Indian Consumers Look Beyond Traditional Loyalty Programmes - MYREALITY.In, Real Estate, Share Market, Mutual Fund, Insurance
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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Indian Consumers Look Beyond Traditional Loyalty Programmes

Indian Consumers Look Beyond Traditional Loyalty Programmes

Brands compelled to rework their loyalty strategies to enhance customer engagement

Indians are some of the most demanding, but loyal, customers in the world, according to new research today launched by Collinson Group. 83 percent expect high quality, consistent customer service however they interact with a brand, and 81 percent expect brands to be easy to do business with. This compares with the global averages of 69 percent in both categories. 

Once loyal to a brand, India consumers become dedicated customers. 81 percent agree that programmes make them purchase more, and 82 percent would recommend a brand that offered a loyalty programme. This is also well above the global averages of 66 percent and 65 percent respectively.

Brands, however, are failing to tap into this loyal behaviour. In India, there has been a 24 percent drop in membership of loyalty programmes among the affluent middle class since 2014. Collinson Group surveyed attitudes to programmes run by supermarket and grocery stores, airlines, credit card providers, retailers, hotels, telecom and media companies, coffee shops, and banking. Membership was down across all industries:

·           47 percent hold frequent flyer memberships, down from 71 percent

·           63 percent participate in credit card programmes, down from 69 percent

·           65 percent are members of supermarket loyalty programmes, down from 77 percent

·           Retailers also performed poorly, with a drop in members to 59 percent from 75 percent

·           Telecoms and media providers were the only sector to enjoy a rise in membership, up 2 percent to 47 percent

“This is a critical wake-up call to brandsusing points-based programmes offeringonly generic rewards. Given the importance of affluent middle class consumers on the fortunes of companies, brands must lift their game and rethink how they recognise, engage and reward customers,” said Anurag Saxena, India country manager, ICLP, owned by Collinson Group. “Despite lower membership numbers, the results show that personalised and relevant loyalty initiatives do positively influence consumer behaviour. Three quarters of respondents who are actively engaged in a loyalty programme said it encouraged them to spend more.”

Collinson Group polled 6,125 of the top 10-15 percent of earners from Australia, Brazil, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates.

Globally, the affluent middle class is also now less likely to repeat purchase, recommend a brand to friends or refrain from switching to a competitor as a result of generic loyalty programmes.India,Brazil and China however buck this trend, suggesting these societies are yet to experience the frustration of uninspiring programmes seen in more mature Western markets.

When asked what would encourage higher and more frequent spending with their preferred brands, 42 percent of Indian respondents requested a loyalty programme, and 77 percent valued the flexibility to choose the rewards and benefits they are offered.

“There is a clear appetite for loyalty and customer engagement initiatives, but consumers are turning their backs on programmes that no longer resonate with them. The affluent middle class value spending time with, and providing for, their families, as well as saving for the future. These rank far higher than driving a good car or going on a luxury holiday. Brands should seek to tap into what motivates their customers, instead of reaching for only discounts or material goods as rewards,” continued Anurag Saxena. “Brands that are not innovating and addressing evolving customer expectation will simply be left behind.” 

The financial services opportunity ..!

Customer expectation is highest in financial services, with four out of five (79 percent) of affluent Indian middle class customers expecting their bank to reward them for their loyalty. 

Again, India is the most demanding country, 14 percent higher than the global average of 65 percent. Retail banks and credit card providers can meet this demand by developing innovative loyalty programmes that draw on the wealth of customer data held on record.

Of all the industries surveyed, the financial services sector is best placed to succeed, as 77 percent of Indian respondents agree that their bank knows and understands their needs. This 12 percent increase since 2014 suggests the sector is learning the value of a relevant and personal customer experience. India also beats the global average of 49 percent suggesting a forward looking sector.

Further, Indian banking loyalty programmes specifically were found to encourage 95 percent of members to spend more (82 percent globally), while credit card initiatives positively influenced 85 percent of respondents (79 percent globally). 

The research also uncovered increases in the levels of trust in financial services’ ability to manage personal data (+9 percent), and faith in institutions to act in their customers’ best interests (+9 percent).

The financial services sector must however be aware of challenges to their business in the form of new fintech start-ups offering services that impact revenues, as well as the reduction in interchange fees which have traditionally been used to fund loyalty programmes. 

To succeed, financial services and other industries must:

·  ·         Recognise the value of relevance – The abundance of generic programmes has diluted the impact of loyalty programmes causing consumer fatigue. Brands need to balance programme objectives for motivating short-term behaviour and driving deeper engagement for long-term loyalty. Personalisation and breadth of rewards and benefits is key for brands to remain relevant.

·  ·         Address how loyalty programmes are funded – For financial services, the loss in interchange fees can be mitigated by increasing fees in other areas of the business, developing their own loyalty programmes, increasing collaboration with merchant funded programmes, and building bank-wide loyalty through account add-ons like insurance.

·  ·         Embrace digital– The smartphone is becoming the consumer device of choice for many brand interactions. Indeed, 84 percent of Indian respondents make digital payments whenever possible, and 80 percent agree that online banking is incredibly important to them. Incorporating loyalty programmes and initiatives into payment cardand mobile eco systems will drive engagement and increase consumer brand affinity.

·  ·         Move beyond transactional rewards –Although discounts and cash-back provide instant gratification, they do little to drive long- term loyalty. Brands should instead get to the heart of what matters to their customers. For the affluent middle class, this is often their friends and families, so rewards should be more experiential, lifestyle and life-goal oriented.

About the research..
Independent research was conducted by SSI Research in Singapore during January 2016 on behalf of Collinson Group. 6,125 consumers within the top 10-15 percent of earners in Australia, Brazil, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates were polled online.

About Collinson Group

Collinson Group ( is a global leader in influencing customer behaviour to drive revenue and value for clients. 
The Group offers a unique blend of industry and sector specialists who together provide market-leading experience in delivering products and services across four core capabilities: Loyalty, Lifestyle Benefits, Insurance and Assistance.

The group provides unrivalled insight and expertise around affluent consumers and frequent travellers, creating and delivering products and services that increase engagement, loyalty and value for customers. 

We have 25 years’ experience, with 28 global locations, servicing over 800 clients in 170 countries, employing 1,900 staff, and managing over 20 million end customers. Our clients include: MasterCard, VISA, Diners, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Air France KLM and InterContinental Hotels Group.
Collinson Group comprises leading brands including: Priority Pass, Columbus Direct, ICLP, Collinson Latitude.

Indian Consumers Look Beyond Traditional Loyalty Programmes Reviewed by Investment Guru on May 12, 2016 Rating: 5 Indian Consumers Look Beyond Traditional Loyalty Programmes Brands compelled to rework their loyalty strategies to enhance customer eng...

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