Most loyalty programmes are designed to improve the customer experience; to keep customers engaged with your brand; to become brand ambassadors; to buy more, more frequently; and, ultimately to be a vocal promoter.
By: Melanie Parker, CLMP, Stream Loyalty
If you are just starting out in loyalty or even thinking about refreshing your programme, these steps are all crucial to designing the right strategy and programme:
- Defining the behaviours you want to reward
- Defining which rewards your customers will value
- Designing the customer experience
- Designing the programme brand and tone of voice
- Confirming the communication channels and messaging
- Confirming the financial metrics
- Confirming the programme’s success KPIs
- Defining the ongoing reporting, analytics, and measurement processes
- Defining a potential exit plan, if required
In the first 5 of these points at least, your employees — and particularly your sales teams — are crucial cogs in gaining maximum benefit and traction, but they are so rarely considered as part of the programme design. In B2B this is even more prevalent. B2B sales were traditionally all done via sales teams or customer service staff and whilst this model is changing in today's online world, your employees are the personal voice of your brand and must be considered as part of the programme.
The Design Process
At Stream Loyalty we believe that your employees should be brought into the process right from the outset. They have the ear of the customer, both new and existing, and can provide valuable insight into which communication channels the customer will engage with, the programme mechanics and delivery model, and which rewards customers will value. If you make them part of the design process, not only will you benefit from their insight, but they will also feel part of the solution and will therefore be able to distil the messaging out to customers succinctly and with passion.
Hold a focus group to discuss your ideas and plans and get their feedback. Then identify a few people from the groups to help you progress the ideas and act as the voice of the sales team. Get them to identify a few customers who can become part of the User Acceptance Testing stage. This ensures that they will remain involved and invested in making sure the programme will work for a range of customers. Reward them for their input and make them a true part of the programme. Give them the ability to reward their customers for their assistance and make sure that feedback is captured throughout the programme.
Don’t forget to continue to involve them after the customer programme has launched. Your best feedback should come from your employees — the people who are out talking to your customers. Listen to how they are promoting it, whether they are having any problems or questions they can’t answer. Gain periodic feedback and bring those people back into the process when there is a new feature being considered. Give them insight into any changes happening and whether these have been requested by customers or internally. This way you can be sure that they have the right information to keep customers updated.
Motivating employee engagement: create an employee loyalty programme
We are also big advocates of giving your employees access to the same loyalty programme. The metrics should be configured differently to suit the different activity required of them, but if you use the same delivery for both earning and rewarding loyalty, then you can be sure your employees feel invested in the programme and are able to describe the benefits naturally to the customer.
- Make your employees part of your customer loyalty journey
- Motivate and reward employees using the same delivery techniques as you are using with your customers
Melanie Parker is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional and Director at Stream Loyalty, a UK-based Loyalty Service Provider with clients in England, New Zealand, Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and the US. Melanie is frequent contributor to The Wise Marketer.