The Importance of the First 90 Days of a Loyalty Program

The first 90 days for welcoming and settling in new loyalty or rewards program members is a critical time for entrenching a required behaviour. In club land that behaviour is using their membership card on all purchases and in the gaming room (or the engine room as I like to call it).

Adam Posner from Directivity speaks about three good reasons that the first 90 days needs to be well executed:

  1. Promise vs reality: The program’s valuable promise (VP) meets the reality of the member’s life after they have joined. Does it make an impression and an impact in their life or is just another same-same program?
  2. Behaviours are ready to be influenced. Members’ radar and expectations are at their peak in this period. It is the best opportunity to start a habit, influence a behaviour (increase spend, frequency of visit) or motivate advocacy.
  3. 19% of members defect in the first 90 days. Our latest research ‘for love or money 2016’ identified that 19% of members defect within the first 90 days.

Educating and empowering your staff is critical. They are your members first experience of your loyalty program. Member welcome packs are really a great way to start as an introduction of the club to the new member. Wait a few weeks before sending out the welcome pack in the mail, via email or SMS link – the new member has had time to settle into the club digest everything they wanted on their first few visits and then this is the time to capture their attention with more detailed information.

A new idea that is gaining traction is to send out a new member email every quarter. Any gaming or membership database will be able to tell you membership sign up dates. So, you take all new members from the last quarter and send them an email officially welcoming them to the club. Not only is this more cost effective it is also much quicker to deliver.

A personalised message from the CEO to the new members welcoming them to the club. Highlighting the benefits of membership and any major promotion/event that might be coming up in the club over the next few months. The advantage of this form of communication is of course that you can monitor open rates, clicks and really get a good measure on what new members will read and what they are interested in.

So, it can be said that if it is important to educate your new members in the first 90 days, then it is certainly key to educate and empower your new and existing staff as well. A loyalty program staff induction form should be a nonnegotiable. It should include information about loyalty programs as a whole – its key for staff to understand that it’s not just a club promotion or something that’s only done in this space. 93% of all Australians are part of some type of loyalty program. The quicker your staff realise the big picture of loyalty, they quicker they are going to understand the club’s loyalty program.

Pop quizzes and role plays are a must for new staff members. These practices are not to catch the staff out or to highlight that they don’t know something. It’s to ensure they understand the program and the logistics of how it works. It’s to empower them with the confidence to have the right conversations with the club’s members. You don’t want staff too afraid to have a conversation with a member about the loyalty program, and you certainly don’t want a member to be told to go and see someone else. The loyalty program will always be and should always remain everyone’s responsibility!

The more you can entrench the loyalty program as part of the day to day duties of each staff member, the more they become comfortable with it. Too often in the industry you see loyalty programs go stale and become brochures just sitting in DL holders at the front reception desk. The key result should always be your staff to be speaking of the great benefits your members get – you want them to be always encouraging members for membership cards, to be playing with cards in the machine and to be confident in having those conversations with anyone who walks in the door. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression – so make it count!