The State of Global Loyalty: A Conversation about Latin America
What does customer loyalty look like outside of the US? How are companies around the world addressing the evolving challenges of customer retention? And what can US loyalty marketers learn from their global counterparts?
Welcome to our Global Loyalty Series! Seeking to find those answers, I recently posed questions to loyalty experts in our Maritz Motivation Global Partner Network, challenging them to offer insights unique to their regions around the world.
In his early 20s, Mario founded Promotick, the first loyalty and incentive company in Peru, with his twin brother. They started managing successful programs for big companies in many different industries: banking, airline, supermarket, telecommunications, etc. It didn’t take long before Promotick had expanded throughout Latin America. They currently operate more than a hundred programs in nine countries.
Mario, what are some of the key challenges and opportunities companies in Latin America are facing when it comes to retaining loyalty program members?
One of the biggest challenges that companies face nowadays regarding the retention of users is the amount of loyalty programs that members have access to. Airlines, supermarkets, credit card programs and even smaller niche programs are adopting bigger and more complex offers over time. In this scenario, mechanisms of differentiation need to be more creative and dynamic to keep programs on track. This can be done through the following strategies:
- Increasing use of technology to get ahead of new apps.
- Build a solid structure of data and customer information management to understand their needs better.
- Look for strategic alliances that allows more added value towards customers. A company rarely specializes in all kind of rewards, which is why finding the right partners strengthens the offer of benefits.
How are Latinamerican government regulations influencing loyalty strategies?
In some Latinamerican countries, tax policies are requiring the companies to pay taxes on some rewards redeemed by customers. This makes the products much more expensive and deteriorates the relationship between accumulated points and dollars spent, which in the end lowers the perceived value of the rewards.
Also, there are contingencies in the work environment when giving rewards. Tax collectors make companies pay taxes if an employee receives a reward. As in the previous case exposed, the product gets more expensive and this strategy of motivation becomes non-viable.
What does customer retention mean to you? What does the ideal, loyal customer look like?
For me, loyalty represents the preference for a product, service, or company over time in a constant and sustained way. Understanding the preference as the first option when it comes to the purchase.
Loyalty is the result of giving a good service at a reasonable price. A loyalty program should be built, therefore, after the service has been given efficiently. We cannot pretend to implement a loyalty strategy if we are not capable of giving the product or service offered initially. For example, if we want to implement a loyalty program for a newspaper company, first we must make sure that the delivery of the newspaper is done well and on time every day. Otherwise, the loyalty program will not work.
The ideal customer is one that buys our products steadily and recommends them to others by their own initiative.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you have for loyalty marketers?
When implementing a program, I consider that the following factors will help maximize the chances of its success:
- Understand the customer by using all the information provided. It is important to watch and listen periodically.
- Maintain high levels of communication throughout the duration of the program.
- Utilize different platforms for operation.
- Offer effective customer support.
- Provide ease of use and understanding - clear rules, easy interaction and simplicity.
Finally, what is your wish-list for an ideal loyalty program for Latin American consumers? What would this program look like for participants?
The ideal loyalty program is one that can understand consumer needs and get ahead of them timely. This shows that it understands consumer behavior and preferences. With this initial strategy, the program would always surprise participants with things that are inside their world of expectations.
Another initiative that I would like to see in a loyalty program is the capacity to provide future credit based on my consumption behavior history. For example, if I lack 5% worth of points to obtain a benefit today and my purchase behavior maintains the same for a long time, I would like the program to allow me to use that 5% I need against my future purchases.
About Our Global Partners
Maritz Motivation partners with top loyalty practitioners worldwide as part of the Global Strategic Partner Network. Carefully vetted, trained in Maritz Motivation’s solutions and in regular communication with our solution leaders, Strategic Partners bring geographic market-specific expertise to our global clients.