Thursday, May 29, 2008

Show Me The Plastic!

I've been intrigued by the passion in issuing plastics to customers, to mark their entry into Loyalty Programmes. I must confess that I've got over 23 loyalty plastics at last count and have discarded all of them!

Yup...all of them, and yet remain fairly loyal to some brands...allow me to elaborate...

My airline allows web check in and allows me to select my seat and even incorporate my frequent flier number, ensuring that I get my due points. My preferred retailer for apparel, requests my mobile number and allows me to earn points on all my transactions. The restaurant that I frequent, quite strongly believes that my presence suffices to avail of the discounts privy to their loyalty members, and need not flash my glorious card for all around to see and drool over.

Hence why are millions of dollars invested into the issuance of plastics, which several customers forget to carry, or even worse...have forgotten about them altogether!

The loyalty card obviously "reinforces the brand imagery, the proposition and the urge to avail of the benefits with every exposure in the wallet". In some cases, customer authentication is facilitated by the loyalty card, but not in the most foolproof manner, and in other cases, the change in colour of the plastic with every upgrade massages the customer ego (and so we believe)

If the loyalty plastic were truly such a miraculous tool, then we would perhaps have more customer research showing that customers get emotionally charged on their prized possessions, of which I've yet to come across.

Hence, are we issuing plastic more out of habit? Perhaps...Yes in several cases.

There is quite clearly an opportunity and need to revisit this fundamental tenet. I would bet on the mobile and the humble fingerprint as the gateways to access the world of benefits that you seek to offer your customers.

They're always with you, and you're not likely to "leave home without them"

Hence do strongly evaluate service offerings such as Pay by Touch which leverage the fingerprint and you might just see your activation and active rates drastically go up.

The cost savings could perhaps be channelised towards reinforcement of your core proposition.......

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