Combating loyalty fatigue – how banks and credit unions can gain, retain and entertain customers through dynamic loyalty

Smartphones are now just part and parcel of everyday life. We use apps to check if our flight is delayed, to book a taxi or a table at a restaurant and many of us use them to check our bank balance or make a payment. With 229 million smartphones in the hands of US consumers, and each of us checking them on average 52 times a day, it’s no wonder more businesses are tapping into this goldmine of customer engagements by offering new mobile-based services.

Traditional banks and credit unions, too, want to take advantage of this momentum with their own mobile apps – but there are challenges. To have a positive impact on the day-to-day lives of its users, banking apps need to aim as high as possible and meet the expectations of a more tech-savvy audience.

A different approach – payments are all part of the shopping experience

This means going beyond simply letting customers view their balance or monitor transactions – apps offer banks and credit unions the opportunity to be much more engaging and create meaningful interactions that improve the customer experience. Customers are looking for new and exciting ways to bank, shop and pay. So as a first step, banks need to reflect a real understanding of this.

To get a better idea of what people want from their banking provider’s app, we need to first understand how they shop. A shopping experience that satisfies the needs of convenience, choice and personalization makes people return. This is something retailers were quick to realize. Providing rewards, personalized offers and discounts all incentivize consumers and drive transactions – but is this a model that banks can adopt?

Tried, tested and tired – the demise of static offers

In the retail sphere, competing for shopper loyalty with promotions is a tried and tested tactic. Tried and tired, that is. For too long, loyalty programs have been provided via point cards, coupons and vouchers – and these methods are not without their problems. How many times have you lost the little piece of paper you collect coffee stamps on? How many hours have you lost searching for coupons that are relevant to you? And how often have they expired without warning?

Paper is becoming outdated on all fronts of communication and having to log onto a website through your browser to access promotions and discount offers is not much better either. These types of unchanging, evergreen loyalty programs bring no new incentives, offer no personalization and really fail to bring any excitement into shopping. In the end, whether you’re a merchant or financial institution, the remedy comes in the form of dynamic loyalty.

The four elements of dynamic loyalty

Fighting loyalty fatigue takes a fresh approach, and if you are not delivering over mobile devices – straight into the hands of consumers – you may as well forget about it all together. It’s the only way to hit all four elements of dynamic loyalty – frequency, relevancy, interactivity and visibility – for a world-class customer experience. This is why we developed myGini as a mobile platform that hits these four key shopper hot buttons.

  • Frequency – Fuel shopper curiosity and spending by delivering regular, personalized offers. Not the same unchanging offers of static loyalty programs which quickly become the norm and offer little value – and certainly no excitement.
  • Relevancy – Knowing what the consumer wants is one thing, knowing when they want it is another and equally important one! Just because a cardholder has bought an expensive new  TV today, it doesn’t mean they are going to buy one tomorrow. Promotions need to be a lot smarter than that — and they can be, when the loyalty engine generating the offers and deals is backed up by state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.
  • Interactivity – Giving people what they want, when they want it is certainly going to spark customer interest – but that may not translate into long-term customer loyalty. By making their platform interactive, retailers and banks can remind consumers of any ongoing or close to expiring deals and rewards in a timely manner. This ensures every push notification delivers customer value, solves a problem and boosts the provider’s credibility.
  • Visibility – Visibility builds trust, and trust is a fundamental building block of the customer relationship. Clearly demonstrating that the customer is in control of their expenses and are getting the rewards they signed up for should be a standard part of any loyalty program. If they can’t see the value, they will just walk away.

If a loyalty platform cannot do these things, it is as good as if it was not even there in the first place.

Putting banks and CUs in the driving seat and top of wallet

Banks and credit unions are well placed to spearhead the adoption of mobile-based dynamic loyalty solutions that sit at the intersection of shopping, payments and banking. These financial institutions can magnify retailers’ reach at the same time as getting top-of-wallet themselves by becoming the card that offers the best shopping experience.

Shoppers will increasingly favor financial institutions whose mobile presence doubles up as a loyalty engine for relevant, useful and personalized retailer offers. With apps like myGini, provided on a white-label basis or integrated into an existing banking app, customers can access personalized shopping incentives. This means every time they earn rewards, find new deals and receive a helpful reminder of a bargain they don’t want to miss, the financial institution gets closer to establishing their debit or credit card as the consumer’s number one card of choice.