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Reimagining Customer Loyalty Programs with Zsuzsa Kecsmar

The Latest Trends in Customer Loyalty Programs

Shep Hyken interviews Zsuzsa Kecsmar, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Antavo. She talks about how brands can reimagine their loyalty programs beyond points and monetary rewards to make them more engaging and designed to fit the needs of their customers.

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This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions and more:   

  1. What are the latest trends in loyalty programs? 
  2. How has the traditional concept of loyalty program evolved? 
  3. How do loyalty programs impact a customer’s purchasing decision? 
  4. How can companies effectively track and utilize customer data to drive loyalty? 
  5. What role do customer experiences and rewards play in loyalty programs?

Top Takeaways:

  • Loyalty programs are much more than earning points and rewards. True loyalty involves providing unique experiences and benefits to customers. A successful loyalty program aims to delight customers by offering special privileges, exclusive access, and personalized rewards that go beyond mere financial incentives. 
  • Companies can use technology to identify and track customer behaviors, preferences, and interactions. This data can help them create personalized experiences and tailor loyalty programs to suit the needs of their customers, enhancing satisfaction and retention. 
  • Customers are more likely to return to a brand that offers a loyalty program. In a competitive market, a well-designed loyalty program can play a significant role in influencing purchase decisions, as it adds value to the overall customer experience. Incentives such as points, perks, and exclusive rewards not only create a sense of belonging but also inspire customers to make more purchases and choose a brand over others, even if it means paying a slightly higher price. 
  • Sustainability can be integrated into loyalty programs, offering customers an additional reason to engage with a brand. For example, athletic brands can reward customers for moving more and working out, or fashion companies can accept used clothing donations for store discounts 
  • Loyalty programs are expanding to include a broader range of benefits beyond financial rewards. This includes offering experiential rewards, early access to sales, and other creative incentives that enrich the customer experience and deepen customer loyalty. 
  • Plus, Shep and Zsuzsa share how companies like Peloton, Ripcurl, and Duolingo provide perks beyond the traditional monetary rewards. Tune in! 


“Loyalty programs used to be ‘earn and burn’ in the past 100 years. You spend a dollar and earn a point. But today’s loyalty programs can do much more with experiential rewards, early access, and rewarding other activities outside of purchasing.” 

 “Loyalty programs existed before, and now there is a trend of revamping them. Now, there is space for fun.” 

“Don’t limit your loyalty programs to points and tiers. Think of all the experiences, rewards, and benefits you can give.  

“Loyalty programs are not just about financial value. It’s often about the perceived value. They may not always need the perks and rewards, but they subscribe for the comfort that it is available when you need them.” 


Zsuzsa Kecsmar is the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Antavo, a no-code, fully customizable enterprise loyalty platform. They have worked with brands like KFC, BMW, and Kathmandu to create gamified, experience-based rewards. 

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and host of Amazing Business Radio.

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