Charter seeks customer loyalty in points program

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Charter Communications, a cable, Internet and telephone provider, rolled out a national customer loyalty program this month, “Live it with Charter.”

The program offers customers the opportunity to earn points by using Charter products and services, or by shopping at an online mall created by Mall Networks. Points can be redeemed for other Charter products, prizes and raffle tickets. Charter's programming partners, which include Disney, Fox and Food Network, provide the prizes.

“We often heard from customers, ‘New customers get all the great stuff,' because we're always putting deals out to acquire new clients,” said Paul Belle Isle, direc­tor for loyalty and retention marketing at Charter. “The loyalty program offers additional value for our customers and differentiates us in an industry that is becoming increasingly commoditized.”

Charter will also be able to use its new program to collect extra information about its customers — one way to earn points is by occasionally taking surveys.

Mall Networks' loyalty shopping will play a key role in “Live it with Charter,” offering consumers a way to earn more points and get increasingly involved with the program. Charter is also signing up a second partner company that will give customers more opportunities to spend their points. The name of that company has not yet been disclosed.

Charter launched a pilot of its loyalty program in its East Division in April 2007 — the nationwide launch was spurred by strong results in the pilot. An e-mail cam­paign signaling the launch went out last week, and will be followed by a direct mail campaign in mid-August. Eventu­ally, points balances will be printed on bills, the Charter.net Web site will link to the loyalty site, and the program will be promoted in Charter stores.

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