The implementation of a loyalty scheme, like most complex undertakings, requires careful thought and planning.
Such schemes are or should be at the forefront of a consumers mind and therefore with the appropriate promotion, the organisation launching will be heavily promoting a customer promise. Failure is not an option. Getting it wrong can have completely the opposite of the intended effect.
Launching and operating a loyalty programme might seem like a straight forward exercise, they are nothing new, there are hundreds or thousands of successful schemes around. Look again and, in our opinion, most loyalty schemes do not have a robust business model to justify the investment, the operator simply factors the investment into the ‘cost to serve’.
We live and breathe loyalty at LCUK, as a company we have been implementing loyalty schemes for more than ten years. In addition, we are involved in the operational success of a number of schemes for some big brands around the world.
The LCUK process for the implementation of a loyalty scheme is complex but thorough, robust and successful.
Planning is at the heart of this process, using a set of industry standard tools we apply our past knowledge and experience together with our understanding of our clients requirements to produce the project plan that will guide all the contributing parties toward success.
However good the plan is, in our experience, the sponsorship and guidance from the senior management within the organisation is of crucial importance. Unlike many marketing programmes the belief and backing from the most senior managers is required to support the implementation which in most instances, touches most of a consumer facing organisation. Such involvement will prevent turf wars and conflict over ownership of ‘the customer’, the processes, the data and any number of other disputes that can arise with such an implementation. We recommend that the entire team sign off on the functional specification and the implementation plans in order that unity is in place before the real work begins.
Designing a loyalty program that is customer-centric and is in unison with the brand must be the starting point. The design of a scheme will undoubtedly be the biggest contribution toward success or failure. At a high level, the design phase focuses on setting up the functionality of the programme whilst ensuring there is direct linkage with the commercial business case. This can involve research, benchmarking, technology selection, customer focus groups, brand creation and many other significant tasks.
Once all the business requirements are agreed, implementation can proceed in line with the project plan. At LCUK we work with some of the best resources in the business, in order to deliver a working and a successful loyalty scheme. We have worked with the best software partners who specialise in loyalty systems, we have worked with some of the best marketing agencies to develop and deliver the creative content to promote the scheme and educate the users. LCUK have the unique capability to oversee all the resources that must work together to deliver such a complex implementation.
In parallel with the technical and marketing implementation, LCUK can and will oversee the setting up of operational services to run and maintain the scheme.
Before launching the scheme, there has to be a comprehensive testing phase that mimics the entire loyalty cycle from customer registration to customer resignation, from points earned to points redeemed or expired. There is no substitute for experience and knowledge when it comes to testing. LCUK have a vast experience of test planning and execution for the deployment of loyalty schemes.
Finally, the implementation must focus on performance monitoring, measuring everything from the level of customer engagement to the size of the growing liability generated by customers earning their loyalty currency. As with most transactional systems, we recommend a number of specific threshold reports that will automatically measure the health of the scheme and address and potential problems such as fraud.