How to drive higher levels of engagement from your loyalty program participants?

 by Dr David Cox, CEO, Motivforce

One of the growing challenges facing all loyalty practitioners is how to drive higher levels of engagement. Traditional methods such as bonus points and bespoke communications, whilst still effective, are losing their impact, particularly when competitor loyalty programs are also engaging in these tactics. Recent research undertaken by Motivforce’s R&D department, involving attitudinal and quantitative performance analysis, has revealed a number of tactics that are proving very effective in driving participant engagement.  Our top three are as follows:

1.      Learning

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Building learning tasks into a loyalty program is more effective than any other type of communication medium in driving behavioral change. Learning can range from a simple ‘question of the week’ or brief quiz, to comprehensive e-learning modules.  The process of seeking the solution to a question and providing an answer stimulates the participant far more than traditional one-way or bi-directional communication tactics. Furthermore, there is a direct positive correlation between those who have completed a quiz or learning task and sales efficacy. Indeed, our data for client programs such as Lenovo LEAP reveals those participants who had taken a learning task outsold those who had not, by a factor of 2:1.

2.      Gamification

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We have been using digital games in our programs since 2006, particularly to encourage learning activities. When programme participants undertake a learning task they typically reach saturation point after seven minutes and learning becomes more laborious. By infusing a quick interactive game, module completions and pass rates increase significantly. The science is that reading and digesting material is confined to the left side of the brain, whereas hand and eye coordination tasks switch on the right side of the brain, thus refreshing pathways for the left-brain. The result is faster and more effective retention of learning material. For example, we introduced a digital Soccer Penalty Shoot game into a technical module within our Know Your IBM program.  Each question answered correctly gave the participant a shot at the goal. The result was the highest completion of a single module for IBM (by an additional 80,000) plus the highest pass rate.

3.      Social loyalty

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The ability for program members to network, share stories and leave feedback has become one of the most effective soft benefits of a loyalty program. In client B2B loyalty programs where we have introduced chat rooms, advisory boards and peer rating of products and learning modules, we have seen high levels of active participation, and lower program churn rates. This has been proved by comparing results with participants in the same program in another region (and between programs in the same industry sector) where social loyalty tools are yet to be introduced.

To conclude: offering bonus points and sending personalized emails is no longer enough; it’s time to think outside the box and consider alternative tactics that will motivate participants to stay engaged with your loyalty program.

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