Customers not feeling “a little love back from Starbucks”


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Candy StripeStabucks UK has a lot of unhappy customers today after the company decided to change the terms of their loyalty program. The previous rewards card offered a free drink for every 15 transactions and a discount on filter coffee. Now it seems that Facebook is buzzing with caffeinated complaints because of the changes as consumers post everything from their disappointments to threats of shredding their loyalty cards. One of the most significant changes only gives customers one reward point per transaction as opposed to one point per item purchased. Starbucks claims it just holds up the checkout lines, while customers are in a tizzy because they earn far fewer points now and still spend the same amount of money.

Do you think loyalty programs enhance the overall value of products and does it help to motivate buyers into making their next purchase? At least 75 percent of consumers have at least one loyalty card and one-third of shoppers have two or more cards, but many people say the whole shebang is just not worth it. CMO Council, a research group stated consumers have been backing away from reward cards because of the “barrage of irrelevant messages, low value rewards and impersonal engagements.” In 2011, 66 percent of consumer respondents stated that loyalty programs do not make them more likely to shop at one place simply because the programs become too problematic and people are just less motivated to figure it out. I happen to have a loyalty card at CVS; I have yet to figure out their rewards nor do the short expiration dates on my receipts ever coincide when I need something from the store. Now when I need something from a drug store, I use whichever one is closest to me.

Managers have to constantly evaluate the benefits of loyalty programs and compare the costs with the presumed benefit. Where the ideal outcome is to help bond a customer to an organization by offering additional incentives, it’s difficult to predict buyer behavior. The programs do not necessarily encourage customers to spend more, but the database from these programs can help a business figure out who is or isn’t loyal and reward those with the best spending habits. On the other side however rewarding shoppers for spending more doesn’t necessarily build a company’s market share. Organizations only grow by getting more people to buy their products not just getting current customers to purchase products or services more often.

We’re in the age of instant gratification, and we all want to say we got something for nothing – but is anything ever free?

photo credit: HereStanding

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Cheryl Hanna
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Cheryl Hanna is a successful real estate sales person in Florida and has used her customer service knowledge and experience to set her apart and gain a competitive edge in a very difficult market. Cheryl has been writing professionally since 1999 and writes for several blogs and online publications


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