Many strong brands have loyalty programs and place a great deal of emphasis on getting them right. However, one often over-looked aspect of loyalty programs is the insight that can be gathered through customer interaction.
In a recent article author Don Peppers highlighted five important 'best practices' for loyalty programs. The first best practice mentioned was insight: 'never waste an opportunity to gain insight about a customer'. Peppers highlights direct survey-type opportunities, as well as insight uncovered from observing the customer selection process, particularly when program alternatives are available.
Through our online communities we have found additional benefits to focusing on insight within brand programs. Customers value being asked to provide their opinions and ideas. They also like the feedback and recognition they receive within the brand community. The relationship can be further strengthened when brands communicate with consumers as to how the member feedback is utilized and implemented to deliver better products and services. Creating this kind of relationship can even eclipse more 'hard benefits' (such as goods or discounts) in terms of importance to the customer.