A Great Way to Surprise
and Delight Your Customer
NOTE: In a blog post below (“Hugged Your Best Customers Lately?”), I alluded to hidden-points trigger programs. A reader was kind enough to post this comment: “May I ask what you mean by ‘hidden-points trigger program’?”
I posted a reply there, but since hidden-points programs are powerful, I am reproducing the reply here as well.
Awarding points toward goods or privileges is a hallmark of loyalty programs. Usually points are awarded openly, but sometimes there are advantages to keeping them hidden.
American Express Rewards is a good example of a non-hidden program. Cardholders know that they earn one point per dollar charged on the American Express card. They can log on at any time, see how many points they’ve earned, and browse a catalog of items that they can use their points to purchase.
By contrast, a hidden points trigger program is one in which the marketer tracks your purchases and awards points behind the scenes. As a customer you’re unaware that there even is a program. When you reach a certain number of points, the tracking system “triggers” the marketer to send you a freebie or privilege. You feel like you have received a thoughtful gift of appreciation out of the blue — which, in fact, you have. It’s immensely flattering and motivating. That’s why hidden points programs are also referred to as “surprise and delight” programs.
Some companies use both. The mail-order book marketer apparently did. I knew that my purchases were accruing points toward a free book, but the unexpected freebie with a kind note from the president was an utter and welcome surprise.