Customer Reward Programs Gone Bad

Don’t hoodwink your customers!  It’s not a good business practice , it’s terrible customer service, and it’s just morally the wrong thing to do.aeroplan

Usually on Monday’s I try to find an upbeat story to blog about.  But, I found this story and it really bothers me.

The original story can be found here for you to read.

In a nutshell, the story tells of a woman who has had a rough few years recently with major health issues and wanted to get a change of scenery by taking a vacation.  When she went to redeem her credit card miles she had earned over several years, she was told that the points were now expired.  According to the story, the reward system was changed a few years ago, but inadequately explained to customers in the program.  There are so many customers impacted by this and not informed that there is now a class action lawsuit to reinstate the lost points to customers.

Before anyone gets really upset with my stance on this, I want to say that I recognize that there are many situations where companies must make unpopular decisions based on the economic stability of the business.  There are also guidelines and rules that follow most reward programs and there is responsibility on the consumer’s part to understand these when they partake.

My thoughts…..  This company should reinstate any lost points to all customers until an arbitrary date… let’s say March 1.  Then, in the next 40 days, it should make an all out effort to clearly and repeatedly explain the program changes to any and all customers enrolled in the program.  Educate them on how to make the most of the points they currently hold and how they will be used in the future.

If business is down and you realize the program is costing you more than you anticipated, stay on top of things, be honorable, come clean with your customers and find a way to work with them.

It angers me when companies make changes and hide behind the small print claiming that they informed customers of changes.  Customers are the lifeblood of your business and many of them do business with you because of the promises you make.  When you change the game plan, that’s fine.  Just be sure that you inform and educate those that are funding your programs and business – your customers.  To not do so is just playing dirty and being cowardly.

Is it just me that is angered by this?

Please share your thoughts and opinions here...