25Mar

How expert client services results in genuinely happy clients and successful B2B loyalty programmes.  

The key to successful client services is about creating meaningful, long-lasting partnerships with clients based on trust and satisfaction. As with loyalty programmes, great client relationships extend beyond simply transactional interactions. Businesses should aim to build emotional connections, plant seeds of trust from ground zero, cultivate open communication and active listening, and gain a clear understanding of client objectives. 

In this article we discuss how expert client services results in genuinely happy clients and successful B2B loyalty programmes, which deliver on client expectations. 

What are the crucial elements of effective client relationship management in the B2B customer loyalty software sector? 

B2B loyalty is more complex than that of B2C, it goes beyond price, availability, and promotional offers. Personal relationships have a crucial role in a customer's ongoing business with a brand.  

Creating a human connection is vital. Business decisions are not purely rational; emotional factors will often have an influence. Having a personality, creating an emotional connection and building a relationship beyond just the transactional, encourages the following elements: 

  • Trust – our clients need to have confidence that we, and our software, will deliver on what we say we will and meet their expectations.   

  • Effective communications – understanding clients' needs, their concerns and addressing feedback through nurturing open and honest communication allows us to better facilitate collaboration and provide the ability to ‘nip it in the bud’ before a niggle becomes a gripe.  

  • Adaptability and active listening – we all work best in different ways; it is vital that our team can adapt to our clients' needs and ensure that they are feel heard. Issues can arise and, even when you don’t have the answer immediately, it is essential that the client feels they have been listened to, that we have a full understanding of the requirement or challenge so they are reassured that we will provide a solution and are committed to its resolution.   

  • Continuous improvement – actively demonstrating our continuous improvement to the software, ensuring that we are listening to client feedback, incorporating suggestions and proving we are aligned with evolving trends in the industry.  

What are some common challenges your clients encounter when implementing loyalty programmes? How has your team helped clients overcome those challenges? 

Data Dilemmas: 

One of the most common challenges our clients face is the complexities of data or the lack thereof. Data is the lifeline of a loyalty programme, data itself is a source of extensive insights and data knowledge, as it grows and develops, it aids in informing the strategic decisions of your programme. Too often there is no single source of data with differing data formats or there is no ongoing access at all. 

Stream’s Solution: We guide clients in collecting, selecting, and structuring data, ensuring it becomes a strategic asset rather than a bewildering maze. Our useful guides and templates support in guiding clients through data import and making the most out of the data. The key is to understand the unique identifiers that will be used to identify members, link products to sales and link sales or products to members.  

Navigating KPIs: 

Another common challenge is setting relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Loyalty programmes are comprehensive, with B2B programmes holding an added layer of complexity and clients often struggle with defining the metrics that truly matter. Especially if a loyalty programme is a brand-new initiative for a business, clients can often find it challenging knowing where to start with KPIs.  

Stream’s Solution: During our onboarding sessions, our dedicated loyalty specialists will guide clients in identifying the KPIs that align with their vision. Whether it's customer retention, revenue growth, or engagement rates, our helpful insights will help to guide you in curating KPIs, which are not just relevant but also measurable and achievable. 

How does Stream Loyalty create and execute a customer loyalty strategy that aligns with a client's specific business objectives? 

The journey must begin with a thorough understanding of a client's unique challenges and goals – you cannot skip over this in a rush. We delve deep into the business landscape, identifying key areas where a loyalty programme can drive meaningful change. 

Rather than merely rewarding members for their existing behaviours, we focus on pinpointing areas where behaviour change is necessary to address the client's challenges effectively. This may involve incentivising desired actions, such as increasing purchase frequency, expanding product usage, or promoting brand advocacy. One such example from recent conversations was the focus on the ever-growing cost of delivery, where delivery is currently offered free of charge to all B2B customers. Promoting more sustainable delivery options, for example grouping orders together, would see a direct impact on the delivery cost.   

Our approach is centred around crafting strategies that not only reward loyalty but also drive tangible outcomes aligned with the client's objectives. By aligning the loyalty programme with the client's broader business strategy, we ensure that every initiative contributes directly to their success. 

What does the process of implementing a loyalty software solution for a new client include? 

Every new client goes on an onboarding journey with us. It generally spans 8-12 weeks, depending on complexity, and is structured in a way that guides clients through the implementation phase to ensure a successful launch.  

Prior to the project officially getting started, we conduct a ‘pathfinder’ session where we embark on a deep dive into the client's business operations. During this session, our primary goal is to understand our client inside and out, gaining an understanding of their business model, objectives, and challenges, and encouraging an open and candid discussion about their needs, goals, and aspirations. 

The pathfinder session is an opportunity for Stream to collect all the essential project information that will serve as the foundation for planning and configuring the LoyaltyStream® environment.                                  

Shortly after, the project team will meet with the client to hold a kick off meeting to set expectations and clarify the client's responsibilities.  

The format of the onboarding sessions varies based on the client's choice regarding additional support packages. When clients choose not to opt for support packages, our dedicated Stream project team designs these sessions as comprehensive training sessions. The aim is to empower clients with the knowledge and skills needed to confidently progress with the configuration process on their own. 

Conversely, when clients opt for support packages, our project team seizes these sessions as an opportunity to gather all the essential and pertinent information required for us to proceed with the configuration on their behalf. We then conduct an extensive training session, as detailed below, covering the entire system prior to go-live, ensuring that the client's team is thoroughly prepared for the launch and beyond.  

  1. First stop we dive deep into data. In a comprehensive data session, we meet with the client to discuss their data requirements, scope, and review necessary adjustments. Getting the data right is a crucial milestone to the success of the programme.  

  1. With data in hand, we move on to the core configuration settings of the software. We discuss general configuration requirements and guide clients on importing data and setting up internal users.  

  1. Next up is supporting in the crafting of the campaign, the core component of the loyalty programme. A dedicated session focused on discussing campaign requirements and demonstrating how to set them up.  

  1. Creating a distinct programme identity and configuring communications are vital in the next session, we guide the client on setting up the look and feel of their loyalty portal and configuring communications.  

  1. The next session is the one most people want to start with and get most excited by: rewards. What is it that your members are going to receive in exchange for their loyalty currency? Deciding the right rewards is critical. The reward session discusses the reward options available from which Stream can proceed to set up all reward offerings. 

  1. As the pieces come together, we set up the client's reward store and conduct a training session for their ongoing project team to ensure they are well-versed in the system. 

During the implementation period, our well-structured process guides us from laying the groundwork to ensuring that the LoyaltyStream® software is ready for a successful launch. Each step is carefully executed and is enhanced by an extensive library of support documentation to ensure that the client is equipped with the knowledge and tools needed for a seamless loyalty programme implementation.  

What qualities are essential for a role in client services within the loyalty sector? 

Firstly, strong interpersonal skills are paramount. This involves the ability to build and maintain excellent relationships with clients, demonstrating active listening skills and a genuine interest in understanding their needs. 

Additionally, problem-solving abilities are crucial. Clients may encounter various challenges or have specific requirements, and it's essential to be able to explore solutions effectively and address any issues that arise promptly. 

Furthermore, a solid understanding of loyalty principles and theories is key and can be easily learnt. This knowledge provides a foundation for effectively implementing loyalty programmes and ensuring that clients receive the maximum benefit from their programmes and campaigns. 

In what ways can loyalty programme providers meet the evolving requirements of clients? 

Stream is constantly innovating to meet the evolving requirements of clients in customer loyalty by addressing the growing demand for multi-channel integration. We've observed a significant trend among our clients towards integrating their loyalty programmes across various online channels, apps and services and in some instances offline, to better support their business objectives. This integration spans from CRM integrations and marketing automation to Power BI and data warehousing, showcasing the extensive value of loyalty data beyond the confines of the loyalty programme itself. 

Our innovations are centred around enhancing efficiency, aiming to streamline processes for our clients. We're focused on making it easier for them to implement campaigns seamlessly, integrate with their existing systems, and leverage APIs to unlock the full potential of their loyalty data.  

By focusing on these objectives, we aim to not only enhance the functionality of our services but also provide our clients with cutting-edge tools to maximise the effectiveness of their loyalty programmes. 

In conclusion, at Stream, we live and breathe loyalty, and we practise what we preach. Outside of the obvious, i.e. ensuring programmes are considered assets by the business and delivering ROI, success is evident in our clients’ words of appreciation, receipt of referrals, and their testimonials that, to date, have spoken volumes about the value we've added to their businesses. At Stream we strive to have genuinely happy clients. 

About the Author

Mark Maclure

Mark Maclure

Mark is a thought leader and shaper, and regularly speaks at seminars in different industry sectors on loyalty strategy, customer engagement, channel relationships and overall performance improvement.

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LoyaltyStream Key Features

  • 21 loyalty campaign types to suit every business
  • Options to deploy gamification campaigns such as Spin-To-Win and Prize Draws as well as Badges
  • Ability to track and reward all behaviours from transactions to actions
  • In-depth visual analytics and insights on Campaigns, Members, actions and transactions
  • Customisable CRM and segmentation options to suit your Member profile
  • Scalable modular SaaS platform that can grow with your business

 

Contact Us:

+44 (0)1844 208180

contact@streamloyalty.com

Carter House, Chilton Business Centre, Chilton, Buckinghamshire, HP18 9LS

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