Asda & loyalty: balancing expectations and cost
The current financial strain on businesses may lead some to overlook the importance of staff and customer loyalty. And while tightening the purse strings may be a priority, company loyalty doesn’t need to nose-dive as a result, says Tracy Aslam, Director of Asda Business Rewards.
Trying to strike the balance between keeping staff and customers happy and keeping expenditure down may be easier than expected. There are cost-effective ways to make this tricky combination work – it may just require some clever thinking.
Understand your audience: choose the perfect reward
Consumers today are used to choice and flexibility in all aspects of their lives, and beneficiaries of loyalty and reward schemes are no different – the scheme must live-up to the same expectations.
“Motivation, rewards or loyalty schemes will only be effective if your audience is engaged,” said Tracy. “This cannot be achieved by offering narrow or prescriptive solutions.
“Research across your target audience is a great way to identify what they expect from a loyalty or reward scheme. If you align your rewards with their expectations, it’s more likely their loyalty will continue.”
Depending upon the scheme, or in fact the time of year, various gifts may be appropriate. Gift cards and vouchers may offer the ideal solution for those looking to lighten the financial load at Christmas or Easter, or even offer recipients the chance to splash-out on more luxury items while doing their weekly shop – such as the ‘Extra Special’ range at Asda.
Other suitable offerings may include personalised gifts such as wine and chocolates.
Thinking outside the box
Whilst it is imperative to invest in the launch of a new reward programme, it is equally as important to sustain momentum of existing schemes and put some thought into how they can remain fresh and interesting to participants.
“Think about the time of year and plan for seasonal special offers, or report on positive results and success stories in company newsletters or emailed company updates,” said Tracy. “Sharing ideas with scheme members on how to redeem rewards such as gift cards may help to boost interest and give participants something to work towards.
“Retail gift cards and vouchers can be redeemed to fund a family night in with DVDs and popcorn, buy the turkey to feed the family on Christmas day, or even purchase that essential little black dress for the work party.”
Managing the process for maximised success
According to Asda Business Rewards, offering flexibility and choice with a reward programme should not lead to complex administration or additional cost.
“It is now possible to run gift card schemes in-house with new technology designed to reduce the costs associated with the security risks of storing high value gift vouchers, and the secure postage required to distribute them,” said Tracy.
The introduction of the Gift Card Management System, used in conjunction with Asda gift cards, means that the customer is now in control of the funds on each card in their scheme. The system is accessible by authorised users via any computer with an internet connection.
Possibly one of the most important parts of a reward or loyalty scheme is the periodic review, Tracy said.
“How does the scheme compare with your original objectives? Is it delivering value? And, above all, is it giving your business competitive advantage?”
Are you receiving the best service from your suppliers?
Garry Nelson, Managing Director of Oakwood Promotions – a leading provider of employee benefit schemes – believes that the success of his service is largely dependant upon the relationship between the customer and the supplier.
“On the occasions when problems do arise, it is essential to know that your suppliers can offer a quick and appropriate solution,” said Garry. “We have worked with Asda Business Rewards for the past three years, and we find that the team offers solutions that often suit our needs far more than their own.
“This is a very grown-up response and invariably leads to a better business rapport down the line. The service and attention to detail we receive is second to none in the benefits industry.”
Some companies have a restricted scope in terms of offering large pay rises and this can lead to negative sentiment towards the company,” said Garry. “It is possible to allay these feelings by offering significant savings in other aspects of their lives through reward, benefit and loyalty schemes.”
While people are struggling to meet rising bills, particularly during the winter months, offering them gift cards and vouchers for top brands can offer a real helping-hand, and in turn, significantly drive their performance at work or boost the loyalty of customers.