on April 14, 2021 Loyalty

Tips To Motivate Loyalty Members To The Next Program Tier

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Ongoing customer engagement is what gives life to loyalty programs. Whether you're running an existing loyalty program or about to launch one for the first time, one of your key goals should be to drive ongoing customer engagement and participation. Without it, your program won't be successful. 

If you have a tiered loyalty program (which you really should), one of the easiest ways to measure customer engagement is by tracking how many customers progress upwards through your program tiers and how often. 

Why Tier-Level Progression Is Important

The rate of tier progression is one method for understanding if and how your customers are participating in your program. Customers typically advance to the next tier when they take the right actions to earn points or complete other qualification criteria -- specific amount of spend, number of purchases or referrals, or completing certain items like missions or tasks. All of these actions are the right type of program engagement you want to see.

However if you start to see a bottleneck happening in your tier levels - where members are sitting at one tier and not advancing as regularly to the next - you should take a look into what might be causing those stalls.  It could affect program performance or revenue depending on what tier level customers are sitting at:

  • If it’s a mid-to-higher level tier with regular activity, you don't necessarily have a lot to worry about. Not every customer can achieve the very top VIP tiers (which is why they're VIP) so seeing lower numbers of members achieve this tier is normal. 
  • If it’s a low-to-mid level tier, there's a risk of program abandonment. This shows the majority of your customers are sitting right at the same level as when they first enrolled, meaning they haven't been actively participating in your program. 

What Affects Program Participation?

If a high percentage of your program members are sitting at your lowest tier, that doesn't always indicate that they're lackluster customers or not fans of your brand and products. There could be other reasons impacting their ability to engage in your program:

  • Your user experience could be confusing or difficult to navigate
  • Your earning rules could be too strict or require customers to jump through too many hoops 
  • Your rewards options might be too limited or unappealing 

There are a number of different factors that could be affecting how members participate in your program, so it's important to review these types of key areas. Your loyalty program could have the most unique bells and whistles on Earth but if customers aren't actively participating, then something is wrong. 


Tips For Driving Customer Engagement

Understand what got customers to advance through tiers in the past

The first thing you should do is go back to your program data. Take a look at long-time or top customers across every level of your program:

  • Did they move up a tier after a special promotion, date, anniversary, etc?
  • Was their tier-progress steady or did it jump as a result of a big bonus?

Also evaluate the customer segments you'd ideally like to advance:

  • How have they reacted to special promotions, deals, new benefits, etc. in the past?
  •  Does their participation drop during certain time periods or seasons of the year?
  • Are they particularly engaged on certain brand channels - social media, email newsletter, etc.?

Communicate With Program Members

Communication is key for loyalty programs. Getting feedback and opinions from your main audience base will help show what parts of your program customers enjoy, what parts they don’t like, and what they wish the program had. This can help you figure out methods for enticing customers to take actions to move to the next tier. 

      • Surveys
      • Questionnaires
      • Interviews

Another tactic is to ensure your customers and program members have easy access to see the different perks and benefits to each tier level. Make sure this information is easy to find; it should be available not only on your loyalty program site, but across your brand's website and ecommerce channels. You should also ensure that your loyalty program (and program perks) are represented in some fashion across customer touch points such as email marketing, receipts, and order confirmations. 

Offer A Quick Win 

If you’re seeing that some customers just aren’t taking the typical actions to stay engaged, you might try tossing them a quick win like one of these listed below:

  • A limited-time discount code
  • Free reward
  • Special earning bonus opportunity

These types of incentives can jolt some life back into stagnant customers like a jolt of electricity to the heart. It helps get their attention and gives you an opportunity to remind them of their loyalty program benefits and perks. 

Utilize Your Member Community & Superfans/VIPs

Loyalty program communities are extremely beneficial for growing and maintaining a successful loyalty program. A member community offers ways for program members to meet and interact, share favorite products, and provide suggestions or ideas. The collective community can also act as word-of-mouth advertising and help motivate lack-luster program members into participating in your program more.

You can especially help garner interest in your program by giving your VIPs places to shine. Your VIP level program members are some of your best and most loyal customers.  By publicly recognizing them (with their permission of course), you're not only showing your appreciation of their patronage but also helping your wider audiences to see the possibilities and benefits that come with being a VIP.  There are different methods and channels you can use to recognize your VIP program members: on your brand website, social media posts, marketing communications, newsletter, etc. You can feature one VIP member a season or tie VIP member recognition into specific brand events, milestones, or even holidays. 

    • Be sure to highlight the specialized VIP rewards and benefits that make program participation & spend worth it