Customer loyalty program success depends on positive employee engagement
A retailer can implement the best customer loyalty program, but it won’t succeed without the support of brand employees. Employee engagement is critical to running an effective customer loyalty program. Loyalty360 sat down with members to discuss the topic of employee engagement best practices, including measurement, training processes, incentives, and employee involvement in loyalty programs.
Necessary incentives for optimal employee engagement
The COVID pandemic has seen many doors closed, but now that stores are reopening, there have been issues with staff turnover and maintaining adequate staff in establishments. When a store is understaffed, lines are longer and the employee is reluctant to involve customers in the program.
For example, a retailer programs a pop-up at checkout to remind cashiers to mention the loyalty program to every customer. If there is a staff shortage, this can be difficult to accomplish when the cashier is faced with long lines of impatient customers.
Brands agree that it is imperative to empower managers and train them to promote the loyalty program. If an employee is not well trained, the incentive to promote the program is weak, if any.
Some brands have expressed frustration in influencing employees to adopt, communicate and sell the program to consumers. Brands need to demonstrate the value of the program to employees, especially management, because loyalty programs contribute to the bottom line.
Chris Galloway, EVP Strategy and Design, Brandmovers says, “An employee engagement program is a manifestation of company culture. The best recognition programs align the mission and values of companies with those of their employees.
A retailer held an inter-store contest where prizes were awarded to the store with the most loyalty registrations and transactions. The contest and open communication helped engage associates and increase loyalty.
Another way to engage employees is to offer them the loyalty program as well. If employees receive a discount or earn loyalty points for rewards, this not only increases employee morale and retention, but helps employees understand the loyalty program on a deeper level when engaging customers .
Oliver Mitchell, Vice President of Sales at Brandmovers, adds, “Brands should consider modeling an employee engagement program based on the shared values and behaviors of the organization and its leaders.”
Now that the employee is committed to the program, what is the best way to measure this commitment?
A recognition and/or rewards system is essential for engaging employees. Running weekly reports to measure performance is also imperative. When stores launch a successful campaign, it’s easy to see an increase in loyalty signups and transaction rates.
According to Galloway, “Brands should use qualitative data such as employee behaviors, conversations, and overall satisfaction, as well as quantitative platform metrics such as active engagement rate, push and repurchase rates. and using onboarding to measure employee engagement and overall program effectiveness.”
Customer retention strategy depends on employee engagement
“Every customer retention strategy requires the understanding and support of a brand’s employees,” says Mitchell. “Loyalty is not just an affinity for earning points through transactions, it’s a sum total of all brand interactions and their degree of alignment with the brand promise.”
Galloway adds, “Loyalty members expect special treatment from the consumer affairs and customer service teams, and any misalignment between their expectations and their experience will impact results. In a broader sense, all employees can play a role in a brand’s overall loyalty strategy as they can be evangelists and help connect their networks to the program.
Brands agree that loyalty program training is key to holding management accountable. Once management is convinced that they can promote the program on their own, they are more willing to do so.
According to Mitchell, “This is also true in Channel Incentive and B2B Loyalty programs, as enrollment and engagement rely heavily on the channel’s sales and marketing teams to promote the program, and recognize and reward the behavior of all stakeholders (e.g. game boards, contests, incentive trips, leaderboards, perks, etc.) to actively promote the program always generates results and, most importantly, is measurable”