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Rogers to shut down First Rewards loyalty program due to dismal participation

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Rogers is set to shut down its First Rewards loyalty program by June 2016, just two years  after it launched the ambitious program.

Aimed at gamifying customer retention, First Rewards points are accrued based on monthly spend: the more a customer spends every month on Rogers services, the faster points can be redeemed. Points can be used for content, such as movie rentals from Rogers on Demand, or discounts on things like smartphone upgrades. The service launched in conjunction with a Rogers Bank-branded MasterCard, which turns every dollar spent into two First Rewards loyalty points.

According to a source with knowledge of the matter, Rogers has seen extremely low participation in the program, with fewer than 5 percent of the choices within the program — things like home monitoring credits or The Shopping Network gift cards — having been redeemed at all.

Rogers customers enrolled in the First Rewards program will continue to accrue points until December 1st, and will be required to redeem them by an unspecified date in June 2016, when the program will be shuttered.

The telco also plans to phase out the First Rewards MasterCard in the coming months, replacing it with a similar product that allows customers to redeem 1.75 percent of their monthly spend as credit towards their bill. This is, according to our source, more in line with the simplicity and direct customer service improvements spelled out in CEO Guy Laurence’s Rogers 3.0 plan.

First Rewards has been a failure in an otherwise focused and successful rebounding plan. Initiatives like Roam Like Home, which according to people familiar with the matter has accrued more than double the number of participants than ever signed up for First Rewards, as well as Shomi, Ignite internet and, on Fido, Spotify streaming, have made considerable strides in rebuilding Rogers’ reputation for poor value and customer service.

Rogers earned its highest net subscribers in three quarters this past July on the strength of its service bundling. The company recently detailed how it would transition Mobilicity’s customers to its 3G network, and made plans to curate a smartphone every quarter under its Staff Picks title.

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