#253: Human Psychology and It's Role in Loyalty Programmes

This short summary explains how a better understanding of the psychology of human beings can help us design better loyalty programmes!

Dr. Anil V. Pillai offers some interesting insights on what needs most people are seeking to satisfy when they join our programmes, and key factors to how successfully we deliver on that.

This episode showcases key ideas that often get forgotten along the way when we design our loyalty journeys, often becoming increasingly complex to satisfy multiple business needs, rather than designing them as human beings prefer – with speed and simplicity in mind.

For anyone interested in the neuroscience of either business or loyalty, listen to learn some key ideas to help engage your customers.

Show Notes:

1) Dr. Anil V. Pillai

2) #102: The Science & Psychology of Human Engagement for Customer Loyalty

Audio Transcript

Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas. And if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.


Hello, and welcome to this week’s short episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. I’m your host, Paula Thomas. And this week, I’m looking back to my interview with Dr. Anil Pillai, an expert in cognitive and human behavioral science. Anil has a very different expertise compared with our usual guests who as you know, are typically leading loyalty programs for various global brands.

So it was exciting to hear his thoughts on us as human beings, in the context of our loyalty industry.


Anil shared insights on why people do what they do, what people really want, and then how to use that information to design your loyalty program. And of course, it was a wonderful and truly unique perspective.


Anil believes there are three types of loyalty. Emotional loyalty, transactional loyalty, and community loyalty. And of course, each one is important in different ways. Anil explained that in fact, research shows that as people we are not hardwired to be loyal. But instead, we’re usually seeking a sense of security, which comes from being connected to our communities.


Anil believes that many loyalty programs are designed without this basic understanding. So he offered suggestions on how to best design with that in mind keeping the experiences and human needs in mind that we humans are seeking to satisfy. 


Anil then went on to talk about the different types of friction that caused people to drop out of loyalty programs or disengaged. And he shared that there has been some absolutely amazing research done in that area. He explained that it’s cognitive friction that is the hardest to overcome. When customers get overwhelmed with too many choices or questions to answer that’s when they abandon a transaction or drop out of joining or using your loyalty program at all.


In tests, the experience of cognitive overload literally registers in the brain the same way that physical pain registers and many loyalty professionals are unintentionally putting their customers through that experience and that discomfort, this level of concern made an awful lot of sense to me. And I think once we appreciate this, it’s no wonder then that the concept of simplicity, or what Anil terms, minimal friction is such a key factor to the success of any loyalty program.


That’s it for this short episode. If you’d like to learn more about Anil’s insights on driving loyalty, by understanding more about the psychology of human beings, then do check out my conversation with him on letstalkloyalty.com/102. 


Tomorrow as you know is another exciting episode. This time with the commercial director of Spain’s leading train company called Renfe. And then on Thursday, I’m joined by two executives from Bond Brand Loyalty, who share some of their insights from their much anticipated annual research report known to all of you quite simply as The Loyalty Report, 


This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer. The world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news, insights, and research. The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which has already certified over 245 executives in 27 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals. For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org


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