Lately I’ve noticed that some rewards programs have an amped up status — I can attain Premier Status with my Staples Rewards card. I already have VIP status on opentable.com, the restaurant reservations website. The problem? You either can’t tell me what I get with my newly elevated status, or I don’t get anything at all.
Staples Rewards automatically upgrades me to Premier Status when I spend $1,000 in a calendar year. What does that mean? Neither the store clerk, nor the website could tell me.
And opentable.com has a little VIP icon on my profile. Cool. But I couldn’t find out what that meant after searching around the website so I had to email opentable.com, only to learn that it doesn’t mean anything except that I’ve used their reservations system a lot. Why would you give someone VIP status without giving them added benefits that make them feel like a VIP? This is just silly.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
If you’re going to elevate your customer’s status in your rewards program, make sure they know the benefits.
The whole point of status is to push sales. The more sales I make, the higher the status I attain, and the greater the benefits I receive. Airlines do this. Theme parks do this with their annual passes. Why can’t retailers do it? Okay, I am throwing everyone into the same basket — I do know Banana Republic, for instance offers free tailoring for their best customers (last I heard, you had to spend $750 in a year on your Banana Republic Luxe Card).
Final words: Scream the benefits of attaining higher status. It’s a great way to increase your sales per customer, and make them feel like the VIP you’re telling them they are.