A pandemic allows companies to take stock of their loyalty programs—making sure they’re being loyal to their consumers during stressful times.
In the loyalty business, companies provide the best value they can in exchange for earning the loyalty of consumers. They enlist their employees to deliver on the loyalty value promise and establish systems and processes to enable the value delivery. The payoff? Customers who stick around--even when service breaks or other threats to the value promise arise.
In this time of great uncertainty, companies must double down on efforts to demonstrate that the Company is loyal to the consumer, not the other way around. Companies are already struggling to remain relevant in this moment—with many in required shutdown mode, unless you provide essential goods and services, your business is likely at the bottom of your consumers’ priority list right now. But you can keep the self-quarantined consumers “company” while we work through this crisis, in order to demonstrate your loyalty to them.
First, recognize that 2020 will be about reassuring and supporting the consumers—the members of your programs. Reassure them that their equity (i.e. points) and their status will not change because of something they have no control over. This will reassure them that you have their back. Support them by addressing their immediate needs through demonstrating that you will be there when they are ready to begin doing business again.
Second, temporarily remove red tape that creates friction, minor or major, for the member. We see this demonstrated often with the elimination of cancellation penalties. However, this can also be about purchase incentives through previously unallowable channels and partners. There are many other opportunities to consider as well. The key is to look at and challenge the assumptions around each of the consumer touch points within your organization. This will demonstrate that you are looking out for their best interests and working to make their distanced time easier.
Finally, provide stronger than ever incentives to come on back when the time is right. There will be pent-up demand when the economy fully opens back up. Companies that make consumer interaction easiest and most worthwhile will benefit twice—first by affirming past loyalty decisions, and then by creating a fresh wave of loyalty. Ensure that your company is the first one that consumers want to engage with as they begin to unlock their doors and wallets and get back out there.
This is a time for companies to be loyal to consumers. In return, and when allowed to, consumers will return their loyalty to those companies that protected them during these uncertain and unprecedented times.