July 31, 2014
I field a lot of inquires from clients in various stages of loyalty vendor selection projects. Some come with a tightly defined short list, but more often than not, they aren't even sure where to start. Customer loyalty initiatives take several forms including highly structured programs and loosely tied customer service, marketing, and product development tactics spread throughout the organization. As such, vendors of all types — from loyalty-specific service providers and platforms to customer engagement agencies and analytics service providers — bring loyalty strategy, management, and marketing chops to the table:
With so many different providers knocking on their door, it's no surprise that marketers feel overwhelmed by the selection process. My most recent report cuts through the clutter by organizing loyalty providers into categories based on their core offerings and delivery models. But, before you start dropping vendor names into a shortlist, you first must answer these three questions:
- How does your company approach loyalty? Take stock of your existing retention tactics and how customers currently interact with your products, services, and brand. Outlining your organization’s approach will help you select new partners but also potentially enrich relationships with existing partners.
- Who owns and manages customer loyalty? Identify who is ultimately responsible for making customers more loyal, who else should be involved, and where loyalty sits today (e.g., marketing, operations, service, and/or as a standalone function). This will ensure that loyalty aligns with, and contributes to, the overarching business objectives.
- What resources are available to support loyalty? Take stock of the internal capabilities that support loyalty today, including tools, processes, and people. If you have dedicated internal IT and marketing resources, a self-service technology solution may be a more cost-effective choice. But organizations looking for hands-on support will likely benefit from a service provider that can take on some of the IT and operational burden.
Shoot me an email or set up an inquiry to discuss the report, individual vendors, or how to choose a provider. Whether you're in the middle of a vendor selection project, or gearing up to start one, we're here to help.