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Minimum Time & Resource Requirements for Launching a Loyalty Program

Minimum time & resource requirements for launching a loyalty program

Introduction

Customer loyalty is too precious to be left on the whimsies of the IT budget allocation. Fostering it & maintaining it is also incredibly difficult. When you are out to implement a customer loyalty scheme in your organization as part of your marketing strategy, you must focus on the implementation to drive its success which in turn will determine the ROI. But the success of the implementation is tied to the time & resources which you will spend on it. So, here we analyze the minimum which you will need for the program to go. As a customer experience manager, you also need to overcome certain challenges before launching a loyalty program, as Forrester finds out in this report. In this blog, we will throw light on the minimum time & resources requirement for launching a customer loyalty program.

The Implementation

Assuming that you have reached the critical maturity level which is required for launching such a comprehensive customer rewards program, implementation in itself is going to be pretty straightforward provided you land up with the right vendor. Let’s not be taken for the misconception that you will straight away start with the program. Initially, you will have to devise the right customer loyalty program strategy which is going to be quite time taking. And the complexity of your program will decide how the implementation goes vis-à-vis time & resources. Generally speaking the bits which you will have to focus on are hardware, software, customization, training, branding, communication & support. 

Launch strategy    

As far as program launch strategy is concerned, the mantra which we suggest is take one step at a time. Start plain & simple and then you can obviously go on to add more layers/tiers/offers/benefits with your rewards program/customer retention program. There is always a competition-pressure, many times from the industry leaders or the players who enjoy scale, to launch with a bang. More than the brouhaha which goes with the launch, you should be concerned about the consistency of the popularity curve which should not go south. As a consumer, you must have come across many loyalty programs, do you remember the benefits of all? Quite unlikely; so, focus on that, at first fight for getting a permanent place in the customers’ mind. Given below are the usual barriers in launching a loyalty program.

Usual barriers in launching a loyalty program
Unclear Priorities41%
Lack of Resources & Skills22%
Lack of IT Infrastructure17%
Lack of Budget15%
Lack of Leadership Buy-in5%
Percentage of respondents (%)

Partner with vendors

Another usual mistake which we see around is relying too much on oneself & decking up everything before inviting in the vendor. Unless you have implemented many customer loyalty solutions in the past, this expertise is hard to come by requiring expert advice. Your vendor, on the other hand, may have hundreds of successful program launches under their belt & they can take a well-balanced view of the process – putting technologies, resources, operational impact & many other things under consideration. Everything, of course, can’t be left on the vendor, you will have to pull your socks & get involved from day one but keep your involvement peripheral & rely on experts.    

Minimum Requirements

Let’s assume that you stick to our advice of keeping things simple & minimal at least initially. Given below are the minimum requirements of successful launch of a loyalty program with retail loyalty solutions

Vendors  

  • You will need a loyalty system provider for customer loyalty application, POS system provider, & any other application vendor as per requirement. 

Human Resources

  • Someone to strategize the loyalty program launch. He will be responsible for giving the go-ahead in major policy decisions & will also take commercial decisions. In a small organization, it could be the owner; in large enterprises it could be a group of directors. 
  • You will probably need someone of the rank of VP-Technology to look after the integrations. In larger enterprises you may need more than one person but in smaller organizations where there is no need of any integration one or none will do. 
  • You will need resources to promote this launch to the internal stakeholders primarily employees & will also have to arrange for training them. 
  • You will have to set aside a team from the marketing department who will be responsible to promote the program & the customer loyalty management system to the outside stakeholders, primarily customers. You will have to arrange resources for online & offline promotion. 
  • Now the number of man-hours each resource put in will depend on the overall complexity of the program & the scale of the launch. If you want to save resources you will have to keep both the complexity of the program & the launch simple.   

Material Resources

  • You will need complete information about the customer whom this program is for. This will require integration with business intelligence tools & off-the-peg reports on customer data from such tools. 
  • Resources for doing branding of the loyalty management solutions – company logo, graphics, images, & taglines etc. 
  • If you are a multi-location store or you have multiple shopping malls in your portfolio you will have to keep ready full information about them like address, phone number, complete details of staff etc.
  • A list of all products & the categories which you sell. 
  • You will have to keep ready the complete list of employees who will run the program along with their details to be fed into the loyalty program system. 
  • In case you have a multi-vendor/multi-tenant set up in your shopping mall, you will need a point of contact from each vendor. 
  • Keep ready all customer, employee, organizational & other data which has to be messaged & migrated to the new system. 

Conclusion

If you keep all these resources ready, we can give our word with confidence that you will be ready to go within just a few days, which is quite fast in comparison to months it would take with traditional, on-premise, loyalty rewards management systems. Also, our loyalty system – OKEN Saas platform – is a technology trailblazer, developed in the low code environment. It is a perfect fit for the loyalty program of all types. 

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