Each phase of a business’s loyalty program has its own particular challenges, whether you’re starting out, well underway or have an established program. But to know what to do next, you need to see where you’re winning and where you’re failing in the loyalty marketing game.

So the first step is to see how you measure up against other programs at your level. That’s why we came up with the CCG loyalty marketing self-assessment, a free, 5 minute self-quiz that grades loyalty marketing programs and gives detailed advice on how to better engage — and keep — customers.

For some marketers, taking the test is the first time they have really tested their efforts in detail against the competition.

Middle of the Pack

Many loyalty marketers come to us when they find themselves in the “middle of the pack” – they’ve been at this for 3-4 years and their program has now reached a level of maturity. Most of the operational kinks have been worked out. But while they want more, they are also starting to see issues. Here is some of the advice we offer them.

1. Keep Energy High

One thing to think about at this stage is to make sure your customer-facing associates stay motivated to present the program, as there can be a slowdown of enthusiasm out in the field after an initial launch. It might be time to introduce a contest that rewards top stores. You should also ensure that associate training continues to be offered and is updated, since it is likely that many of your associates today were not around when the program was first launched.

2. Percentage of Transactions

If you answered that your loyalty transactions are 26% – 50% of your total store transactions —– and you are closer to the 50% end of the range, you are right on track. If you are closer to the 26% end of the range, you may need to reevaluate the program value proposition and benefits to ensure they are relevant and enticing to your customers.

If loyalty transactions are 51% – 75% of your total store transactions, that’s right where you should be at this stage. If you are closer to the 75% end of the range, you are approaching Best in Class for the age of your program.

3. Who’s Winning?

If 0 – 20% of your members earn the program’s primary reward within a 12-month period, members may find your program too restrictive and, as a result, are disengaging out of frustration. But if more than 50% of your members earn the program’s primary reward within 12 months — unless the cost of your primary reward is fairly low — you may be on your way to a negative return on investment for your loyalty program. You may need to transition to a different, lower-cost primary benefit or incorporate a high perceived value (but low cost) soft benefit.

4. Positive Reinforcement

Keep reinforcing to customers that if they do X (e.g., spend $200) they will get Y (earn a $10 reward and receive invitations to members-only sales events). Whenever feasible, include customers’ account status (e.g., you have 195 points, you are only 5 points away from earning your next reward!)

5. Reach Out and Touch Them

You may want to consider what additional customer-facing communications — such as FSIs, promotional emails and social media — you can use to incorporate at least a simple description of the program.

6. Follow the $

Many retailers report that the top 25% of their customers represent around 70% of total sales —– that’s a lot of revenue tied to a comparatively small group of customers. Do you have a strategy in place to recognize your best customers? It’s often a reliable route to increase sales and retention.

Is your loyalty program best in class or merely so-so? How does it stack up to other retail loyalty programs? Discover strategies and steps to build loyalty specifically for your business and boost the bottom line; Take the CCG Loyalty Marketing Self-Assessment Here.