AT&T Broadband Brings Loyalty Online

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AT&T Broadband is attempting to wean its 4 million AT&T Cable Rewards members from its catalog by bringing them online.


Currently, AT&T Broadband's cable subscribers are awarded points each month, based on their level of service. As in a frequent-flier program, customers can redeem points for branded cable network premium merchandise from programming partners such as American Movie Classics, Disney, E! Entertainment Television, ESPN and Nickelodeon.


In the past, consumers were mailed an awards catalog yearly. At the end of April, the cable service provider began offering a Web site at which consumers can check their point balances as well as redeem them for prizes. Previously, much of the redemption was done over the phone.


The goal behind the new site, secure1.performancepro.com/attrewards, is twofold: it is designed to make the redemption process easier for the consumer, and it is cheaper for AT&T.


"We're trying to drive more traffic to the site to increase the effectiveness of the program," said Doug Seserman, senior vice president of marketing and sales at AT&T Broadband, Denver. "Online interaction is less costly than a phone interaction. Between the lower cost and improved customer interaction, it's a real win-win."


To introduce consumers to the Web site, AT&T is looking to a direct mail campaign. "This is more of a program that lives in the direct marketing space. It's a database marketing, direct marketing driven program," Seserman said.


Customers receive one to four installments of the AT&T Connection newsletter, depending on their activity in the rewards program. The mail piece contains their point balance as well as program news. All 4 million participants will receive information about the new URL through the mailing, which the company is in the process of sending out.


Although Seserman would not quantify how many consumers use the site, he said that more than half of the online users come to the site to redeem points for prizes. "We were pleased to see that of the early hits, half of them were redemptions," he said. "It wasn't just about checking points balances. That says there's a nice segment of consumers out there that would rather be cared for electronically than by voice."


Once consumers register online, AT&T begins to market to them via e-mail. Through this electronic relationship, the company plans to introduce new features and merchandise.


"[The rewards program] lends itself well online," Seserman said. "The customer online will have a better relationship with the program than the offline one, because the program refreshes itself. At least two to three times a year, we refresh the merchandise, but we only print the catalog once a year."


Consumers earn 25 points per month if they have AT&T basic cable, 45 points for basic cable plus a premium channel, 75 points for two premium channels, and so on. Prizes include a Lifetime tote bag, Nicole Miller-designed Weather Channel tie, HBO portable chair and a Disney toddler T-shirt.


There are more than 16 million AT&T Broadband cable subscribers.

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