As sticker prices climb amid high inflation, cash-constrained consumers are looking to credit card rewards programs for some relief. From 2021 to 2022, the share of US consumers who redeemed credit card rewards grew by more than 10%, according to Bain’s NPS Prism® benchmarking platform.
What’s more, redeeming credit card perks has a greater effect on customer loyalty today. In 2021, rewards redemption was a routine episode, or interaction that fulfills a need, unlikely to faze customers. But it has since become a “moment of truth”—an episode with a high likelihood to delight or annoy, depending on how well the credit card provider executes the end-to-end process.
How can companies make the most of this increasingly important interaction? There are four ways they can improve their episode Net Promoter ScoreSM—a measure of customers’ likelihood to recommend the credit card for the make-or-break redemption process.
- Make it easy. When customers say redeeming rewards is “easy,” a credit card provider can boost its episode Net Promoter Score by 99 points.
- Communicate rewards proactively. If a credit card company keeps its customers informed about opportunities to redeem rewards, its episode Net Promoter Score is 72 points higher, on average.
- Ensure customers perceive value. When customers feel the value of rewards is fair, there’s a 70-point bonus.
- Create a quick redemption process. If it takes more than five minutes to redeem rewards, credit card companies can be hit with a 15-point penalty. And if it takes more than 30 minutes, scores can tumble by an additional 23 points.
As economic uncertainty drags on, the rewards redemption process will likely hold even more weight. How well a bank handles the experience of accruing, discovering, and using rewards will determine its ability to turn customers into loyal advocates.