Loyalty Programs Actually Provide Inconvenience

How many can relate to the following thought process below:

Hooray! You just got 100 points for that purchase at Best Buy!

Wait, you’re telling me I need how many points to redeem for an actual ‘reward’? 

2,500?! So I need to spend $2,500 to officially be appreciated as a customer? What kind of BS loyalty program is this? 

Ok, fine. What kind of reward do I get after spending $2,500? An mp3 player? A camera? 

A $10 gift certificate?!?! This is Best Buy, you know, an electronics store, where over 90% of the items available for purchase are over $10. So you’re saying unless I buy a couple of sodas, the reward I get for being in your ‘loyalty program’ (aka spend $2,500) is a $10 off coupon? 

So can anyone else relate? Not only with the Best Buy ‘rewards program’, but so-called rewards programs from all companies, and all industries. Let me ask you, does a $10 coupon entice one to spend $2,500 at Best Buy?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

The point I’m getting at is the value that most, if not all loyalty programs are lacking. Ironically, more and more of these things are being introduced by big name brands everyday.

My food for thought, if you’re going to implement a setup such as this, don’t bother creating one. This way, when you evaluate all business aspects in 5 years, and realize that the atrocious implemented loyalty program hasn’t brought in more sales, you won’t bother me in store, or online asking why I haven’t enrolled in the program, or what rewards would you potentially like to see.

It’s your business, you implemented a setup that is not true customer appreciation; it’s a form of PR to make yourselves look good, and because that horrendous PR hasn’t panned out, you’re asking customers why? Really?

That’s like asking why don’t I shop at the store 60 miles away. Ummm… Because it’s 60 miles away, and it seems quite counterproductive. Same idea, spend ‘X’ (a ridiculous high amount), and we’ll give you ‘Y’ (an amount that won’t actually be enough for anything, but you can use it to spend more money here).

I’ll refrain from picking on Best Buy for a moment, as they aren’t the only ones with these rewards programs that always seem to be more of a nuisance than actual benefit. One of the most ridiculous loyalty programs I have ever witnessed would have to be AT&T’s ‘Thanks’ program (essentially another BS rewards program that does nothing).

Me being an AT&T wireless customer, I have had the privilege of reviewing how AT&T plans to ‘thank’ customers. Unlike Best Buy, where the numbers might be slightly exaggerated, this program setup is 100% real (and yes I felt the need to make that point).

First, there are no points, or point system in place. It’s basically AT&T deciding if you are an important enough customer to receive one of three tiers (Blue, Gold, Platinum). AT&T does explain how one qualifies for each tier, but it’s basically kept very generic. Instead of a well thought out system that actually tallies & tracks the money customers pay, they essentially just say, ‘you have this service? Ok, blue tier,’ or ‘you have three of our services? Ok, platinum tier.’ Ok, but what if my one service costs more than someone’s three services? Doesn’t matter. This is an example of some of the laziest planning I’ve ever seen from any reputable corporate brand.

You ready for the rewards? (Again, these are real)…

If you log into your AT&T ‘Thanks’ app (yes, it’s a separate application that is required to download rather than claim through the AT&T mobile app) on a Friday at precisely 12pm, you are given THE CHANCE to win tickets to ‘an event’. What event? Great question. It doesn’t say, it says win a chance to score tickets to an event. Now, interestingly enough, at first it implied a concert, but it recently shifted to imply a sporting event, but again, it vaguely clarifies.

A boatload of coupons & discounts to products/services most people probably don’t use. No free trials, just discounts & coupons. Here are a few examples:

  1. 20 % off Corner Bakery Cafe- Has anyone seen one of these in their lifetime to confirm it actually exists?
  2. A $5 pizza at Blaze Pizza- Once again, can anyone confirm this place exists?
  3. $25 off a meal at Texas de Brazil- Never seen one, I imagine it’s because I, and most of the country don’t live in Texas.
  4. $4.95 for an audible subscription, for three months. After that, you’re paying the full $14.95 per month. – Like, you couldn’t even give us the first three months free? Even a month? No? Ok, then no thank you, keep your ‘reward’.
  5. Here’s a place that can actually be found by the general population, a special discount at Olive Garden for $14.95 an entree. This one is sadly, one of the more useful ‘rewards’ for customers.
  6. This one is probably my absolute favorite, and by that I mean, I literally laugh at it; an extra movie ticket free of charge at participating theaters. The catch? It has to be on a Tuesday.- Wow! We all know how many movies we go see on a Tuesday night!

There are a few other coupons and subscription offers, all relevant to the ‘rewards’ listed above.

True customer appreciation, AT&T; ‘thanks’. Now, you want to know what kind of ‘thanks’ I as a customer would like to see?

How about an actual point system that tracks dollars spent in a given time frame. So this way, you can offer things that customers will actually be appreciative, perhaps a phone case, a month subscription to DirecTV Now, a free subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket, or how about a right to have an upgrade/activation fee waived.

Of those suggested rewards, other than a phone case, zero dollars come out of AT&T’s pocket.

These are things customers would appreciate, not movie tickets on Tuesdays.

So on that note, I can only hope some important executive from AT&T finds this post, and ultimately realizes how this lazy setup is not a way to thank customers, and adjusts to a few of the suggestions I listed above.

As for the rest of the loyalty programs out there, making customers spend top dollar only to offer in what some could argue is pennies to you is not a way to increase sales. So please don’t ask me why I wont take the ten minutes to sign up for the ‘Target Yippidy-Doo-Da Rewards’ program as I check out.

 

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