Another month, another theme here at 360Connext! This time, we’re pointing our Customer Experience Investigation™ magnifying glasses on the challenges and successes that come with loyalty rewards.

What does it really take to be rewarded for loyalty?

Customers used to feel special with a punch card – buy 10 drinks, get your 11th free! Then our wallets filled up with punch cards that didn’t really mean much at all. Then we attached mini plastic cards to our key rings and scanned wherever we could. We made sure to scan for our discounts, but our wallets filled up again. There wasn’t much differentiation.

Loyalty Rewards

And we flew the same airline because it had the best loyalty program. But then they all had about the same, so we fly whatever.

Only 31% of American customers thought their loyalty program communications were relevant to them, according to a report from Colloquy, and that was in 2011. I would be most of us don’t put much stock in many loyalty program communications.

Customers still want to be rewarded for loyalty, but how?

And what if you are in the middle of tightening your budget belt? Is it impossible to reward loyal customers in meaningful ways?

Loyalty is fleeting. Customers say they want rewards, but a punch card won’t cut it any more. We need to think about what’s next.

And then there are employees.

We’ve discussed here how customer experience is directly related to the employee experience, but individuals switch careers more than ever before. In fact, most people now switch jobs more than 11 times in their career, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The corporate loyalty of the past is not only fleeting, it’s pretty much extinct. Employees want to receive meaningful rewards for their loyalty, too. A turkey at Thankgsiving is nice, but time off might be better. How do you know how to reward your best employees when they might leave you anyway?

What’s even scarier, in my humble opinion, is the idea of how many employees are truly disengaged. A recent Gallup study showed a full 70% felt disengaged at work. Disengaged workers do not equal loyal employees.

Loyalty rewards

Loyalty is funny.

We know we want loyal customers and employees, but we often don’t know when that loyalty is threatened. We’re surprised when customers disappear and employees leave us. If you aren’t plugged in to what really matters to your customers and employees, you might as well hold the exit door open for them.

So what does rewarding loyalty look like today?

What’s effective? What’s annoying? What’s meaningless or meaningful? Are we destined to give up on loyalty? Join us as we examine rewards in August. We’ll be talking about this here on the blog, in our CXI G+ Community, our FB page, and Twitter. Surely you’ll be rewarded by contributing to the discussion! (See what I did there?) ;-)

What else are we up to this month? How about a…

Microinteraction of the Month Contest!

This month we want to feature a microinteraction from one of you! We’ll feature them all on our social networks but at the end of the month, one person will prevail, and receive a print edition of Jay Baer’s YOUtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help not Hype.

Youtility

WIN ME!

There are two steps:

1. Capture a mind blowing moment. It can be annoying, absolutely divine, hilarious or exasperating. Microinteraction wins or fails could happen in real life or online.

2. Share however is best for you:

Submissions will be accepted until August 28th and the winner will be revealed on our Microinteration of the Month blog August 30th.

Image Credits: Nick J Webb, KrysiaB via Creative Commons