Today’s consumers have new levels of experience benchmarks when it comes to brands. The successful loyalty programs of today need to be – above all – flexible (to both loyalty program scale and differing customer preferences), simple, attainable, have strong communications (reaching people at the right time, in the right place and with the right – personal – message) and finally, have an element of surprise.
Step 1: Research
Examine your current loyalty program to uncover what works and what doesn’t work. Do this by mapping out the journey and exploring each touch-point between your customer and your brand. Where are people coming from, and for what reasons? Does activity drop off at any point, can you ideate on the reasons for this? When do people actively engage, and where is there a lack of engagement?
Next, explore existing customers’ expectations by researching your own audience as well as trends and shifts within other industries.
Finally, analyze global benchmarks for loyalty programs. Remember to consider all industries, as innovation can come from the most unexpected places.
Step 2: Ideation
The ideation step brings about initial ideas for the program. Simultaneously it encourages teams to answer key questions which prevents idealistic ideas being pursued before barriers are discovered which bring a halt to the project. As a result, that motivation and momentum for the great idea can be lost.
These questions include (but are not limited to):
- What is desirable for our customers?
- What is technologically feasible for us?
- What is financially viable for our company?
There can be several ideation sessions, each time allowing freedom for team members to come up with new ideas. Though each time the ideas are collected these questions should be asked immediately. It will result in each idea generation session becoming more and more congregated around the greatest value to customers, technological feasibility and financial viability.
Step 3: Prototyping
Build, test, learn, repeat. As soon as the idea is decided, waste no time in getting to build an initial working prototype. Give teams the chance to gain customer feedback at the earliest stage. Adjustments and iterations can then already be made before too much time is invested on an untested idea.
Repeat this step as many times as the teams deem necessary. Usually the number of Sprints are set out beforehand, but the great thing about this approach is its agility. Essentially this means that if the team believe they can still bring more value to customers through another Sprint or two, they can do so. However, avoid falling into the Sprint trap of wanting to reach perfection before really letting go of the program.
Iterations can continue even when the program is rolled out to all of your customers – and they should! Today’s consumer expectations are changing and rising at an increasingly faster rate. Therefore companies need to adopt an approach like the Agile Sprint to continuously iterate on their products and services.
Tackling idea development through Sprints will enable companies to maintain their relevance to customers and instil this mindset of always asking “how might we deliver even more value to our customers?”.
Step 4: MVP Launch
Once the team has built a minimum viable product (MVP), the launch can begin! Reach out to all existing customers together with a clear value proposition.
In order to make it as easy as possible to gain valuable feedback, consider multiple ways feedback can be given (email, in-app, SMS etc.) as well as possible incentives to give feedback.
Teams can progress through these steps in Agile Sprints. If you haven’t yet explored Agile as a way of working within your organization, this could serve as the perfect Agile pilot to try it out!
Let’s take a look at it in action with our recent client case – Vodafone Hungary.
CLIENT — VODAFONE
Good Things — First Digital-only Customer Appreciation Program
A project overview of Good Things, a pre-existing “reward” program available for customers and accessible through My Vodafone app. Explore the challenges the telecom faced, what we did, how we did it and highlights of the value delivered.