Airmiles : Crash Landing
Air Miles is Canada’s most widespread loyalty program: with a 72% penetration rate and over 220 participating partners, including IGA-Sobeys, Shell and Amazon. LoyaltyOne, the corporate owner of the program, announced in 2011 that all miles collected to date would expire on December 31, 2016. Successive miles would only be good for five years.
The Failure :
The purpose of this initiative was to incite members to claim their rewards on a regular basis. Internal data showed that this would help retain membership. But the outcome was just the opposite.
As the deadline loomed in 2016, many collectors rushed to redeem their miles, and even with increased customer service staff, Air Miles was unable to meet the demand. Members became extremely dissatisfied and lost faith with program partners. Air Miles was hit with a class action suit and a proposed law to prohibit the expiration of points under loyalty programs.
The Moral :
Faced with this widespread outcry and its own inability to meet demands, Air Miles rescinded its decision in December 2016. When you make a promise to your customers, then change the rules of the game along the way, you better be ready to deal with the fallout. Especially when this promise goes right to the heart of customer experience, in this instance, claiming rewards. As the saying goes, a fault confessed is half redressed, but a broken promise is much harder to mend.
Image Source : City News