"I want it all..."
Those famous lyrics from a decades-old Queen song are as relevant now as they were then, and even more so for our beloved customers when it comes to Loyalty Rewards and Benefits.
Instant Gratification. Immediate Rewards.
Two things that technology has allowed the Loyalty industry to implement by using Real-Time, or near Real-Time technology. It's pretty cool. I love technology and what it can do.
However, what impact has technology had on the consumer and their expectations in a Loyalty and Engagement environment?
"...and I want it now"
Let's look at the 2nd half of that line of the song first.
Every technology provider, from Facebook to Apple to every Instant Messaging Platform to your Bank, has trained the consumer to expect results immediately. Whether that is an answer on Google, a Bank Transfer or for your message has been marked as 'read'.
There is no escaping or hiding behind a false wall, if you are not operating a real-time environment for your program, you very well should be. There is a risk to your business and program if you don't embrace it very soon.
"I want it all...."
The February 2019 Loyalty Barometer Report by HelloWorld shows a telling story. Loyalty is typically a 'Give to Get' relationship, in that the consumer will receive something of value (the 'Get') in return for their patronage (the 'Give'). So spend $100, get 100 points. Earn 1,000 points to get a toaster or a voucher, in rudimentary terms.
As programs are as old as the ages, the consumer is well aware of how it works.
Therefore to see the words 'Free' and 'Discount' rank so highly is telling of the expectations we have today. And let's also not forget that we Loyalty and Engagement Practitioners are also consumers ourselves, so it's us too.
"Discounts, offers, and free products are the top reasons consumers participate in loyalty programs."
"A loyalty program’s value proposition needs to include elements of discounts or free products to drive ongoing participation, but surprises and other benefits should be used as differentiators that drive emotional loyalty and true brand connection."
"From a rewards perspective, consumers similarly enjoy free products, discounts/offers, and free samples or services best. It’s also important to note that 41% of consumers like chances to win prizes, and 32% love to receive surprises from the brand."
HelloWorld 2019 Loyalty Barometer Report
Rewards Perspective for the Asian Market
Many of these statistics and reports are USA based, though there is a degree of trickle-down theory in action. While these insights are great to understand and view, we also need to place our local spin. Here is Loyalty Asia's take on a real-life example:
Most Singaporeans and foreign residents have multiple credit cards. It's a fact of life. I signed up for one credit card at a large international bank Singapore and received 1x Rewards Visa, 1x Rewards MasterCard, and 1x MRT Visa Card. I only wanted the one. So I'm guessing the average Singaporean resident would have an average of about 4-5 credit cards.
If you wander around Boat Quay in Singapore, or anywhere with a concentration of eateries, you will see the multitude of offers for credit cards. A mixture of the bank, card type, and processor, with Amex thrown in for good measure. If I had a dollar for each time I saw someone open their wallet and ask which is the card to give them the best discount, right now, I would be delighted. Credit card loyalty is hard in Singapore, and suggest the term 'front of wallet' is a pipe dream for many FSI Loyalty Marketers.
Vivid conducted Qualitative Loyalty Research via focus groups on behalf of a client in Kuala Lumpur across a broad demographic range. When asked for their preferred type of reward, from a diverse array of options, consistent number one, with daylight to second place, was cash. The cry of "Forget the points, give me the cash so I can get what I want" was consistent across every group.
To take it further, I posed an additional question:
"If I could give you, as a reward, 100 MYR right now, or 150 MYR next week as a reward, what would you choose?".
They answered 100% for the former, 0% for the latter.
Let me say that again.
100% of the people in the focus group, when offered 50% more of a specific reward, would take a smaller amount to receive the benefit immediately, than wait one week more for an additional 50%.
That is crazy and financially irresponsible, but also fascinating.
Give me the best deal you can. Right now. Tomorrow is too late.
How do you manage your Member Base when it comes to Rewards?
One word. Diversity.
Your Members are diverse, and your Reward options should also be. Diverse in the sense that is practical for your organisation, and following the mantra of 'High Perceived Value, Low Cost to the Business' where you can.
But most importantly, they wanted it yesterday.
Though, if you are really leveraging your data and understanding your members, you would know that already.