How to Revamp Your Customer Loyalty Program


Whether you’re a business owner or a consumer, you’re likely well-aware of modern-day customer loyalty programs, and probably already belong to several programs. Today, nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults report being a member of at least three rewards programs, proving their importance in our current e-commerce world.  

But it’s easy enough to compel customers to join a program, getting them to participate is another. This is where many customer loyalty programs are currently falling short. Why? Because offering discounts is not the same as offering value. Customer loyalty is a fickle beast, and occasionally lobbing a discount in their direction or giving an annual free birthday drink isn’t going to turn them into a lifetime customer. 

Successful customer loyalty programs are those that nurture customers to change their shopping behavior by offering multiple opportunities for hyper-personalized brand engagement. By emphasizing touchpoints that build brand affinity and customer satisfaction, the absolute best loyalty programs have made memorable customer experiences the core of their value proposition. 

As the loyalty landscape continues to mature, many brands have started assessing their program to ensure they’re responding to these types of customer demands and making changes accordingly. While change is not uncommon, your active members are likely to be the most sensitive and vocal. Before making any major decisions, it’s critical to take a hard look at your program from your customers’ point of view to understand their behavior—what elements they’ve grown to love and what they might be able to live without, and especially where you can surprise and delight them with new avenues to receive personalized service and more entertaining engagement.  

5 Ways to Communicate a Loyalty Program Change 

True loyalty is the outcome of a two-way relationship, and like any relationship, communication is key. During your communication planning process, account for these four straightforward (but fundamental) strategies to ensure a successful program transition: 

1. Make Changes for Your Customers  

Remember, the reasons why you’re making changes to your Customer Loyalty program in the first place is to increase the loyalty of your customers by giving them a unique, engaging experience that compensates their loyalty with exclusive offers, rewards, and entertaining experiences that keep them dialed into your brand. Therefore, you want to ensure the changes you make will be valuable edits that will increase that engagement. Conducting customer research first to understand what they like and don’t like about the program will help you plan out what changes will be worthwhile. This will ensure that you are redesigning the program to meet both your brand’s needs and those of your customers. 

2. Inform: Let Your Members Know 

Members want transparency and simplicity from their loyalty programs. Consider using teaser communications to plant the seed that changes are coming, but don’t overuse them. Rather, communicate changes clearly and consistently throughout the transition to help mitigate negative consumer perception. By leveraging your current communications channels, you can reach your members with the right information at the right time. 

As you plan to inform your members, don’t forget another key audience that needs information: your employees. Ensure your new loyalty program is set up for success by taking adequate time to train your employees. It’s especially important for frontline employees such as sales associates and call center representatives to be armed with FAQs and rationale, so they can reinforce your marketing messaging and be prepared to answer questions. 

3. Educate and Communicate 

Early engagement is key to helping members feel at ease and excited about the new program. Develop an early launch education email to demonstrate to your members that your new (and hopefully, enhanced) program embodies their best interests. And while a special, limited-time offer might be your hero message, be consistent with your core value proposition. Educate members about the benefits, earn structure, rewards, and extras. Don’t assume your members caught everything the first time. 

4. Reassure Your Best Customers 

By identifying and proactively reaching out to your high-value members separately, you can make them feel appreciated before, during, and after the transition. 

High-value members can include top spenders, frequent buyers, influencers on social media, and those who provide positive product or service reviews. Acknowledge your VIPs and reassure them with the specific benefits, rewards, or experiences to get them engaging with the new program. High-value members rely on your brand to buy their favorite products or services. Show them you care and that they aren’t just another number. 

5. Robust Rewards Are Key 

The changes to your loyalty program shouldn’t just be a restructure for the sake of boosting your ROI but should instead be focused primarily on solving customer pain points, needs, and wants. Of course, rewarding them for making purchases with point acquisition is a major part of just about every loyalty program, but go above and beyond by finding new ways to show your appreciation. Consider providing product recommendations via your customer loyalty program or ask monthly polls that allow you to get to know your customers better so you can offer them more customized services and products. Gamification is also a major perk for modern customers and letting them turn their points into changes to win instant prizes or discounts is a surefire way to increase engagement in a revised customer loyalty program. 


Before you press the restart button on your loyalty program, establish a plan to inform, educate, reassure, and reward your members and employees. According to Forrester, it costs five times more to acquire new customers than to retain existing customer relationships. Losing loyal members during a program change is an extremely costly—yet avoidable—outcome. And when you truly deliver on your brand’s promises and values, especially during times of change, you can build trust instead of breaking it. 

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