An Interview with Paul Taylor, Senior Manager Value Added Services, du Consumer Services
- Industry: Telecommunications
- Loyalty Programme Overview:
The du ENTERTAINER App provided du customers with Buy 1 Get 1 Free offers across Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Hi Paul. Thank you for taking the time to speak to us!
First things first, right off the bat, how did you get into your line of business? What was your inspiration?
I have always been fascinated by technology and communications, and especially what they can do for people and businesses. So it was natural, that I developed my career in a variety of marketing positions, related to IT product and services. All-in-all it’s over 20 years now!
And, with the evolution of digitalisation, and the convergence between marketing and technology, in areas such as predictive analytics, machine learning and even augmented reality, my enthusiasm for this sector is still as strong as ever.
Of course, when it comes to loyalty programs, there are so many exciting ways such technological developments can be applied to the benefit of customers and businesses.
It’s easy to get someone in a program, but it’s hard to keep them engaged. Why?
For me loyalty programs are about connecting and engaging with people. No matter how strong your brand, every customer is different.
For example, some prefer rewards with instant gratification, whilst others prefer saving for longer-term aspiration benefits.
Being able to meet each individual’s preferences is a tough call for any loyalty program. That’s why the potential of technology is so important, in order to take personalisation as close as possible to a 1-to-1 level.
77% of customers admit to switching their loyalty quicker than they did three years ago, how do you innovate your loyalty program?
For me, there are three ways;
Don’t over complicate the design or processes. There was an interesting article in the Marketing Week earlier this year, written by Tom Goodwin, where he talks about ‘cognitive outsourcing’. In essence, he says the human brain likes to simplify life by outsourcing tasks to our mobile phones. The loyalty program should mirror this simplicity.
Personalized, achievable and unique benefits make programs relevant to customers. In this area, content is king. The range and choice of rewards will differentiate your program versus others.
With diminishing attention spans and a proliferation of loyalty programs, gamification and a sense of fun can differentiate your program and keep people engaged.
What are the top things to consider when implementing a customer loyalty program?
For me the biggest considerations are firstly demonstrating positive return on investment. Difficult when many of the benefits from loyalty programs are indirect.
Secondly, learn from other programs, especially those in the same business sector. A specific example, is the decision to go with a points based system or not. On the one hand, points give customers a clear motivation to track their earning and burning. On the other hand, the accounting overhead and liability can burden the program.
Lastly, how to ensure the program is engaging and relevant to the customer base. In the UAE, we have one of the most diverse populations compared to anywhere else in the world, making this even more of a challenge.
Of course, having a great strategy and technology partner for your loyalty program is key to addressing these challenges 😃