsail Traveller, (470 European Champion / 49er French Olympic representative in London 2012)

Julien Cressant, Bow, (Multihull sailor / Artemis crew member in the last America’s Cup, Open 60 Multihull Sailor, Team Origin etc.)

Arnaud Jarlegan, Headsail Trimmer, (Nacra 17 Olympic sailor, Winner of the Tour de France à la Voile 2013 with Franck Cammas, Energy Team crew member for the America’s Cup World Series, F18 world champion, Tornado sailor)

Romain Petit, Tactician, (Multihull specialist: Extreme 40, F18)

>Follow ALL4ONE Racing Team on:
www.all4onechallenge.com

>Follow the competition on the Extreme Sailing Series web site:
www.extremesailingseries.com

Mermaids Go All Out for Train Concert!

Train is sharing the spotlight with Gavin DeGraw and The Script this summer on their “Mermaids of Alcatraz” tour. The chart-topping performers of “Hey, Soul Sister” and “Drops of Jupiter” are no stranger to sharing the stage, touring with Mat Kearney & Andy Grammar in 2012 and Maroon 5 & Gavin DeGraw in 2011.

Train performing at Verizon Wireless Ampitheater in Charlotte, NC on July 30, 2013.

The tour stopped in Charlotte, NC at Verizon Wireless Ampitheater on July 30th, greeting a crowd of new and longtime fans, with the most hardcore Train enthusiasts dressed as Mermaids!

Gavin DeGraw opened up the show for his second tour with Train, but first with them as the headliner. He thrilled the crowd, performing songs that made him popular like “I Don’t Wanna Be,” and newer releases like “Best I Ever Had.” He even covered Justin Timberlake’s smash hit of the summer, “Mirrors,” doing an excellent job taking the smooth R&B and matching it to his signature slow rock style. Here’s the full setlist from DeGraw’s portion of the show:

 

Dublin-based band The Script took the stage next, pumping up the crowd with their most popular songs like “Breakeven” and “Hall of Fame.” They also performed a beautiful rendition of “If You Could See Me Now,” a song Danny O’Donoghue wrote about the coping with the passing of his father1. Here is the full setlist from The Script’s portion of the show:

 

Headlining band Train took the stage next, opening with 2003 smash hit “Calling All Angels.” They performed songs from their new album “California 37” and their 2009 hit album “Save Me, Sanfrancisco,” as well as some covers, including “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles. One of the biggest hits of the night, however, came from the second encore song. Released 12 years ago, “Drops of Jupiter” continues to be a crowd favorite.

Fans were in for a big surprise when Ashley Monroe took the stage. Monroe is a country singer and Nashville native, touring with the band to perform their duet song “Bruises.” Another big surprise happened at the Charlotte show: when Pat Monahan, lead vocalist, walked through the crowd of cheering fans while singing sentimental wedding dance favorite “Marry Me,” he stopped at one particular fan and announced, “My man here has a big surprise.” The fan turned to his girlfriend and popped the question while Monahan continued his serenade. Don’t worry…she said yes!

Here is the full setlist from Train’s portion of the show:

 

If the Mermaids of Alcatraz Tour is coming to a venue near you, check it out! In the mean time, download your favorites from their setlists to get ready for the show.

Sources:

  1. [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2183834/The-man-moved-tears-Danny-O-Donoghue-pours-heart-The-Script-s-tragic-losses-went-The-Voice-s-ex.html]

3 Missed Opportunities in Customer Loyalty

by Michael Greenberg

Customer loyalty is an incredibly lucrative opportunity for brands, yet marketers still struggle to maximize their relationships with existing customers even though recent research from Forrester shows that 93% of companies have placed customer experience on their list of strategic priorities, with 28% claiming it as their top priority.

Clearly brands understand the value of each customer, yet there is a disconnect between knowing what customers need and want and the ability to actually deliver in a way that creates an experience that builds long-term loyalty. Recent advances such as runtime modeling, location-based services and the increased use of smartphones as shopping devices have greatly improved marketer’s capabilities to deliver exceptional customer experiences by anticipating customers’ needs in near real time.

Lasting loyalty is built on three basic strategies: acquisition, retention and engagement. Here are three commonly missed opportunities and how brands can best address the needs of an increasingly mobile and connected customer to foster loyal and lucrative relationships.

  1. Acquisition: Connecting on a customer-by-customer basis

    The classic CRM approach of defining segments, setting up automation based on those segments, then watching for certain things to occur and responding is still the right mindset. However, marketers’ models and understanding of non-transactional behavior and the whole context of the customer interaction needs to come into play. It’s no longer good enough to know that someone has bought a particular product in the past. Marketers need to move beyond basic segmentation and start looking at: How do I construct models that I can calculate on the fly? How do I estimate lifetime value or potential? Marketers need to be able to do these things in very short periods of time—in milliseconds as opposed to minutes.

    Marketers have a very short window to change the experience for customers, get the right products in front of them, and show what offers might be relevant to that product. Armed with that knowledge, marketers can change the experience on a customer-by-customer basis, adjusting the product, pricing and offer and content that’s relevant to the individual. For example, if you know enough to predict a high lifetime potential for a customer, you should be much more willing to spend more aggressively to acquire that customer—whether through discounts, human follow-up or differentiated service.

  2. Retention: Nurturing a higher-value relationship

    What are the pathways to higher value relationships? Marketers may be able to identify and correct misallocations of capital around email, direct mail, website, SEM or elsewhere. Yet when a customer is in front of you, engaged right now, how do you best take advantage of that slice of attention you are getting?

    In many cases it’s smarter to think in terms of the longer-term customer relationship, instead of focusing on maximizing the immediate transaction to do a better job meeting your customers’ immediate needs. For example, by waiving shipping charges (which reduces revenue but increases customer satisfaction), extending a reward certificate past the cancel date, or sending your tier two support to handle a Twitter complaint (instead of tier one) for an elite customer. Treating elite customers as average is a missed opportunity. Treat these customers differently to gain their loyalty with an eye on the long term relationship.”

    While operating in this mindset may mean less revenue in the short term, the revenue brought in over the life of the customer relationship can more than make up for it.

  3. Immediate engagement

    Marketers need to think about the same things they’ve been thinking about in marketing for a long time, but frame them in a different way. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about your customer at interaction points.

    We know that 50% to 70% of purchasing decisions are made on the spot, while the customer is standing in a store. So how best can marketers tell when they are there and influence a purchase decision at that very point in time? Mobile applications are getting much better at using geofences to know when a customer is near or inside a location. It’s only a matter of time before customers expect real-time suggestions, coupons, or other notifications during their shopping experience. And when a customer raises their hand and interacts with your mobile app directly, they’re primed to share more information that will let you serve them better, now and down the road.

 
So if you aren’t actively engaging at these kinds of moments, they become a lost opportunity for cross-selling, upselling, targeted offers, surprise and delights, or any of the other small opportunities that may add up to large changes down the road.

The world is changing to a much more mobile and social-centric view; the way customers interact with brands has changed and very few companies are actually keeping up. The shift to mobile has taken a lot of companies by surprise; mobile has gone through early adopters—early majority and late majority—so fast that everyone, including your grandmother and your five-year old nephew, is interacting via mobile.

Learning to steer customers through all of the various small touch points, to guide them from their current value to their potential value as a customer, is an opportunity marketers can’t afford to miss.

Original document from Chief Marketer.

“Loyalty Cards Don’t Drive Loyalty,” so what does?

This post is in response to “Loyalty Cards Don’t Drive Loyalty” by Colin Shaw.

How many loyalty cards do you have in your wallet right now? I just counted the cards on my keyring. I have thirteen. Thirteen! That seems like a preposterous number. I certainly don’t use every card on a regular basis, so what distinguishes the cards that I use from those that sit abandoned on my keyring?

According to Colin Shaw in his post, a loyalty card does not guarantee a customer’s loyalty. A study by The Logic Group reveals that, while 62% of people surveyed belong to a loyalty program, only 23% think it makes them more loyal to a brand. The difference, according to Shaw, is the discrepancy in how customers and brands view a loyalty program. Customers view loyalty cards as an extension of a brand’s offering, not an extra incentive.

As a brand, a “loyalty card” is a program that will create customers that are loyal to your brand – that is, they return again and again over your competitor(s) because they are part of the program. Shaw says this about loyalty cards:

“Loyalty cards are perceived by companies to build loyalty from the customers that use it by providing additional benefits to the possessor while reward cards are meant to incentivize behaviors.”

So what’s the difference? A loyalty card does NOT secure loyalty from a customer to your brand. It does, however, provide a gateway for you to engage with your customers on a consistent basis. Adding a loyalty program is not an automatic fix that will suddenly draw flocks of customers that will stay with your brand forever. It does give new and returning customers a reason to use your service, and provide a window for you to get back in touch with them.

How do customers want to be engaged and rewarded? According to a 2012 study by ICM, 75% of consumers would prefer to receive smaller rewards on an ongoing basis than a chance to win one large prize. Rewarding and engaging customers early in their experience with your program will keep them coming back. Consider offering lower level prizes, like digital rewards, that are quickly attainable and instantly available.

Build and nurture long-term relationships with your customers by offering a loyalty program, but don’t view it as a quick, band-aid fix. Your loyalty program can provide valuable insights into your customers’ needs and will help your serve them better in the future, creating a strong relationship that will keep them coming back for more.

To learn about how we can help you with your loyalty program, contact us!

Read Shaw’s full article here.

No Playing Around: Trends in the Computer and Video Game Industry

Today’s blog post was written by our summer intern, Wassa Suttiwiriya. Wassa is an Economics and Math student at the University of Southern California. 


With the growth of the computer and video game industry, it is no surprise that the sector’s consumer base has diversified and expanded to a great extent. Who are the key players of computer and video games? What types of games do they want? The 2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, authored by the Entertainment Software Association, reveals statistics on consumer demographics and trends.

 

Gamer demographics:

  • Almost 60% of Americans play video games
  • The average age of game players is 30
  • More than half (55%) of game players are female, and women 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (31%) than boys age 17 or younger (19%).

 

The best- selling video games are action, shooter, and sport games, and the best-selling computer games are role-playing, casual, and strategy games. Gamers say the top reasons they purchase a game are the quality of the graphics, an interesting storyline, a sequel to a favourite game, and word of mouth.

 

Digital trends:

  • The average U.S. household owns at least one dedicated game console, PC, or smartphone
  • Gamers are increasingly playing on-the-go with 36% playing on their smartphone and 25% playing on their wireless device
  • Sales in the digital format have increased from 20% to 40% since 2009, while those in physical format have declined respectively

 

The 2013 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry is the most in-depth and targeted survey of its kind, gathering data from more than 2,000 nationally representative households.

 

What People Really Want from a Loyalty Program

Brands, what does your loyalty program offer your customers? And customers, what are you looking for in a loyalty program? According to this study from BizReport, most customers are members of at least one loyalty program. What’s your favorite loyalty program? Does it offer these features? Is it missing something? Tell us in the comments below!

Loyalty programs continue to grow across the globe, especially with younger consumers. New data out from Club Carlson shows loyalty programs are more popular with those under age 65 than those over 65, with grocery stores have the biggest programs.
by Kristina KnightNew loyalty data out from Club Carlson shows exactly what consumers want more of – points and stays. . .and also WiFi. Many believe hotel loyalty programs should include free WiFi, allowing the consumer to skip the pricey daily connection costs.
“Seventy-eight percent of Americans are members of at least one brand loyalty program; and Americans ages 18-64 are much more likely to join compared to those older than 65,” was written in the report. “Grocery stores have the most members, with 50 percent acknowledging their participation in a grocer’s rewards program. This is followed by credit cards offering points, retail stores, and hotels.”
The report also shows:

  • 4 in 5 consumers say they’re interested in hotel loyalty programs but 66% also say it takes 3 or more stays to create a loyalty bond
  • 41% say they’ll cancel a loyalty program after a single disappointing experience
  • 60% say they have more than 1 hotel loyalty program and they ‘shop around’ to find the best deal for any stay

Most (78%) of Americans are members of at least one brand loyalty program. And one more interesting note: many loyalty program members are willing to buy additional points to reach those large rewards. For example, hotel reward program members say they would be willing to pony up some cash for a free night stay when they are close to the free-stay-threshold.

Club Carlson is a global hotel rewards program; their researchers polled more than 1,000 customers between April 24 and May 1, 2013 to come to their conclusions.

Bonnaroo Photo Contest Winners Announced!

We received some awesome submissions for our Bonnaroo 2013 Photo Contest! Thanks to everyone who engaged with us on Instagram and Twitter! We narrowed it down to our top 10 favorite photos from the festival!

Each winner is receiving 20 free ClubCoins for use on thefirstclub.com. If you are a winner, please email us for information on receiving your prize!

Be on the lookout for future contests from the first club™!

Welcome to our inaugural the first club™ newsletter!

Get excited, because the first club™ continues to be a leader in the digital rewards space! Our improved service aims to provide more engaging content and information that is relevant to you updated with the latest digital choices daily. We will bring you news about the latest content, features, and promotions so you can get the digital content you want with your ClubCoins.  Our newsletters will inform you of newly released titles and popular choices of music, mobile phone apps, games, ebooks, audio books and more.

Learn about new features on thefirstclub.com.

Our site is constantly evolving to provide advancements to your digital experience. Here are some upcoming features that you can look forward to.

  • We are continuing to globalize our mobile content to make millions of choices available to you in even more countries.
  • We will be launching digital magazines with 5,000 titles globally next month.

 
Find out how you can win more ClubCoins

We love to reward our customers with ClubCoins that you can use to get your favorite content for free.  Our newsletters will keep you updated on any promotions that we are currently running. To kick off our very first newsletter, we are offering 20 free ClubCoins to the top 20 photo winners of the Bonnaroo 2013 Music Festival photo contest this weekend! Like us on Facebook to enter at www.facebook.com/thefirstclubdotcom or follow us on Twitter @thefirstclubcom!

Going to Bonnaroo 2013? Win free ClubCoins!

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, TN is “4 of the best days ever,” according to their website. 80,000 fans camping on 700 acres of land in the middle of Tennessee to see some of their favorite artists perform live. This year boasts 150 performances, with headliners like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers.

Bonnaroo

This will be my first Bonnaroo experience, and I’m excited to share it with you!

If you are going to the festival, we have a super exciting opportunity for you to WIN FREE CLUB COINS for use on thefirstclub.com!

Just send us your pictures of the festival. Tweet them to us (@thefirstclubcom) and include #Bonnaroo. Our favorite submission will be featured in my post-Roo blog post, and the person who submitted it will win 20 FREE ClubCoins! We’ll pick a top three to also be featured in the blog post.

Submit your photos via Twitter by Tuesday, June 18th at 9am EST to be considered. Winners will be selected and announced on Friday, June 21st.  Make your photos stand out! Include a witty caption, helpful tip, or anything to show off your Roo-knowledge.

“4 of the best days ever. 80,000 happy campers. 700 Acres of Tennessee Nature. 150 epic performances. 10+ stages of music. Several dozen comedians. An escape into Excitement. Music. Art. Discoveries. Trees. Fresh Air. Green Grass. A mini film fest. Friends (Old / New). Adventure. Overwhelming happiness. Hugging a stranger by accident. Sharing and Generosity. Bonnaroovian Dancing. Hyperbolic verbiage. System overload. The perfect bite of ice cream. Sandals. Fallovers. Chirping Birds. Flashing Lights. Food and Drink. Variety. Singing. Laughing. Short shorts. High-Fives. Rocky IV in the cinema tent at 3am. Spicy Pie. Memories. Someone dressed up like Teen Wolf. Holy Cow(!) Moments. Interesting factoids. Egg sandwiches. More music. Adventure. Deep Breaths. Big smiles. This. That. The Other. Hellos and Goodbyes and reminders of all that we have to celebrate and look forward to next year and in the future.”

-Festival description from Bonnaroo.com

Any tips for a novice Bonnaroovian? Comment below or tweet to me @thefirstclubcom. And check out my lineup…let me know if there’s anyone I missed! If you can’t make it to the festival, live vicariously through me by following my tweets, and download music from some of the artists. Here’s a list of Bonnaroo artists featured in our catalog.

Book Review: “Dad is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan

As a huge fan of comedian Jim Gaffigan, I was really looking forward to the release of his first book, Dad is Fat. Gaffigan details the joys and perils of raising his five (yes, FIVE) children, or as he describes them: beautiful, pale creatures.

Gaffigan’s children at the time of book print range in age from infant to 8-years-old. The title for his book, Dad is Fat, originated from a sentence scrawled in messy, childish handwriting on a miniature whiteboard by one of his sons: “Dad is fat.” A keen observation from one of the pale creatures. Anyone who has had the distinct pleasure of listening to or watching Gaffigan’s standup routine is probably familiar with his affinity for Cinnabon, cake, pie, bacon, and food in general.

One of Gaffigan’s trademarks as a comedian is the ability to laugh at himself, breaking the fourth wall by using a higher-pitched voice to simulate an audience member’s thoughts. “He’s a pale fella!” Gaffigan opens his book using italicized text to emulate that tactic, increasing his likability by poking fun at himself. “He doesn’t even seem like he’s read a book before! Well, maybe a cookbook.”

The book goes on to detail the trials and triumphs of raising 5 small children in a 2-bedroom New York City apartment with his wife, Jeanie. While Gaffigan makes fun of his parenting ability – “He has virtually no training, skills or instincts on how to play this role,” he says of himself – the stories shared make it clear that Gaffigan is indeed an excellent father, and Jeanie is a phenomenal mother. Their children, Marre (8), Jack (6), Katie (3), Michael (1), and Patrick (newborn), keep mom and dad on their toes. As Gaffigan puts it, “failing and laughing at your own shortcomings are the hallmarks of a sane parent.”

If you’re interested in a funny, light read, I highly recommend Dad is Fat. Fans of Gaffigan’s standup will be interested to read backstories behind some of his popular bits, such as his explanation of why he and Jeanie chose home birth – “just to make you uncomfortable.” Readers new to Gaffigan’s work will likely catch the bug – check out his standup too! Follow Jim (@jimgaffigan) and Jeannie (@jeanniegaffigan) on Twitter. Follow us too (@thefirstclubcom) and let us know what you think of the book!

Download an eBook version of Dad is Fat from thefirstclub.com

Download standup albums Mr. Universe, King Baby, and Doin’ My Time from thefirstclub.com

Consumers Want Loyalty (Rewards)

What kind of rewards does your loyalty program offer? Consumers are enrolled in an average of 7.4 loyalty or rewards programs, but according to Maritz, they actively participate in just 4.7% of them. How are you engaging your customers to make your program part of that 4.7%?

Instant rewards, such as digital downloads of music, eBooks, software, etc., are on the rise in consumer popularity and increase redemption by offering low-level rewards. Learn more about how we can help your loyalty program engage customers with our fully customizable digital rewards platform here.

Article below originally from Direct Marketing News.

U.S. consumers have a desire for more loyalty cards in their wallets—even though they use only half of the programs they’re enrolled in now, according to the newly released study: “Maritz Loyalty Report™: U.S. Edition,” which examines brand loyalty across six different industries.More than seven in 10 of the 6,000 surveyed consumers said they had room for additional loyalty programs, even though the currently participate in an average of only 4.7 percent of the 7.4 programs in which they are enrolled, according to Bob Macdonald, president and CEO of Maritz Loyalty Marketing.

Only 35 percent of respondents were active in all of the programs in which they were enrolled, while 47 percent stopped participating in one or more programs in the past year. This high percentage of drop offs illustrates the importance of keeping customers engaged in loyalty programs, says Scott Robinson, Maritz Loyalty Marketing senior director of loyalty consulting. “Sixty-seven percent will modify where and when they buy and half will change brands depending on a loyalty program’s benefits.”

So, it’s essential that marketers recognize what will engage customers in a program and what will cause them to actively leave the program or to passively quit using it, Robinson notes. “Marketers can’t afford to outspend each other,” he says. “They can’t rely on enrollment discounts to maintain engagement. They need to focus on creating an experience.”

For example, loyalty programs should offer special experiences such as free upgrades, preferred seating, and similar benefits designed to meet customers’ desires and go beyond simple discounting, according to Macdonald.

The report’s best programs in this regard, based on customer satisfaction scores, were:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards, (84 percent) financial services
  • Kroger Rewards (83 percent), grocery
  • Carmike Cinemas Rewards (79 percent), entertainment
  • Kohl’s Rewards (73 percent), retail
  • IHG Priority Club Rewards (67 percent), hospitality
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards (58 percent), airlines

Beyond an engaging program, other essential elements of a successful loyalty program focus on communications and balancing those communications with the customers’ desire for privacy, Robinson notes. Ninety-four percent of those surveyed said they want to receive communications from loyalty programs, but only 53 percent said that the communications that they receive are relevant. A program’s delivery of relevant communications is closely tied to participant satisfaction, according to Robinson, citing the marketing axiom of the right message needing to be delivered to the right customer at the right time. Using the right channel and the right context are equally important.

Loyalty program participants are open to more frequent communications as long as they’re relevant, Robinson adds, pointing to the study’s findings that only 12 percent of loyalty program participants say they get too many messages. But one member’s communication frequency and channel preferences may be far different from another’s, so marketers need to pay close attention to those differences and recognize that preferences change. Consequently, marketers need to stay abreast of individual customers’ communication preferences.

Similarly, to be effective, loyalty marketers need to determine the amount of personal information that a customer is comfortable with sharing and with the company using. Some customers like the idea of a company using previous purchases to make offers, while other consumers find this “creepy and weird,” Robinson says, adding that Maritz has developed a “cool to creepy” index for loyalty program communications.

What do you think? Share and comment below!

7 Customer Loyalty Programs That Actually Add Value

by Kendal Peiguss.

According to Inc.it costs a business about 5-10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one — and on average those current customers of yours spend 67% more than a new one. So, what are you doing to keep your customers coming back to your business? If you’re like 65% of marketers, your company has implemented a loyalty program. But is it working? According to the 2011 Colloquy Customer Loyalty Census, of the $48 billion worth of perceived value in reward points and miles distributed by American businesses annually, one-third goes unredeemed by consumers. Companies lose money on time and effort, and customers get no more value from the businesses to which they are “loyal.”

So how do you keep your business out of that one-third segment? How do you convey enough additional value in your programs to keep your customers coming back? It’s time for marketers to look beyond convoluted rewards systems and offer actual value to customers using their loyalty program. To get you started, here are some ideas for customer loyalty programs that might work for your business.

7 Customer Loyalty Program Ideas for Your Business

1) Use a Simple Points System

This is the most common loyalty program methodology. Frequent customers earn points, which translate into some type of reward. Whether it’s a discount, a freebie, or special customer treatment, customers work toward a certain amount of points to redeem their reward. Where many companies falter in this method, however, is making the relationship between points and tangible rewards complex and confusing. Fourteen points equals one dollar, and twenty dollars earns 50% off your next purchase in April! That’s not rewarding, that’s a headache. If you opt for a points-based loyalty program, keep the conversions simple and intuitive.

One example of a company using a points-based loyalty program well is Boloco. They speak the language of their audience by measuring points in dollars, and rewards in food items. Customers swipe their stylish Boloco card at every purchase and the card tracks the amount of money spent. Every $50 spent earns the customer a free item. Doesn’t matter if they choose a super jumbo burrito or an extra small smoothie – it’s free after $50. This is an example of a company simplifying points with an accessible customer reward system.

Although a points system is perhaps the most common form of loyalty programs, it isn’t applicable to all business types — this type of loyalty program is most appropriate for businesses that encourage frequent, short-term purchases.

2) Use a Tier System to Reward Initial Loyalty and Encourage More Purchases

Finding a balance between attainable and desirable rewards is a challenge for most companies designing loyalty programs. One way to combat this is to implement a tiered system. Offer small rewards as a base offering for being a part of the program, and encourage repeat customers by increasing the value of the rewards as the customer moves up the loyalty ladder. This helps solve the problem of members forgetting about their points and never redeeming them because the time between purchase and gratification is too long.

Virgin Airlines’ Flying Club inducts members at the Club Red tier, then bumps them up through Club Silver and Club Gold. Club Red members earn miles on flights and get discounts on rental cars and hotels. Club Silver members earn 50% more points on flights, expedited check-in, and priority stand-by seating. Club Gold members get double miles, priority boarding, and access to exclusive clubhouses where they can grab a drink or get a massage before their flight. The key is to offer benefits in the early stages to hook the customer into coming back. Once they do, they’ll realize that “gold” status isn’t unattainable, and offers really cool benefits.

The difference between points and tiered systems is that customers extract short-term versus long-term value from the loyalty program. You may find tiered programs work better for high commitment, higher price-point businesses like airlines, hospitality businesses, or insurance companies.

3) Charge an Upfront Fee for VIP Benefits

Loyalty programs are meant to break down barriers between customers and your business — are we seriously telling you to charge them a fee? In some circumstances, a one-time (or annual) fee that lets customers bypass common purchase blockers is actually quite beneficial for business and customer alike. By identifying the factors that may cause customers to leave, you can customize a fee-based loyalty program to address those specific barriers.

In 2011, eCommerce shopping cart abandonment hit a record high of 72%, and is still rising. This abandonment is often caused by “sticker shock” after tax and shipping prices have been applied. ECommerce giant Amazon found a way to combat this issue in their loyalty program called Prime. For $79 annually, Prime users get free 2-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum purchase, among other benefits.

This program is innovative because it charges loyal customers while providing enough in return for those frequent shoppers to realize the benefits. Analysts estimate that Amazon actually loses about $11 annually for each Prime subscriber, but makes up for it in increased transaction frequency that would not have otherwise happened without their exclusive benefits.

Clearly this system is most applicable to businesses that thrive on frequent, repeat purchases. For an upfront fee, your customers are relieved of inconveniences that could impede future purchases. Amazon has mastered this for eCommerce, but this loyalty program model also has potential to work for B2B businesses who deliver products to businesses on a regular basis.

4) Structure Non-Monetary Programs Around Your Customer’s Values

Really understanding your customer means understanding their values and sense of worth. And depending on your industry, your customers may find more value in non-monetary or discounted rewards. Every company can offer promotional coupons and discount codes, but businesses that can provide value to the customer in ways other than dollars and cents have an opportunity to really connect with their audience.

Patagonia, an eco-friendly outdoor apparel company, realized that their customer needed more than just points and discounts from a loyalty program. Late last year, the company implemented its Common Threads Initiative. In it, they partnered with eBay to help customers to resell their highly-durable Patagonia clothing online through the company website.

This program builds on their brand of sustainability and creating a high-quality product, and it matches perfectly with the company’s customer persona by providing a value that they really care about. So before implementing a loyalty program of this nature, be sure you’ve researched and designed an in-depth customer persona!

5) Partner With Another Company to Provide All-Inclusive Offers

Strategic partnerships for customer loyalty, also known as coalition programs, can be extremely effective for customer retention and company growth. Again, fully understanding your customers every-day lives and their purchase process will help determine which company is a good fit as a partner.

American Express has a huge partner base with companies across the country. Their recentTwitter Sync campaign rewards customers for tweeting about them by syncing discounts and deals with Twitter #hashtags. According to Visibli.com, cardholders have redeemed over $2,000,000 in rewards. Participating companies that are benefitting from their coalition with Amex include Whole Foods, Staples, and Zappos.

For example, if you’re a dog food company, partner with a veterinary office or pet grooming facility to offer co-branded deals for mutual benefits for your company and your customer. The target audience obviously owns a dog, so any services that dog will require offer added value from your company. Providing customers with value beyond even what your company can offer will show that you understand them, and grows your network to reach your partners’ customers, as well.

6) Make a Game Out of It

Who doesn’t love a good game, right? Turning your loyalty program into a game is a fun way to encourage repeat customers and, depending on the type of game you choose, help solidify your brand’s image.

GrubHub, an online food ordering and delivery website, started Yummy Rummy late last year. Once customers place three unique orders through GrubHub, regardless of price, they get to play a game for a chance of winning free stuff. Players choose one of four cards and have a 25% chance of winning a free dessert, drink, gift card or other cool stuff.

It’s important that customers understand you’re not duping them out of rewards, though. The odds should be no lower than 25% and the purchase requirements to play should be attainable. This type of loyalty program has potential to backfire if customers feel like your company’s jerking them around to win business. Executed properly, however, this type of program could work for almost any type of company, even an off-the-beaten-path B2B company. If your audience enjoys having a little fun and purchases frequently, this type of program can make the buying process fun and engaging.

7) Scratch the ‘Program’ Completely

Considering how many marketers are offering loyalty programs (whether they are effective or not is another story), one innovative idea is to nix the idea all-together. Build loyalty by providing first-time users awesome benefits, hooking them, and offering those benefits with every purchase.

The concept sounds simple, but one of the most innovative companies on the planet implements this strategy: Apple. Even the most loyal Apple customers don’t get special rewards or discounts … because they don’t offer them to anybody. Apple “enchants” customers by delighting them with a product or service the first time. The loyalty is voluntary and long-lasting, according to Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki. Apple has plenty of supporters, both online and off, ready and willing to rave about their product. For them, loyalty happen organically.

This minimalist approach works best for companies whose products or services are unlike any other. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you offer the lowest price, or the best quality, or most convenience — I’m talking about redefining a category. If, like Apple, your company is pioneering a new product or service, a loyalty program may not be necessary. Customers will be loyal because there are few other options as spectacular as you, and you have communicated that value from your first interaction.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Loyalty Program

As with any initiative you implement, there needs to be a way to measure your marketing success. Customer loyalty programs should increase customer happiness and retention; and there are ways to measure these things besides in rainbows and sunshine. A lot of ways, actually. Different companies and programs call for different analytics, but here are a few of the most common metrics companies watch when rolling out loyalty programs.

Customer Retention Rate: This metric is an indication of how long customers stay with you. With a successful loyalty program, this number should increase over time as the number of loyalty program members grows. Run an A/B test against program members and non-program customers to determine the overall effectiveness of the loyalty initiative. According to Fred Reichheld, author of the Loyalty Effecta 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-100% increase in profit for your company.

Negative Churn: Churn is the rate at which customers leave your company; negative churn, therefore, is a measurement of customers who do the opposite — upgrade, or purchase additional services. These help to offset the natural churn that goes on in most businesses. Depending on the nature of your business and loyalty program, especially if you opt for a tiered loyalty program, this is an important metric to track.

Net Promoter Score: NPS is a customer satisfaction metric that measures, on a scale of 1-10, the degree to which people would recommend your company to others.

NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors (customers who would not recommend your product) from percentage of promoters (customers who would recommend you). The fewer detractors, the better. Improving your net promoter score is one way to establish benchmarks, measure customer loyalty over time, and calculate the effects of your loyalty program. A great NPS score is over 70% — your loyalty program can help get you there!

Customer Effort Score: CES asks customers, “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to solve a problem with the company?” Some companies are vying for this metric over NPS because it measures actual experience rather than the emotional delight of the customer. A Harvard Business Review study found that 48% of customers who had negative experiences with a company told 10 or more people. In this way, customer service impacts both customer acquisition and customer retention. If your loyalty program addresses customer service issues, like expedited requests, personal contacts, or free shipping, this may be one way to measure its success.

Low-level redemption is certainly a great way to retain your initial customers! Learn more about how we can help with that by implementing our fully customizable digital rewards platform into your loyalty program.

What do you think? Does your loyalty program utilize any of these strategies? Leave us a comment below!

Original document from Hubspot.

IHG commits to free internet for all loyalty members worldwide; renaming Priority Club Rewards to IHG Rewards Club

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has announced that it will be providing free internet to all its 71m loyalty program members, worldwide. The announcement comes as IHG reveals the results of a global online survey which show that nearly half of adults (43%) would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for internet.

IHG will offer free internet in all hotels to all loyalty program members, globally – whether they stay the night or come in for a coffee or an impromptu meeting. It will benefit millions of guests globally as IHG has the most rooms and is in more countries than any one of the other four largest hotel companies in the world. This will start from July 2013 for Elite members and extend to all members during 2014.

The move comes as IHG announces that it will be enhancing and renaming its industry-leading loyalty program Priority Club Rewards as IHG Rewards Club in July and introducing a range of new benefits for members.

Internet access is increasingly important to hotel guests and a key consideration when planning their hotel stays. New research commissioned by IHG reveals that:

  • 43% of adults surveyed said that they would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for internet.
  • 23% of respondents said that free internet in rooms and throughout the hotel is the most important amenity when staying in a hotel for business, compared to 7% who chose room service.
  • Travellers from China placed the most importance on online connectivity – with nearly half (47%) listing it as the most important thing to them when staying in a hotel for business, followed by those from Russia (26%), the US (23%) and India (22%).
  • Travellers from the UK (18%) and the US (14%) both listed paying for internet as the second most annoying thing when staying at a hotel after noisy guests (22% and 24% respectively).
  • Globally, more female respondents (14%) say free internet throughout the hotel is most important to them when staying for leisure, compared to 2% who listed having an in-room hairdryer.

From July, new benefits will include:

  • free internet to all Elite status members from July 2013 and extending to all members during 2014;
  • the ability to earn Elite status faster by staying in three or more of IHG’s hotel brands;
  • Reward Nights will count toward earning Elite status; and
  • Platinum Elite members’ “extra” nights will roll over toward maintaining their status in their next membership year

Original document from Colloquy.

Capital One Survey Reveals Rewards Redemption on Rise; also offering Purchase Eraser

This “Black Friday,” the traditional prime holiday shopping day, nearly half of rewards card holders are not planning to hit stores or online retailers according to the latest Capital One Rewards Barometer, a quarterly survey among American consumers that focuses on how they accumulate and redeem credit card rewards. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean holiday shopping budgets are down as more than half of rewards card holders’ (58 percent) budgets remain the same as last year and 14 percent are planning to spend more this year. Credit card rewards can help supplement these holiday budgets, yet only 18 percent are taking advantage of redeeming rewards for gifts.

More than one-third of respondents said the economy has changed how they use rewards, especially women with 23 percent reporting that they now use rewards to offset essential expenses like gas and groceries. Further, this holiday season, more women plan on spending less than the prior year in comparison to men (24 percent vs. 18 percent). Thinking ahead to post-holiday shopping bills, men and women are on the same page with one-quarter planning to use their cash rewards earned from holiday shopping as a credit on their statement to offset holiday expenses.

The hustle and bustle of holiday travel is the ideal time to take advantage of rewards, but more than a quarter of those who tried to redeem rewards for travel were unable to do so with blackout dates to blame. With 24 percent of respondents still undecided as to whether they’ll plan to travel this holiday season, these blackout dates as well as rewards restrictions may prevent their last minute travel. In fact, more than half would consider traveling during peak holiday periods (e.g. within 1-2 days of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years), if guaranteed to be able to use rewards for their trip. Interestingly, nearly 80 percent of respondents haven’t even tried to redeem for holiday travel this year, with many saying that they thought it was too much of a hassle (28 percent) or they didn’t have enough time to plan (29 percent).

Additional trends stemming from the Rewards Barometer this quarter include:

  • Since 2011, the top three credit card rewards have been cash, gift cards and domestic airline tickets.
  • Since the spring of 2012, 40 percent of rewards card holders consistently reported they prefer a simple rewards card offering the same rate across all purchases.
  • Approximately one-third of consumers remain unaware if they are charged a fee or additional expenses when using rewards to book travel.
  • Over the last year, approximately half of rewards card holders remain unaware that they may be charged foreign transaction fees for purchases made while traveling abroad.
  • Capital One is also reminding cardholders that they can Book Now, Redeem Later. Customers can retroactively redeem rewards online and on your Smartphone within 90 days of your travel purchase with Purchase Eraser.

More about Purchase Eraser here:

Original document from The Wise Marketer.