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Loyalty in the digital age has to be fast and upfront

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Leaving your cardholders in a rewards lull gives competitors the perfect opportunity to swoop in and capture loyalty — and spend.

Customers are often thinking about loyalty programs when they’re shopping for a credit card, but a majority of consumers are unaware of the offers, rewards and benefits they earn, according to a recent Mastercard study.

But there are steps you can take to keep your customers from churning, and it all starts with creating awareness of the value of loyalty programs. The same study found that less than half of consumers are happy with communications related to their rewards programs. So, by better understanding customer needs and educating them about the value your program offers, you can increase engagement, drive spend and get more from your loyalty program investment.
Consumers are constantly bombarded by messages and offers that don’t speak to them. To keep your cardholders engaged, you have to understand their needs first. With more data available than ever before, you can send the most relevant messages and offers to the right customer segments at the right times.

One of the easiest ways to keep things relevant is to include information about point balances, expiration notices and past purchases in your communications. You’ll want to include loyalty program messaging in everything from email to text messages to product pages and checkout screens. Then, be sure to consistently monitor and measure performance. That way, you can see which messages consumers are engaging with the most — and least — and adjust accordingly.

Data-driven insights are invaluable when it comes to personalization, and it’s important to dive deeper and ask yourself, “Do I really understand what’s motivating my customers to spend across each channel?” With advanced analytics support, you can determine whether you’re reading the right trends in your data and gain clarity on what’s working and what isn’t.

More than 75% of cardholders prefer digital redemption and card-linked offers over paper coupons or plastic cards. By applying earned discounts digitally at the point of sale (POS) rather than making consumers wait until future purchases, you can immediately demonstrate program value and entice those customers to continue purchasing.

A digital-first loyalty and rewards program can take it one step further with a notification from a card-linked app or email message was triggered to inform the cardholder of their new points balance. These interactions are a prime opportunity to communicate the value of loyalty programs. In fact, the survey shows that 69% of consumers would redeem rewards at the point of sale if given the chance.

Today’s customers demand seamless experiences. They want simple loyalty solutions without the clutter of tracking their rewards and coupons. Since customers are always on the move, incorporating mobile into your strategy is essential. But there’s a catch. Only 22% of consumers find rewards program apps very useful. Make sure your program stands out by allowing consumers to check point balances or redeem rewards directly from their device. If your customers are really on the move and traveling internationally, giving them the ability to redeem points abroad means your card will be top of wallet no matter where they are.

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