The overwhelming majority (88%) of consumers belong to five or less loyalty programs. But 65% of them say they engage with less than half the loyalty programs to which they belong. While executives attribute this lack of use to competing loyalty programs, continued use of physical cards, and a lack of understanding the best contact strategy for individual members, consumers have different gripes. SMS messages are being severely underused for loyalty programs.
The 2018 Mobile Loyalty Survey discovered that consumer frustrations include:
- My rewards expired before I could use them (31%)
- Don’t know when I have rewards available (23%)
- Carrying the card (14% – execs were right about this one)
- It’s hard to access my rewards information (13%)
Loyalty programs appear to be out of sight, therefore out of mind for many consumers. The effort they must expend to use loyalty programs is just too high. Your customers need information and reminders to engage with loyalty programs—and with your brand.
But don’t make them log into a website or download an app. They don’t like those options much either. What they really want is to easily access their rewards from their smartphones. Rather than forcing them to pull their rewards data to them, make them happy by pushing information to them on their mobile devices.
In fact, 75% of consumers said they’d be likely to increase participation in a loyalty program if they could access it easily from their smartphone. The top answer when asked their preferred method for accessing rewards program information is via a link in a text message. That’s 25% higher than those who said through a mobile app.
Their top two communications preferences for loyalty program information are emails and text messages. It’s time to add messaging as a channel to drive participation and engagement for your loyalty programs.
Build Your Contact Strategy with SMS Messages for Loyalty Programs
Given that text messaging is in demand by loyalty program members, it’s time to get started building an effective contact strategy. Follow these steps and you’ll be quickly on your way to better customer engagement.
Identify Customers Who Prefer Text:
When your customers sign up for your loyalty program, offer them a selection of communication channels to choose from. With an intelligent messaging platform, when they check the box for text messaging, their record will be timestamped and updated with their consent, ensuring your contact strategy meets compliance regulations.
You can also email them with an offer to opt-in to text message updates for their loyalty rewards information by texting a keyword to your short code or text-enabled number. Or post a keyword and short code on your loyalty program page to encourage them to pro-actively opt-in for messaging. As when choosing preferences, their record in your CRM will be updated to allow you to text them.
Create Your Message Strategy:
Determine which information should be sent within a text message and when inserting a link to loyalty program information is the better option.
Information within SMS messages could include:
- Welcome text to new loyalty program members
- Monthly notification of their rewards status
- Confirmation as they earn more points or rewards or reach a new tier
- Notice of upcoming reward expiration dates with prompts to use them
- Keyword surveys to gauge affinity toward a specific feature of your program
SMS messages with links could include:
- Notice of their monthly rewards statement with a link to view
- New rewards they may be interested in with a link to more information
- Note that you could send an MMS with a picture or embedded video
- Updated terms and conditions with a link to the policy web page
- Confirmation of a reward redemption with a link to track their order
These messages can all be created in templates and automated via data changes in your CRM that triggers the send. Additionally, should they call customer service for help in redeeming rewards, your agent can easily send a 1:1 text confirming the conversation.
All messages sent or received will be logged in the customer’s record in your CRM or Service desk giving you a complete conversational history to help you understand how members are using your loyalty program, as well as to glean ideas for optimizing its ability to increase customer lifetime value (CLV).
Consider Blending Channels to Increase Engagement:
Since email and text messaging are the two most preferred channels for loyalty program engagement, blending their use can be a boon for participation.
Let’s say you send an email with details of their monthly status in the program. A few days later you see that a percentage of your members haven’t opened the email. Pull a list of those customers and send them a message that suggests they check their email to see their rewards standing.
Because SMS messages have a nearly perfect open and read rate, this approach can keep your loyalty program emails from languishing in your customers’ inboxes.
Give Your Loyalty Program Members What They Want
Simple text messaging platforms, like Converse, make using text messaging for loyalty marketing and engagement simple and effective. As interest in messaging continues to grow with consumers, you don’t want to be left behind. Our preconfigured Apps will also make adding a messaging contact strategy a slam dunk by taking away the need for coding and development.
It’s never been easier to use SMS messages to build better relationships and program participation.