Social Media Fuels Relationship Loyalty Programs

Members benefit from linking all of their credit and debit accounts under one rewards umbrella.

June 28, 2013
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

Social media empowers relationship loyalty programs to become powerful acquisition tools—but only if credit unions ensure members know how to reap the rewards.

“Once the technology’s ready, you’ve got to talk about it,” says Paul Kelzer, executive vice president, client services, for RAZR Marketing. He addressed a webinar from The Members Group, “Relationship Loyalty in a Social Media World.”

“Secret programs don’t work,” he says. “You need to communicate often, you need to be consistent, and you’ve got to make sure everybody in your credit union understands it. And then it’s about explaining to consumers not just what to do but what the possibilities are.”

The exponential rise of social media and smartphones, combined with the advent of a cooperative model for point accumulation and redemption, has infinitely expanded those possibilities since relationship loyalty programs came onto the scene a decade ago.

Members benefit from linking their heretofore scattered credit and debit accounts under one rewards umbrella, either individually or with spouses, family, and friends. This simplifies benefit tracking, grows members’ treasure chests more rapidly than if the accounts were separate, and allows for collective purchases or donations to various charities via both online and mobile channels.

Credit unions possess a vehicle to drive further engagement by offering point incentives for members who take out additional products such as mortgages and other loans. And when members advertise that they’ve cashed in their points for rewards or donated them to a certain cause, the ripple effect is felt not just within their personal circles, but throughout their social media circles as well.

This increases brand awareness and transforms members into ambassadors for a powerful grass-roots acquisition effort.

“Now members have the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, if we link our points together we could invite a friend home and pay for their trip,’” says Molly Plozay, First Data’s vice president of loyalty rewards. “Or, ‘We could give a flat-screen TV to dad, who’s using the oldest technology available.’

“Whatever it may be, it creates a conversation piece, and that conversation creates a unique opportunity for credit unions to acquire new cardholders through that family relationship.”

NEXT: Foster member engagement

Post a comment to this story


What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive