From Milestones to Moments in Loyalty
Too often today's loyalty marketing programmes are consumed with the tangible metrics associated with their various milestones, with programme operators focusing too much on targets for member enrolment, transactions, spending, member web site log-ins, and a myriad of other engagement measures, according to Mike Capizzi, managing director of loyalty consultancy Marketing Strategists and US contributing editor for The Wise Marketer.
While there is no debating the significance of such milestones in terms of the projected business outcome associated with the loyalty initiative, there may be something missing. At Loyalty 360's recent Loyalty Marketing Expo Matt Stein, VP of Customer Experience for loyalty service provider Kobie Marketing, suggested that today's programmes must evolve beyond milestones to reflect "moments". In Stein's presentation he outlined the significance of specific customer experience moments where the member intersected with the programme in an emotional crossroads that had the ability to forever change the course of the loyalty outcome.
Stein's perspective centred around three types of moments that loyalty marketers must recognise. During "Everyday Moments", where the member and the programme have their typical interaction, the programme must not take the experience for granted. Simple processes like enrolment, transactions and web site visits, along with many others, are often uncrafted by the programme's operators and left to the whims of happenstance.
While "everyday" moments are most often measured against their milestones, the underlying emotions and feelings of the member can be easily ignored, thus creating the potential for significant disappoint by the member's themselves. During "Moments of Truth," where the member carries a specific expectation of programme performance into the customer experience, the programme's response becomes critical.
Knowing such moments, understanding what the member believes should happen and measuring the outcome against expectations, even when they are borderline in terms of realism, helps the programme define its personality, orchestrate the relevant response and build a foundation for customer loyalty that endures. Redemption events are just one of the many "moments of truth" where member expectations can derail the loyalty programme experience.
During "Defining Moments," those rational and emotional, head and heart connections between the programme and the member, the opportunity to deliver a truly "wow" experience is the only milestone that matters. At these precise moments, members who feel a sense of how important the programme thinks they are or feel reassured that the programme helps them get their money's worth will most likely be members who advocate, testify and promote on the programme's behalf.
Many moments are controlled by the brand and its programme; others can be influenced by outside forces and events beyond the brand's control. But the ability to manufacture moments exists for all loyalty programmes. By carefully understanding the consumer experience and the corresponding emotion or rationality that the experience carries for the member, any programme operator can plan, execute and measure real-time, relevant engagement moments that can have a huge impact on programme performance.
Stein offered several examples during his presentation that characterized the programme's ability to influence the hierarchy of consumer choice and make moments rewarding for both the member and the programme's milestones.
As loyalty marketers we can often see what customers are doing and juxtapose the findings to programme milestones over time. We may even have a sense of what they are thinking. But we often fail to recognise or investigate the impact of what they are feeling. By taking such an approach in our design, execution and analysis of the loyalty programme, we may just be able to evolve the loyalty marketing discipline - one moment at a time.