Why rewarding your customers on their birthday is important

  • Opinion
  • May 8, 2015
  • Juanita Neville-Te Rito
Why rewarding your customers on their birthday is important

This is my second year of reviewing the joy (and distress) that has marked another year on this planet. I have just celebrated an uneventful birthday – no big numbers, just an unspecific age that still keeps me in a respectable age bracket. According to the Huffington Post I am not yet middle aged, which in itself is something to celebrate.

Hell I’ve got a good decade to go (it’s 53 if you wondered) and I’m not showing the signs of getting close yet. This Huffington Post article says, “One is middle aged if they enjoy afternoon naps, moan when they bend over, are frustrated by modern technology and choose comfort over style when it comes to clothing.” Well I do admit to being partial to an afternoon nap on a Saturday or after a, ahem, long lunch.

I am not seeking comfort over style so why have all our retailers, who hold a wealth of information “all about me”, approached their reward and recognition of ME so very comfortably? Have they all got prematurely middle-aged with their approach to personalisation, a rocking international trend?

My data must be amazing, but you have to use it astutely. I give you access to all my personal details, where I shop, when I shop, how I shop, what I shop and yet again, only a handful of traders reached out to put a candle on my cake this year.

Looking at the hard evidence, there are 36 loyalty cards in my two wallets of which only 6 make it into my main wallet. I threw 7 away going through this process. And then there is Air NZ, linked to my credit card and only interacted with through their app, the only loyalty related app on my phone – can you hear the opportunity knocking?

All 37 of these organisations have a direct link to ME and a bucket or two of information about ME. So who took the time to deliver me a birthday gift?

For a second year running the winner is COUNTRY ROAD

The best at acknowledging my big event was Country Road. I received an email entitling me to a $30 gift voucher with a full month expiry. No hooks, requirements or bizarre conditions. I redeemed mine on a 25% off day,  picking up a new work top for $36. Happy Birthday Me!

Esprit didn’t do too badly either considering I haven’t spent much with them this year. This little bonus is the equivalent of $100 spend in points. I do have to make a purchase but not that many hooks. A nice bounce back and birthday reward. All in all, pretty good.

Kikki-K has kept it pretty standard with the $10 reward which needs to be redeemed within my birthday month.  Pretty good, but for the second year running I won’t get to redeem it. Thumbs up for the reminder and avoiding the  distress of feeling like you missed out.

And some recognition too for Burger Wisconsin. I’m not a regular customer as they are some way away from home but we do sometimes get them in at work. Great to see they are doing something positive with their customer data.

One of my perennial favourites, Witchery, sent me a $20 reward this year. I will get around to using this and, if luck is on my side, it will be when they have a 20% off day. 

And a brand new entrant is Z, who sent me a personalised birthday card entitling me to double Fly Buy points for the month of April plus a free cupcake. Nice recognition through the Fly Buys database and Z have made it their own.

I’ll admit to being a little dark with Farmers as they did send me an e-voucher for a FREE Aromatherapy Company hand cream or body wash last year. This year? NOTHING.  Did I do something wrong? I think I’ve still been a pretty good shopper. Maybe I don’t matter anymore.

This year I unsubscribed from the repeat offender and worst on my list, East Day Spa. You can’t visit East Day Spa without dropping a pretty penny. For the fourth year in a row, they sent me an email simply saying they hope I have a great day. It’s not a pretty email, so I don’t consider it a card, or even a kind thought, but a rather miserable attempt to “engage” with me. If they were smarter they would send a bounce back incentive to walk over their lease-line and re-engage. But this year I replied UNSUBSCRIBE. Game over.

In this day and age when we swipe, share, tweet, post and pin about ourselves, I wonder why I retailers aren’t clamouring over themselves to get a piece of my spend. My data is currency and I do expect to be paid for it in kind.

As luck would have it l was on the Air New Zealand Birthday flight at 9am to Sydney on the 30th April, just two days after my birthday and despite my DOB being on my passport there wasn’t even a wink wink or comment at check-in. Just saying.

I love this Maya Angelou quote that sums up the opportunity which many retailers who proclaim to have a loyalty programme have failed to grab hold of. They have not made me feel positively about them. Massive fail NZ retailers, massive fail. 

This article was originally posted on Juanita's blog.

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