How to develop a loyalty driven culture?

There are some companies who always get mentioned as examples of companies with great customer oriented cultures: Google, Facebook and Amazon for instance. But one name seems to be mentioned the most: Zappos.


US retailer Zappos (owned by Amazon) sells shoes online and creates a workplace dedicated to great customer service and with that, a famous company culture, even used as a marketing tool. The video below explains the extremely customer focussed culture of Zappos.


Internal stakeholder management


Companies like Zappos are (still) rare. They create loyalty primarily by providing excellent service. For minor corporate gods, making sure the entire organization understands the loyalty program of the company is crucial for the program's success.


The first step is making sure all employees understand the benefits of the loyalty program. If the customer is happy and loyal, the financial results will be better and the communication with the customer will be much smoother.


Especially customer service agents and store assistents, the primary contact points with customers need to understand that a loyalty program members may need to be treated differently than a normal customer (especially if it is a high tier member). In addition, they need to be trained to upsell the loyalty program to first time customers.


Apart from customer service agents and store assistents other stake holders need to be involved as well, from marketing, to finance to IT. The following model may help you manage stateholders.


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Five pillars of stakeholder management[1]


  1. Determine critical priorities: On which stakeholder does the success of your loyalty program depend? In which ways. Which stakeholders are the most crucial and should be involved the most?
  3. Develop a tailored approach for each stakeholder: How can the stakeholder be involved? Which values drives them. E.g. the financial department may be convinced with the fact that a loyalty program increases margins. Customer service like to get a better relationship with their customers while marketing may join if they realize that a good loyalty program in the end frees up resources to acquire new customers.
  5. Execute an integrated engagement strategy: Create a project and communication structure which actively involved the identified stakeholders.
  7. Monitor progress with detailed metrics (and share the results): Organize monthly updates where you share the results of the loyalty program and discuss ways to improve the program.
  9. Build the right capabilities and structures: Processes and IT systems may have to be adapted in order for the loyalty program to become a success.
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