Saturday, August 4, 2018

"Exciting" News Coming from #AmericanGirl Rewards Program This Fall #IndustryNews #AGRewards #CustomerService #18inchDolls #BadUI

American Girl Rewards Logo
Earlier this week, I received an email from American Girl basically saying stay tuned because "exciting news" was coming from the now two-years-old American Girl Rewards (AG Rewards) program in the Fall. Considering that the rewards program was recently revamped in December 2017 --- a little over a year after its launch --- it seems odd to potentially update the program again a mere 8 or 9 months later. Unless, of course, said revamp was a disaster.

The most noticeable AG Rewards change announced at the end of last year was the expiration of points earned on a rolling 12 months basis. While it's not unheard of for rewards program points to expire after a certain period, American Girl didn't think this change through very well. AG Rewards accounts do not have a true activity ledger which makes it difficult to keep track of when points (not earned by placing an order) were accrued. Thus, one would have little idea on what date these points would now expire --- if not extended by placing an order. If you shop at American Girl frequently, this probably wouldn't matter to you, as your points would consistently be extended by your generating orders. But if like me, you only shop there occasionally, it would matter a good deal.

The only two ways to keep track of points not tied to orders would be to contact American Girl and inquire or to create your own ledger (write down every time you earn non-order related points), both of which are a hassle for something that should have been a default program function. Also, because the AG Rewards program changes were announced over a year into the program, people might have points that were now due to expire immediately. However, unless you'd been keeping track of your points for the heck of it you probably wouldn't know this. Why would you have bothered as points didn't have a 12-months expiration originally?

Of course, American Girl probably hoped people would be encouraged to simply place enough orders to keep their rewards points active. Instead, the company's customer service got me, a person who repeatedly complained about how shortsighted it was to add a points expiration to the program without giving users a standard way to keep track of their points (an account activity ledger). This was all the more ridiculous because this ledger already exists. American Girl customer service staff can query your account on the back end and tell you each time you earned (any) points along with when said points are due to expire, but this activity record is invisible on the customer's side (i.e., the front end user interface). Needless to say, this glaring oversight added a lot of extra work for everybody. I know I contacted American Girl customer service at least 10 times after the change trying to get a clear answer on keeping track of points.

AG Rewards Email Announcement Clipping

It will be interesting to see what "exciting" news the AG Rewards program will announce in the coming months.... but I won't hold my breath.

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