What Associations Can Learn From Rewards Backlashes
Ensure changes to member benefit programs don’t sacrifice their value
When it comes to rewards programs, you have to give your audience some credit—or prepare for a major backlash.
Such is the situation facing Starbucks this week as it switches to a rewards program that offers benefits on a more granular level—you can use a small number of points, or “stars,” to get a discount on a drink add-on like an additional espresso shot, for example—but requires users to spend more before they can redeem stars for more expensive items.
The company is marketing the revamped program as a net positive for its customers, but that’s not necessarily how customers are seeing it—especially those in the “green” member tier, who lost their stars and and were automatically upgraded to the “gold” tier.
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