Loyalty programs have been in the spotlight lately. In the past, companies treated their rewards programs as an afterthought, offering one-dimensional rewards, communicating with members via a single channel, and failing to collect data from these valuable pools teeming with information about customers' needs and values.
That's all changing.
Game-changers like social, mobile, location-based technologies, and gaming mechanics are providing businesses with the ability to help elevate their loyalty programs to interactive devices in which to communicate with and motivate customers, cull ideas, increase engagement, and create brand advocates.
Daily deal sites and a coupon-obsessed economy are placing added pressures on companies to satisfy and retain customers' business. As a result, a growing number of organizations are now viewing their loyalty programs as a critical element in the customer journey, a component that has been ignored for so long...until now.
In today's article, "Interactive Loyalty Programs Cultivate Loyalty," some companies like BalticMiles, for example, are leveraging member feedback to even redesign the structure of their loyalty programs. The airline recently implemented a crowdsourcing platform that allows members to directly impact future partners and promotions based on personal preference. For the first 20 ideas to reach 100 "likes," members will receive 5,000 reward points. The top three contributed ideas, as selected by BalticMiles, will be awarded 100,000 points each, equaling 23 free flights. Winners will be able to redeem these points for travel and rewards catalog items within a three-year time period.
Course Hero is another company that is getting creative with how it engenders customer loyalty throughout its customers' entire customer journey. The provider of online study documents, leverages interactive mechanisms to actively engages its customers and build greater loyalty. Course Hero also awards points and badges throughout the students' learning as they complete chapters and courses. For instance, when students contribute 10 documents to Course Hero's ever-growing learning tool library, they will receive a surfer-themed "Hang 10" badge that they can then share with friends via Facebook and Twitter.
BalticMiles and Course Hero prove that customer loyalty is moving beyond points, discounts, miles, and rewards; effective loyalty programs now rely on the technologies and interactions that help foster a deeper level of engagement with customers.