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Execution Essential for Successful Loyalty Programs

Debora Haskel

IWCO Direct has been working with customers on loyalty programs for a long time, so I admit I may be more aware than many consumers about some basic loyalty program practices.

Last Monday I received two envelopes from a credit card company with whom I have both a MasterCard and a Visa account. Both were #10 envelopes. Both were addressed to me. One was a window envelope and had been sent using Standard Mail®. The other had a mailing label and was sent via First-Class Mail® using a postage meter. The address label really caught my attention so I opened that first.

The First Envelope (Mailing Label)

Inside was a letter addressed “Dear Customer.” The two paragraph letter thanked me for my business and was signed by a senior vice president. A $10 Macy’s gift card fell out of the envelope. This was fulfillment from an earlier offer, which I will call “the first offer.”

The Second Envelope (Window)

The second envelope had a letter addressed “Dear Debora Haskel” from the same senior vice president. It offered a complimentary $5 gift card to Macy’s, Starbucks, or Target and required me to go online or call to redeem the offer. The small print said my chosen gift card would arrive in 8-10 weeks – the same amount of time it took to receive fulfillment for the first offer.

I know it was pure coincidence that the letters arrived the same day; however, four thoughts immediately came to mind:

  1. Dear Customer? This is a loyalty program, and you couldn’t figure out how to put my name on the letter?
  2. Why is my business now worth only $5 when it was worth $10 just a couple of months before?
  3. Now that I think about it, when I responded to the first offer, I did not select Macy’s. I regularly receive loyalty discount cards from Macy’s, so I chose Target. (I’m a diehard Dunkin Donuts coffee drinker and avoid Starbucks unless it’s the only thing available.)
  4. You put an address label on an envelope, enclosed a generic letter and the wrong card, and that took 8-10 weeks to process?

One of the most important things we’ve learned about successful loyalty programs is that flawless back-end fulfillment is critically important. We learned this first-hand when we handled the re-credentialing of all 11.8 million Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines frequent flyers.

Offering a gift card was a great concept, but the execution was lacking. However, everyone deserves a second chance so I responded to the $5 offer and made a note of the date I responded. I’ll be watching my mailbox and will report back when my gift card arrives. Fingers crossed that the letter is personalized and something on the letter clearly indicates which gift card is supposed to be enclosed – and that it’s the one in the envelope.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2012/12/05/successful-loyalty-programs/
Debora Haskel


Debora Haskel

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