A Look at Mobile — Why Don’t More Carriers Have Loyalty Programs?
Loyalty programs are nothing new. If anything we are approaching an era where loyalty stretches far beyond traditional rewards and offers. We have seen the new and innovative ways companies like Virgin America are rewarding customers with Elevate, and even Thrivent Financial has found its own unique niche through its service-minded Thrivent Choice.
Why, then, with all of the information and positive examples out there, have some industries been slow to jump on the loyalty bandwagon?
With the exception of U.S. Cellular, the first wireless company to offer a loyalty program, wireless is one industry that has been hesitant to take advantage of the benefits of loyalty. This is counterintuitive, considering the makeup of wireless companies screams loyalty.
The way that contracts are structured, upgrades are offered, and overages are charged has a history of frustrating customers to the point of no return. Switching providers is a fairly straightforward process, making it easy for customers to flip-flop from one provider to the next when dissatisfied. All of this combined makes for one unstable customer base. But what if a loyalty plan could turn these traditional wireless experiences around? Well it can, and it has — for U.S. Celluar at least.
U.S. Cellular’s Belief Project has been able to achieve what other wireless providers struggle to grasp — satisfied, happy customers who feel appreciated. Not being forced to sign another contract after the first two years doesn’t hurt things, either.
Other wireless providers are starting to take the hint from U.S. Cellular and are considering integrating loyalty into their programs. It’s about time! According to a recent Pricewaterhouse Coopers survey, the average length of postpaid customer relationships has declined to 48 months, down from 59 months in 2010. Customer retention is flailing and AT&T is a provider that has decided to take action by testing a new AT&T ‘Plus’ loyalty program. This is one in what will hopefully become a trend of loyalty programs popping up in wireless.
The point is, customer loyalty is there for the taking. It is a proven method for attracting and retaining customers. If you are in an industry where customer turnover is high, then consider how a loyalty program can set you apart and positively impact your retention rates. After all, as we all know, the benefits of keeping a long time customer far out weight a new one. It’s worked wonders for U.S. Cellular. Maybe it’s time for your provider to consider the possibilities that loyalty has to offer.
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