Everything I Learned About Loyalty Programs, I Learned From My Dog

I have a dog named Nacho.  Per his Royal Canin DNA test, he is a multigenerational mix of Newfie and Border Collie.  He showed up at my house in the winter of 2010.  We live in the country and he followed my car up the driveway one day.  He was emaciated and had burnt singed orange hair like you used to get from a bad 80’s perm.  I took him in, of course.  Nevermind he had to get some issues….abscessed tooth, parasites, anemia and zero training.  We eventually signed up for dog school (insert images of Beethoven here).  It was quite apparent he had never seen the inside of a home and had no idea whatsoever that listening to your master was even a “thing”.  When we arrived at our first group dog class. the dog trainer kindly suggested he would be a good candidate for “private” sessions.  After months of school, he finally graduated by barely passing a few of the skills tests.

The hardest thing for Nacho is to stay home.  He routinely “leaves the area”.  He doesn’t run away but just wanders off somehow when I’m not looking.  But there is one thing that works all the time for Nacho….hot dogs!  If I have some hot dog treats in my pocket (gross I know), he sticks right with me when we are outside.  He transforms into an attentive and well behaved hot-dog dog.

Aha!  Rewards drive good behavior.  We know this and the interesting thing is that it doesn’t just apply to dogs.  Soon after this, I introduced a reward program to my clients at the veterinary hospital.  Like Nacho, they occasionally got distracted and wandered off to a vaccine clinic, or a pet store or Walmart to buy their flea and tick medication.  When we instituted a reward program where clients were given paw print stamps on a virtual stamp card in our mobile app with each invoice they started to make the association between spending money at the hospital and getting rewards.  In fact, soon after we started this program I walked up to the front desk and one of our clients said “Guess what Dr. Stacee, I’m so excited because I just got 8 stamps on my loyalty card”!  It crossed my mind that in the previous 15 years no one had ever hollered at me they were so excited to spend $800 on their pet.

It is very important to structure your reward program in a way that will drive behavior…otherwise, it will just be a discounting program that won’t drive behavior.

Here are the key components for a successful loyalty program:

  1. Keep it simple.  If it takes you longer than 15 seconds to explain, it might be too hard.  If it’s too complicated, it won’t drive behavior.
  2. It must be universal.  Whether the client owns a 5m old puppy or a 16y old hyperthyroid cat, they should be able to play.
  3. It must be attainable.  Good clients should receive the reward in a reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of effort.
  4. The reward must be something everyone wants.  (Nacho doesn’t do very well if I keep a pocket full of broccoli)
  5. The reward process must be interactive.  While automated points given to a client might sound nice, it will not drive behavior in the same way as an interactive program.

The desired behavior must be immediately rewarded to achieve maximum effect. When your client spends $800 then immediately sees 8 stamps be applied to their card, the endorphin levels rise at exactly the right moment.  Endorphins such as oxytocin and cortisol are most active in the cortex forming our opinions and feelings about trust and bonding.  Whether your endorphins come from a hot dog or a $100 reward, the result is good behavior and everybody wins!


23rd of September 2017 08:11 AM
OMG! The cat!! 😂😂
22nd of September 2017 01:57 PM
Great advice from our friends at IT Guru:

Apple Releases iOS 11 – IT-Guru recommends waiting to perform upgrade on your Apple devices!

It’s that time of year when Apple announces their next release of their iPhone 8 with a new iOS 11 operating system. You may see the option to upgrade to this new release in the coming days and we are requesting you wait to upgrade as this new iOS 11 is significantly different. After it has been out for a while and they have released at least 1-2 updates, is when we would recommend going forward. (Example 11.1.x may be a better time to make the update)

There have been announcements from some of the apps stating their app isn’t ready for the new iOS 11 updates. So if there are important features you want to assure work on your Apple device, it is extremely important to make you’re your device supports iOS 11. Thus the reason to wait until at least until Thanksgiving or even closer to Christmas, to assure this release is really ready for your device.

Lastly depending on your device, you may not want to upgrade as it may be fairly old and not handle this upgrade very well. Only newer devices within the last 3-4 years should be considered and if you have anything older like iPHone 4 or 4s it isn’t supported at all. Below is their supported list. But again some of the older devices although they support this upgrade may not run it so well. So we highly suggest iPhone 6 and above, iPad Air and above.

If you do decide to upgrade, we cannot guarantee compatibility with things like Office email, calendar and contacts right now until we test. If you decide to migrate and have issues going back to what you had can be difficult so assuring you have a good backup of your device prior to the upgrade is a MUST DO. We will request you work with Apple support direct to roll you back as your best option of support. (Apple store or Apple Phone support). We just are not in a position to assist with mobile device upgrades until we fully test these ourselves. Depending on feedback, we may even wait to see if there are issues and that time frame may be early December as we watch forums on others that have gone through the update.

“You can't send or reply from Outlook.com, Office 365, or Exchange 2016 in iOS 11 Mail.app Symptoms
In the native Mail app (Mail.app) on your iPhone or iPad, you can't send or reply from your Outlook.com, Office 365, or Exchange Server 2016 email account after you upgrade to iOS 11.
Note: These issues don’t occur in iOS 10.
Cause: This issue occurs because the Mail app on iOS 11 is not compatible with Outlook.com, Office 365, or Exchange Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016”.
(Source: https://support.microsoft.com)
Thanks in advance for your time and hoping this helps answer questions on if you should upgrade to iOS 11.

Our professional advice is to let others roll this out, do the testing and have Apple provide a few fixes, before rolling up to the new release assuring the apps you use will work.
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21st of September 2017 04:18 PM
Millennials are now the largest generation segment of pet owners, and 95% of them own a smartphone. What are you doing to market to this pet owning majority?
Check out our latest webinar, "Confessions of a Millennial Pet Owner", featuring Vet2Pet's Karyn Ekola and Hadley Larsen!
Join us as we learn about how millennials search for businesses and utilize loyalty programs. Ever wonder what millennials do when the phone book arrives? Watch to find out!