Rewards & Recognition and loyalty programs have finally acquired a very clear cut space in the Indian business arena; and this is recognized as a legitimate industry. Specifically, Rewards & Recognition (R&R) pertain to programs directed at the in-house customers - the employee.
Our focus has been on programs that help customers motivate their employees to get better value for their products and services (employees, both frontline sales and all other functions). We may not be the only people in the industry, but almost no similar organization offers end-to-end solutions, whose model includes close inputs and involvement of client management likeHR, marketing and sales leaders, during the build process.
R&R must be treated as an extra layer and must not be linked in any way to salary structure or confused with pay packages. This will allow people, who are rewarded, to be clear about what they are being rewarded for. So, it needs to be well thought through and importantly well communicated! The method of rewarding has become very specific. Rewards are now more than ever matched with the social position of the rewarded. It is so important that a recent report by the Economic Times stated that luxury brands have discovered that 60 percent of their business comes from gifting ‘needs’. It is clear that in the higher echelons of management, people are being rewarded with top branded products. This is true of every level; rewards must match the social needs and perception of the rewarded.
At Reward Port, we spend time on getting a deep understanding of the culture and personality of a company and the individual levels of employees, while working with the management to build R&R programs. Rarely do we recommend installing a readymade program. Whether it is a HUL or a mutual fund or a community like the golfers, all loyalty programs for employees or channel partners have been custom developed by us to meet the specific needs of the client. That has been our belief and is our forte.
The EQ Factor
For R&R or loyalty programs, so far, organizations focus more on the mathematics of the viability or efficacy and less on what, for whom, design and soft touch. We, on the other hand, while supported by a high tech proven IT backbone, have brought in the creative element, focusing away from the mechanics and sheer number crunching. The change in angle has been from dashboards to quality of the message and the use of this communication - the EQ (quality and personalized nature of the communication). Look at frequent flyer or Shoppers Stop type programs – it has been pure numbers so far, but that hopefully will change.
The third element is budget versus perceived value of the reward. The entire focus of offering very high perceived value is the cornerstone of good rewards, recognition and loyalty programs; this must eventually take the forefront. We have already conditioned our products to be this. For instance, our MyChoiceofgift products used as rewards are delivered across physically, through mobile or net; this product offers a vast choice of products and services with a higher perceived value! We are still ahead of the rest as far as this kind of offering is concerned.
Given the mad rush in consumer buying of home and personal products across income levels, selecting gifts for rewards is becoming increasingly difficult, because most people may already possess items that they receive as a reward. Therefore, experiential products are the most obvious choice. We have a product (with Dominos) that allows pizzas to be gifted over several months or even a year (!) on the basis of a card. Just a single card can give you access to pizza locations across the country. We have created a robust technology platform that offers such prepaid products like movies, coffee and beauty treatments too. The card receiver can go online and choose to watch a movie from an extensive list which has all multiplexes across the country listed. If the card is gifted in Chennai, one can see a movie in Mumbai or any other place. Similarly, for coffee, you can gift an entire year’s supply of coffee, redeemable at over 1500 locations across India. We also have beauty treatments for women or men where we specialize in haircuts, manicure, pedicure and facials and you can gift this across 800 outlets across the country. The best part is that it is all prepaid. Even if you want to gift an employee a household product, use our card and this will allow the user to decide whether he wants the product or a card for pizzas, coffees, beauty treatments, etc.
We have always worked within budgets; we do not have rigid service packages hence, quote is based on the actual service offered. There are obviously some basic deliverables. Our programs can run entirely on the net, entirely mobile, entirely offline or a combination of all these. We design and construct a service package to fit the budget. For example, if someone says he can’t spend more than 10 rupees, then we offer a service that will fit his budget too and does NOT compromise on quality either.
The manner in which R&R programs are managed is still too mechanical. We have a four pronged approach, which is the real differentiator and that keeps us ahead of the pack.
There are companies who offer services in one or the other area of these or a combination of some of these. There are some international players who have recently come to India, like Loyalty One, Payback, Grassroots, etc. Reward Port is the only one that has the most complete bouquet offering a 360 degree service, from concept to fulfillment in all three areas, R&R, loyalty products and services that address the employee, channel partner and the consumer as well as promotions for acquisition.
The way the market is going today is tremendous. Gifting alone is close to 10000 crores right now, which is a huge space. The Loyalty and R&R collectively (including gifting) is pegged at Rs 22,000 crores. At Reward Port, what actually distinguishes us is the fact that we get an opportunity to exercise our creativity.