The Fourth Industrial Revolution has transformed customer expectations, putting pressure on brands to evolve their offerings. Photo: File

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has transformed customer expectations, putting pressure on brands to evolve their offerings.

Loyalty programmes are by no means exempt. Clients are seeking fairness, flexibility and an offering that has lasting benefits, as well as aspects of instant gratification. They’re looking for a solution that deepens gamification and transcends it.

Francois Uys, the head of digital, marketing and communications at Sanlam Reality, outlines some of the top trends for the loyalty space in 2019 and 2020.

1. The “democratisation of loyalty”. Customers increasingly desire authenticity and recognition of their individual needs regardless of their assets. Younger customers, in particular, would like to be rewarded in equal measures. This means some loyalty programmes are moving away from the traditional “tier” systems to provide all members with equal access to the same rewards opportunities. The net result? People appreciate the fairness and feel more valued across the board.

2. Turn a “bad behaviour” on its head. Loyalty programmes can play a pivotal role in changing financial behaviour through persistent micro-empowerment.

For example, over-spending is seen as a negative behaviour, but commercialism encourages spending more than saving. If you add a loyalty credit card - such as the Sanlam Money Saver Credit Card - that enables you to save every time you spend, you’re encouraging micro-savings behaviour that makes better money management top of mind. This should help make saving a habit.

3. Strong brands are expected to unlock extra value for customers. If a loyalty programme is committed to improving the financial well-being of its members then it should be prepared to give back. Loyalty members are loyal to schemes that are loyal to them.

For example, for every 2.5percent of your Sanlam Money Saver credit card spend that you save, Sanlam will save 2.5percent on your behalf. This is effectively a 100 percent return. This is contrary to the usual reality of loyalty credit cards, where 80 percent of members get back less than 1 percent.

4. People are seeking something more from loyalty programmes. A smoothie doesn’t necessarily always cut it; people want deeper, longer-term benefits, including financial empowerment, plus the usual instant-happiness inducers. It’s about instant gratification that leads to longer-term benefits.

Innovations that remove barriers to desired financial behaviours by making savings simple and top of mind will go a long way in winning customer loyalty. 

PERSONAL FINANCE