What does customer loyalty look like outside of the United States? How are companies around the world addressing the evolving challenges of customer retention? And what can US loyalty marketers learn from their global counterparts?
Welcome to our Global Loyalty Series! Seeking to find those answers, I recently posed questions to loyalty experts in our Maritz Motivation Global Partner Network, challenging them to offer insights unique to their regions around the world.
First up, I connect with Michael Lausenmeyer, Managing Director of Boost Loyalty Europe.
Michael is experienced in CRM & loyalty consulting, OMNI-Channel Marketing, and international project management and offers significant experience from the worlds of retail, manufacturing, media, pharmaceutical, travel, finance, energy industries.
Michael, what are some of the key challenges and opportunities companies in Europe are facing when it comes to retaining loyalty program members?
One challenge is how to make members redeem their points and how to keep them active in the programs. It is not so much that people quit the program, they even collect points, but they do not get involved enough to redeem points. There’s also the question of what to entice the members with. There is a tendency to focus on the short-term effect of monetary rewards, which only fuels the need for additional and higher discount measures and is therefore hardly sustainable.
We see great opportunity in digital solutions. Seamless collecting and redeeming of points via a personal device for one, but also engaging customers in new and different ways with new communication technology. Customers are much more inclined in sharing data when they get something in return. Also, rewarding engagement has to be much more part of loyalty in the future. This personalized yet automated communication and attention to the individual customer is the key to activating them profitably.
What cultural changes are you seeing in Europe that are affecting customer loyalty?
In many European Countries there will be a further shift towards the use of individual handheld devices and even better coverage and faster connections. Brand and loyalty programs will be competing even more intensely for a place on the first screen of smartphones. There will be a shift in demographic with the Boomers retiring and a new generation of shoppers moving up. For them, monetary rewards are still relevant, but that is simply not enough to get close to the consumer of the future. New technologies and new loyalty concepts will be influenced by and will in return influence shopping and loyalty behavior.
How are European government regulations influencing loyalty strategies?
Changes in data regulations might have impact on the way personal data must be handled in the near future. There will be an optimization in Europe starting end of May. I cannot imagine there being less transparency in the future, but I would guess there will be many more security regulations that need to be met when handling customers’ data.
What’s your best piece of advice for loyalty marketers?
Stop doing loyalty like it was done ten years ago and don't be led by personal preference. Adapt your programs and measures to your customer of the future not the current one.
Who do you see doing a great job at driving loyalty or consumer engagement?
I am member of several programs, but mainly trade or airlines. I really like the mechanism of Cookie Clicker though, because in my opinion, in its simple way this website applies pointers from behavioral science very effectively.
Finally, what is your wish-list for an ideal loyalty program for European consumers? What would this program look like for participants?
- Relevant Service and information
- Seamless applicability
- Transparency in data use
- Rewards for my time and contribution not just money spent
- Impeccable technical set up and design
- This program would put the participant first, giving them a reason to be part of the program.
About Our Maritz Motivation Global Partners
Maritz Motivation partners with top loyalty practitioners worldwide as part of our Global Strategic Partner Network. Carefully vetted, trained in Maritz Motivation’s solutions and in regular communication with our solution leaders, our Strategic Partners bring geographic market-specific expertise to our global clients.