Can you explain what your role is in the development of Loyalty Stream?
I am the Product Owner here at Stream. I have spent the last 15 years working in mainly B2B loyalty, designing large-scale enterprise solutions for businesses. Prior to that, I was working on external and internal events and reward and recognition programmes for agencies. I am responsible for ensuring that we have a best-in-class product that has a continuous roadmap of innovation at the same time, balancing product stability, quality and value of each feature.
Can you explain how you design new features for LoyaltyStream?
This is very much a collaborative and iterative process that involves numerous members of the team. I have a roadmap of core product features that we want to develop, based on industry research. This research incorporates our key customer sector challenges and opportunities, competitor research, loyalty industry knowledge and technology innovations.
Every sprint (three-week iteration), we hold a product innovation session with the customer success team. This is the team that is liaising with, and supporting our customers on a daily basis, so they are best placed to provide feedback on pain points, requests and ideas. As well as our standard LoyaltyStream® clients we also have a number of Enterprise clients who are on customised versions of our software. We work closely with these customers every month to design unique and bespoke features that will enhance their members’ experience.
All new features go through a scoring process to determine their value to the business and to our customers. This scoring process takes into account development time, likely usage by customers and what benefit it will deliver to a member or to a brand.
What process do you go through when developing new features?
Once the feature concept has been designed, it will go through to our development team’s Product Scoping session which is held every 3 weeks. These sessions will normally include our Lead Developer, me as Product Owner, our Client Services Director and at least one other developer or account manager.
The feature will be discussed at a high level to determine its complexity and the following aspects of the feature are considered by the team:
- Administration requirements
- Usability by the member
- Integration with other features
- Ability to be deployed onto enterprise platforms
- Reliance on any external technology
- Data requirements
Once these have been considered, a full scope will be written out and circulated for comment. Upon receipt of all the comments and feedback, wireframes will be created and again the feature will be circulated for approval/feedback.
The development team are then tasked with creating the feature scope and User Stories for the feature. It is then assigned to sprints for development and the testing team start to write up the acceptance criteria and testing plans for post development.
Whilst development is underway the marketing and product teams create a draft of the training guides, release notes and marketing and launch plans. These are all firmed up once the feature passes quality testing.
On completion of development, the feature is passed to the testing team for quality approval. All features go back and forth at this stage of internal testing. Once the feature has passed internal testing it is given to the product team for sign off and the ultimate approval that it can be released.
At this point the product and marketing teams liaise with the client services team to agree launch dates and the collateral which needs to be circulated out to clients.
What is your favourite feature so far?
I am immensely proud of our product and the team that have helped to deliver it. This includes everyone from our customer services team to our external and internal product consultants, creative team, development team and of course our quality team. Everyone has a critical part to play in the success of a product. I have two favourite features, both of which have been launched fairly recently to customers.
The first is member badges and the second is our progress tiles. Creating a SaaS solution that still allows brands to customise and personalise their programme to their audiences’ needs and wants is difficult. You have to balance giving flexibility and complexity with keeping the product simple to use.
Our member badges allow brands to customise a badge structure for every campaign that a member can engage in. They can upload their own badges and set the earning requirements for each badge. Members are able to download their badges for use offline and can easily see what they need to do to achieve the next badge in the programme.
Our progress tiles are similar in that they can be linked to campaigns and members’ engagement with the programme. Administrators can change the look and feel of each progress tile and set whether it shows internal or external links, earning date, target data or reward data or simply content. These progress tiles can be placed throughout the microsite to personalise each member’s view of the programme.
What feature are you most looking forward to launching?
LoyaltyStream® Academy is coming up soon and I can’t wait to launch this to clients. This has been a long time in the planning and we are hoping to launch Phase 1 in February with the second phase following not too long afterwards. Loyalty programmes must go beyond transactions and, for our B2B customers, a solid training and recognition tool will help with multiple aspects of the business. Creating a training tool will allow brands to identify their most engaged customers and those that are most likely to act as brand ambassadors. Brands are able to reward members for demonstrating their knowledge or skills in the brand’s products or services.
Which feature will have the most impact on advancing a customer’s engagement in a loyalty programme?
This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on the type of company, the type of loyalty programme and the goals and objectives that have been set. We have numerous features which I believe can really advance a loyalty programme, from segmentation and personalisation to communication strategies, gamification techniques and the plethora of campaigns that are available to customers to deploy. Our client success team liaises with each client every month to ensure that the platform is delivering ROI. They discuss what the businesses challenges are and then recommend the best features to use to deliver value.