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Boloco Card Policy Changes

Posted February 25th, 2013.

To our VIBEs (Very Important Burrito Eaters),

Every few years Boloco has to revisit the terms and policies of the Boloco Card. Effective 2/25/13, our new terms and policies go into effect. Head to boloco.com for all the fine print, but read on for the summary version.

Unlike many companies who provide the greatest value to their new customers, we hope our new terms and policies reflect our deep gratitude to those of you who visit us the most, and still reward those of you who drop in on occasion.

Without further ado, the new Boloco Card terms and policies:

  • All Boloco cards must be registered to earn freebies. Don’t worry, by receiving this email yours most likely is, but please double check anyway – and tell your friends!
  • Earned freebies expire after 76 days. Why 76 days, one might ask? Well, it is twice as generous as Starbucks’ program (38 days) and we know they do their homework. Any earned freebies loaded prior to today will expire on May 11, 2013.
  • There are now 4 Boloco Card member levels. Depending on your purchase frequency each month, you now earn freebies (& other goodies!) based on your VIBE level. VIBE levels are determined each calendar month, and you maintain (and enjoy) your “status” for the month immediately following the month you earned your status. To discover where you stand, check your boloco card account starting 2/25. The levels are:

Finally, in April 2012, we were honored that our friends at HubSpot put us in good company (alongside Virgin, Patagonia, and Amazon) by citing the Boloco Card program as one of “7 Customer Loyalty Programs that Actually Add Value.”  While our new terms won’t be welcomed by all, relative to other programs out there, we think the Boloco Card and its benefits will still “actually add value.”
Thanks for being one of our VIBEs :)
- Your Friends at Boloco

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4 Responses to “Boloco Card Policy Changes”

  1. Erik says:

    I go to Boloco every work day (Roughly 15-20 times a month). Will I be saddled into the lowest tier at the start until I get to 12 times a month to hit the top tier? Is this an average over the last X months to be in a certain tier? Any additional information would be appreciated as I come here not only because I absolutely love the food, but because the deals are great with the card. Card#6000107420424079.

    Thanks,
    Erik

  2. cassidy says:

    Hi Erik – thanks for commenting! Your VIBE status is based on your visits from the previous month. So CONGRATULATIONS! You are currently one of our Uber VIBEs – awesome! So you’ll continue to get those great deals :) Thanks!

  3. Ben says:

    It is with great sadness that I read about your decision to so dramatically rewrite Boloco’s loyalty policy. As someone who took advantage of all of the loyalty loopholes you seem so keen to close, I gather I do not fit the description of a valuable customer to your company. While in the past, I have been named a Boloco Customer of the Month (until this change, I had the certificate posted at my desk at work) and considered Boloco my go-to place for catering $100 orders every few months, due to my work schedule recently, I have not been a regular or frequent visitor. When I did visit, it was because of the convenience of the store and the knowledge that no matter what, I was getting a terrific deal. On this basis, I can happily shrug my shoulders, with no personal resentment to Boloco, and say, “Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Maybe it isn’t in my destiny to be a VIBE, but at least ‘Boloco Card Holder’ sounds professional.”

    What really irritates me, however, and the reason I will no longer offer my business (valued or not) to your company as long as these policies remain in place (once I’ve used the money currently stored on my card: I am a poor grad student after all), is the insulting message with which you announced your policy changes.

    I always considered Boloco a business that respected my intelligence as a customer. Sure, you have to market yourselves like everyone else, but as a company that caters to highly educated academic communities (I ate at the Harvard Square location while an undergraduate at Harvard and then, until recently, frequented the Children’s Hospital location) I always felt like the company was relatively honest and transparent, traits I value incredibly highly in people and companies.

    That seemingly honest tone is, of course, still evident in this specific post, but surely I am not the only customer who actually read the post and realized that the illusion of honesty is but a thinly veiled attempt to distract from the issue at hand.

    You link an incredibly complimentary article describing how wonderful your rewards program, in its prior incarnation, had been. Boloco is “an example of a company simplifying points with an accessible customer reward system.” Exactly! “Where many companies falter [...] is making the relationship between points and tangible rewards complex and confusing.” Of course, that’s why I never use other companies’ loyalty programs! It’s really all about honesty and transparency!

    Did you really expect me to stop reading there? Or even to ignore your link altogether and take your claim at face value, that the new benefits “will still ‘actually add value’” as lauded by this respectable sounding article from which you confidently quote?

    Ah, of course, if you keep reading, here is a description of a tiered system in the article, that sounds like a good inspiration for Boloco’s new policy, coming in right behind Boloco at number 2. If Virgin Airlines can figure out how to make such a system work, surely a well-run company like Boloco can as well! Oh wait: “The difference between points and tiered systems is that customers extract short-term versus long-term value from the loyalty program. You may find tiered programs work better for high commitment, higher price-point businesses like airlines, hospitality businesses, or insurance companies.” Perhaps you don’t actually agree with the author of that article, but in that case, why link to it in apparent support your new rewards plan?

    Once upon a time, I had the reputation for being a huge Boloco fan. I was teased by friends–and occasionally Boloco staff–that I must secretly work for the company. Now, instead, a staple of my party conversation is the absurdity of this policy change and the temerity with which the company assumes me to be either too lazy to notice anything or actually illiterate.

    I am willing to accept that my anecdote, in the face of the research and analysis of your highly paid consulting team (I met some of them when I was a part of a focus group, back in happier times), are probably of no concern to your bottom line. And I’m sure you can pull up my transaction history, as I can, and verify that I don’t buy enough burritos to matter. But, please, don’t insult me while you move on to bigger and better customers.

    In case the “loyalty” of this one, poor grad student is of any concern to you, please know that I will be boycotting your business until you either eliminate this absurd tiered system, or begin selling insurance.

  4. cassidy says:

    Hi Ben -

    First, I’d like to apologize for the delay in responding to your comment. Next, I’d like to say thank you, for taking the time to write us such a thorough and honest piece of feedback.

    We’re so sorry you are so disappointed in the changes we’ve had to make to our loyalty card program, and so very sorry to hear you will be boycotting us for the time being.

    As for your comments on the boloco card program – yes, you have to eat more frequently to earn freebies at this rate (unless you’re one of those that eats 12 times per month, of which there are actually a lot) but we needed to change the program because we were giving so many discounts it was unsustainable for us. Instead of make a blanket change that would impact all of our guests equally, we decided to adjust the program to reward our most loyal guests the most.

    And for the record, the main reason we did this, is that in order for us to continue on serving our guests and very importantly, our people, we needed to make this change. We’re trying to pay our team members the absolute MOST in the food industry, and restaurants are traditionally a really terrible place to work (with super low pay). We’re trying to change their lives and futures, which is a super serious task.

    Perhaps after our program is in practice for a while, we hope that you’ll find that our decision isn’t as bad as it seems at first. I’m sorry, and I hope you might consider trying us again some day.

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