The secret recipe to customer retention

During the last six months our consultants have received an unprecedented number of questions from customers asking, “how do I increase customer loyalty?” It seems that Covid, and lockdown, has lead to many people looking at their finances and evaluating their current suppliers of utilities, insurance and mobile services.

Which makes a lot of sense: when you are working from home or have more time on your hands, you start to feel the impact of any poor service and start to question the value you are getting.

So, we asked our experts, consultants who have decades of experience designing retention schemes for service providers, to tell us the secret to increasing customer loyalty.

Stop selling, start listening

People hate the hard sell. It’s always been true, and it’s more true today when they can shop at their own pace online. They especially hate it when they’re already customers and already have a relationship with your company. In fact, we have a few teams here that could be

described as “sales” teams, but they don’t really spend much time selling. If you were to shadow them for the day, you’d see they spend most of their time listening.

They spend a lot of time talking to our clients about what’s going in their business, what they need, and then giving suggestions on how to help – not necessarily trying to sell them a product. To this end, we hire people with empathy and people skills to listen and advise, not just do the relentless, pushy sell.

TOP TIP: Prioritise personal service, an authentic interest in helping your customers achieve or succeed, and a passion for what your company does well.

Be agile

Processes are important but they can’t be prioritised at the expense of quality customer service. Think about the last time you had to on hold for ten minutes, only to end up talking to someone [or a machine] sticking rigidly to a script. It’s unpleasant, it’s frustrating, and worst of all it makes your customers feel like they’re not important to your company.

This harks back to the listening we talked about earlier. People want a chance to explain their questions, problems, or concerns to someone. Having a chance to just say the problem to you is part of the solution. Once it’s out in the open, customer support teams can acknowledge it and be their advocate in fixing it.

There’s no replacement for that sensation. That you have someone on your side, who is willing to side-step rigid process, investigate your question, then give you answers and solutions. And there’s definitely no automated system that can replicate it.

TOP TIP: empower your front line teams to fix problems, quickly without having to go through lengthy processes.

Celebrate everyone

Everyone that interacts with your customers affects retention, not just your frontline sales staff. After all, your customers aren’t only going to be talking to your sales teams. Even if you manage clients through an account manager model like we do, there’s more contact points than just your rep.

In our case, our clients talk to our finance department, they talk to our business support teams, and their customers or employees talk to our end-user support teams about our products.

These interactions all add up to create a perception of your company in your clients’ eyes. What’s the good in having knowledgeable, empathetic, passionate sales staff if your clients find your finance department unbearable? Or if your customer support teams make your customers feel second best? Or if someone’s staff and customers are endlessly dissatisfied with their rewards?

Just as importantly – if you operate an account manager model like we do, how are your client contacts going to see your business if their interactions with you revolve around problems like the ones we just outlined?

Everyone that interacts with your clients’ needs to understand their role in customer retention, and just as vitally, they need to be equipped with the flexibility and skills to fully take part in that role.

TOP TIP: Recognise all employees for their contributions in keeping your customers coming back.

Embrace the little things

Make the details matter. They matter to your customers. When you look at what makes customers loyal to big brands like Apple, one of the things anyone can replicate is paying attention to the little things. Quality of packaging, the design of their stores, the training and motivation of their staff.

Now we can’t all be as fashionable as Apple, but we can act like Apple, all the same.

You can make sure your hold music isn’t rubbish. You can make sure your receptionists are equipped to make your guests comfortable when they visit. You can make sure your customers don’t have to repeat their information and their query when they pass between departments on the phone. You can make sure you remember orders and follow-up with customers when you’d expect to hear from them.

TOP TIP: Paying attention to small details doesn’t just add up to a better experience for your customers, it shows your investment and interest in how your customers experience your company. It all adds up.

Be consistent

Not to blow our own trumpet, but we found that one of the key things that keeps Appreciate Business Services clients coming back is that our products offer a consistent experience. Our customers come to us, and whether they plump for our digital rewards, gift cards or our vouchers, they get something that lets their customers, or their employees, pick a great gift for themselves.

By doing that, we spare every company that comes to us from the need to warehouse a huge selection of gifts for every conceivable audience they interact with. This key component is the same every time our customers come back to get in touch.

Our products, combined with our approach to customer services, is a huge part of what brings our clients back year-in, year-out.

TOP TIP: Whenever your customers come to your business, they need a consistent, repeatable experience.

Over to you

Like many “secret” recipes, it’s not all that secret. We’re not MI6, we don’t have Q sitting in a lab in central Liverpool cooking up secret gadgets and techniques that no one else can access.

Doing the simple things really well, will keep customers coming back year after.

If you want to talk about it retaining more of your customers, get in touch. We’re always happy to listen and talk.

The crucial trick to motivating and engaging your remote teams

A year ago, a great deal of blog space was still being dedicated to pondering and postulating about home working. How will we scale security? Will employees be motivated at home? Will our company culture suffer? Will productivity take a nosedive?

A year later, those questions are going through a global stress test. According to YouGov, 38% of the pre-crisis workforce are now working at home. The interesting part is, they don’t particularly want to go back, either.

A massive majority of workers simply do not want to go back to the office full-time, according to some recent research by Okta. And that’s while the rest of the world slowly takes the shape of normality.

Eggs and flour are regular features on the supermarket shelves again, along with your favourite craft beer and wines. You can even pop out for a pint and see your friends in the park. But the country’s staff aren’t gagging to give up remote working.

What this tells us is that we’re past the point of adjusting to a crisis. The shock has passed, and most of us are pretty happy with this version of “normal,” at least when it comes to our work. That means it’s time to address one of the downsides of a remote workforce – isolation. Our company, Appreciate Group and Appreciate services, have had to address this ourselves and find a way to make sure everyone’s engaged and motivated at home.

Not just the chat and banter, and the office friends. But the sense of camaraderie, company culture, and the feeling that we’re all contributing to something wider than the narrow furrows we plough. The one thing any company can, and should, do to combat the feeling that staff are plugging away in their own little world is communicate.

Communicate to engage a remote team

If it’s not too gauche to blow our own horn, Appreciate, and our parent company Appreciate Group, have done a great job of handling the sudden dispersal of our teams. At group, department, and team levels, we have tactics to keep employees engaged and connected.

Group-level communications

Weekly round ups

Every week, Group and Human Resources put together a round-up of news and views from around the business and push it out to staff. That might include blogs written by people in our company, surveys to get opinions and feedback from staff about their work and their response to Group efforts, news on how the business is responding to COVID-19 developments, and any human resources developments that might affect staff.

Podcasts

Some of the leadership figures around Appreciate have been putting together podcasts talking about what’s happening in their corner of the Appreciate universe. That might be our senior leadership team fielding questions from the staff, our design managers talking about our latest product developments, or even just some stories of kindness to cheer everyone up.

Team/department-level

Meetings are not the word that fills everyone with the sense of thrill and wonder, we know. But we’re not trying to blow anyone’s socks off, we’re trying to keep everyone connected to each other.

Weekly meetings

Weekly meeting are where department-level discussions happen. They’re where we talk about what the individual teams that make up the wider departments are doing, what projects are being delivered, and how we’re performing as a division against our targets. We also run through news, introduce new hires, and talk about what’s happening at Group level and how it might affect our day-to-day work.

Daily meetings

Our daily catch-ups give us a chance to see some friendly, familiar faces, talk about what we’re doing inside and outside of work, gripe about some things, gloat about others. It’s also crucial for making sure everyone is on the same page with their tasks.

Which is useful because one of the of the downsides of working remote is that it’s hard to just turn to someone and ask a question. It’s just that much harder to do that at home.

Having a time every day where you can ask some stupid questions to make sure everything is going in the right direction gives you a bit of psychological runway. That runway pushes back doubt and uncertainty, letting staff get through their work with confidence and satisfaction about their efforts.

Don’t let grumbling put you off

You might be thinking “everyone hates meetings though”. Which might be a fair point, but in our experience everyone’s still on time for them, which wasn’t always the case when they were face to face. And they still contribute.

We’d happily err on the side of having one meeting too many, one podcast too many, one email too many, than risk staff feeling like they’re twisting in the wind or not valued.

And ultimately, that’s what why communication and inclusion produces motivation and engagement. We’re putting every day, every task, every role into a wider context. Showing that other colleagues appreciate and depend on their work, and demonstrating that what they’re doing has value.

Cash-value rewards, recognition software, and incentive systems do work, but only prosper long-term when employees are motivated by more than a transaction. That’s why you need to embrace communication to keep engagement and motivation in good supply in the home office.

It’s not always fancy, but it is effective

The importance of talking and communicating with your staff can’t be understated. These are simple tactics, but sticking with them is how you’ll be able to communicate culture, talk about your values and make sure everyone feels connected.

Like we said in another blog recently, you can’t put this genie back in its bottle. We all know now that we could have done this before. It just won’t be possible to tell a workforce in the future that home working isn’t realistic. At least not with a straight face.

Baking these habits into your company now is how you’re going to keep, and strengthen, company culture and staff morale as you navigate the world during, and after, COVID-19.

As always, if you want to talk about motivating and engaging your staff, get in touch. We’re always happy to chat.

Separate, but together – bringing teams together for the “new normal”

What the world is experiencing now is genuinely unprecedented. Never before have so many people worked in such a separated way, and this rapid change has thrown a raft of issues at businesses.

Whether it’s the tech issues from a suddenly-digital workforce, or the difficulty of creating and delivering digital products, companies around the UK are finding ways to answer new challenges.

But an equally important challenge is finding a way to keep morale, engagement, and a sense of community when everyone’s at home. That’s where employee recognition, including peer-to-peer recognition, shines.

Not just for the crisis either. As we’ll discuss below, there won’t be a return to the “normal” we knew it before this pandemic. A different mentality will be coming back to the workplace, and strong employee recognition is part of building for that future.

Get it right today, for a very different tomorrow

The changes we’re all seeing now are guaranteed to have permanent effects. There are so many rules and rituals from the world of work that we’ve pared away in isolation, it will be impossible to go back like it was before.

That might be your strict office dress code, believing staff can’t work from home, or that families are incompatible with work. Without them, we can see now that these rituals were exactly that – just gestures of mutual comfort. Group therapy.

What holds companies together is the work of employees, the quality of their collaboration, and the relationships between those employees. That’s what’s holding us together right now – good people, good work, and good ideas. And that’s why this time is so vital to every business.

When the physical offices do start to re-open, we can’t put this genie back in the bottle. You can’t un-see a CEO, or department head, delivering his monthly update with his toddler on his lap. We can’t un-learn that we’re all capable of working at home. We can’t believe that a tie makes anyone better at their job.

Embracing recognition, and making it a fundamental part of how your business interacts, has always been a vital building block in employee engagement. Right now, it’s also an important part of forming a foundation that your company can build on for later. A central, accessible recognition platform makes that task much easier.

With that in mind, we’ll outline how your company will benefit from recognition during the lockdown, and in the future.

Building vital connections in difficult times

The fundamental core of recognition, particularly social recognition, is connection and communication. The very things that we’re all struggling with right now, if we’re honest. Recognition affects the quality of the connection between colleagues, their work, and their company.

Connection to colleagues

With office workers flying solo, it’s important to make sure everyone still knows their work is important and treasured. Sat in the home office, filing your work digitally, it’s easy to feel a bit disconnected. It’s also easy to feel like no one’s noticing your best efforts.

As we’re always so eager to point out, nothing makes someone feel valuable quite like gratitude. Putting that gratitude in a public forum gives it more weight – not only is their work prized by their colleagues, those colleagues feel it merits wider recognition. While we’re apart, physically, this is exactly the kind of positive communication that keeps us feeling together.

Even your furloughed employees can benefit from recognition. By making them a part of your recognition programme, it’s clear they’re not in the cold right now.

For some people, the idea of furlough might sound like a luxury, but for many employees it’s immensely stressful to feel like they’re not contributing. Recognition and inclusion now will be a game-changer in their mentality when they come back in to work.

Connection to the organisation

While our platform puts the focus on recognition between employees, managers have a vital role to play in recognition as well.

During this time, they’re the key link between an employee and their business. An avatar of your company itself. This gives them a unique responsibility. Not only are they now a vital link between staff and their company, but they’re also a vital link between staff and their work.

Recognition contextualises efforts, making it clear that work is important to wider departmental and company-wide efforts. Making sure good work is recognised, and contextualised, helps keep employees from developing tunnel vision about their work, seeing it box-ticking and task-completion.

A great deal of the satisfaction of good work is its contribution to an achievement bigger than ourselves. Managers recognising the work of their team is an opportunity to bring that to life. In turn, staff maintain a sense of connection to the importance of their contributions, and their place in the business.

Connection to values

Talking to our clients and peers in other businesses, one of the most common things we hear is the absolute, imperative need to just get work done. Vital, business-securing work. Under that kind of strain and pressure, it’s easy to justify thinking that the ends justify the means.

In that kind of environment, and without the feeling of supervision staff get from a physical office, values might be put aside. They might feel like distant concepts for a different situation. We both know, that’s not true. The crux of what we’re saying here is that they matter as much as ever.

If staff see, and learn, that enough pressure is a justifiable reason to set your values aside, they won’t be so hesitant to do it again. Recognition, however, keeps a connection to those values alive by linking them to employees’ positive efforts.

Platforms like Shout channel expressions of recognition through company values, making both elements public. This makes sure all those achievements, all the examples of collaboration, have a clear connection back to your business’ values. This keeps the values alive in the minds of your staff.

It’s not just about projecting ideas on to staff, though; workplace communication has to be a two-way street. And public recognition is your chance to listen.

Social recognition is also a chance to listen

An active peer-to-peer recognition platform makes an excellent listening tool, on top of its value in communication to staff. As employees document the achievements of their colleagues, they document what’s important to them.

Logging into the Appreciate Group recognition platform now, it’s clear what matters to our staff. Some are thanking their colleagues for keeping the lines of communication open. Some are grateful for a fast-fix to a bug on the Love2shop app. Others are just grateful that IT is providing their VPN connection. It’s a simple temperature-check for what’s going on with our peers.

Collectively, these are evidence of the kind of challenges our colleagues are dealing with, what’s most pressing to them, and what they’re most energised about fixing. You can be empathetic to what’s happening and what’s on the minds of your staff without having to continually quiz them.

And right now, what could be more valuable to your employees than a bit of empathy?

The best time to plant a tree….

As we’ve been keen to stress, right now is a crucial time to act. The workforce that walks back into the office in three, six, or nine months’ time isn’t going to be same people that went home with their laptops in March.

The strength of how they return will depend on the foundations that every business lays now, including how you embrace recognition as a core component of employee communication and collaboration. Recognition alone isn’t the answer. But it’s a vital part of a wider engagement and communication strategy that will make your company stronger when we all come back to work down the line.

As ever, if you want to talk about it, we’re here for you. Use the contact details on this page, or shoot us a question in the live chat, and we’d be happy to talk.

Customer recognition matters too – here’s what you need to know

When it comes to recognition, a lot of time and energy is spent on focusing on employees – and with good reason, if we’re honest. Each employee that feels valued and important to the organisation is more likely to work hard, stay focused and stick around. But if it works so well for employees, why not shift the focus to recognising customers too?

We all like to feel appreciated in all areas of our lives. From the thank you from our significant other for finally moving those boxes to the attic through to a nice thank you card on our doormat, we all like to feel recognised. This love of recognition doesn’t disappear when we make a purchase, recommend a friend or spend in store.

That’s why businesses all over the world are introducing customer loyalty programmes and reward schemes – and customers are snapping them up. According to 3Cinteractive, 64 percent of brands reported an increase in loyalty programme membership over the last year.

But apart from a warm inner glow from being kind, why invest? In short – it’s worth your while. Household name brands like Sky and Subway have stated that they use their schemes to stem customer churn and increase purchases. It seems it pays to be nice!

How to recognise customers that stick around

There are many schemes you can run, but choosing the right type of customer reward is really the key to your success.

When asked, in a survey, “What reward type would be the most appealing”, 59.5% stated a discounted product or service and 28.7% choose a gift – but interestingly, that doesn’t mean you have to turn to your own inventory of stock. In fact, offering rewards outside of your core product could increase loyalty.

Consider a reloadable loyalty card which can be used at multiple stores. This gives customers the means to make discount savings on everyday expenses or an item of luxury, or allowed to accumulate over time as they continue to frequent your business without eating into your own profit margins.

Need more evidence? Research shows that 69% of loyalty programme members in the UK agreed that the value of an initiative drops if they are presented with a limited number of rewards.

Simply, you don’t have to offer rewards that are just discounts on items sold in your business.

For instance, insurance companies and banks offering cashback and vouchers and deals with cinema chains and eateries. The most prominent players in marketing understand that tying your business to another is not only a smart move, it could be highly profitable.

Consumers appreciate flexibility and versatility. If you can keep them engaged with your brand, you’ll stand out, even in the most saturated sectors.

About the author:

Elaine Keep is the owner and director of Incentive & Motivation, among the longest standing titles in the employee and customer reward space catering to HR pros. Elaine is also the founder of Your Marketing Managed,  offering marketing management, content production and copy writing services.

Why some recognition schemes just don’t work – are you guilty of these 3 little mistakes?

We all want a successful recognition programme in place. After all, the aims of any reward and recognition programme are all about benefits. Benefits to employees, your business, even employee acquisition and retention.

However, the sad fact is that some recognition programmes just don’t work. The results you’re looking for don’t come. If you’ve launched an employee recognition scheme without success, don’t lose heart – just change your tactics.

Recognition schemes tend to perpetuate a number of common mistakes. See if you can spot yourself on this list.

You don’t consult employees

Employees are at the heart of your business, so it makes sense that when you recognise them, you are giving them what they actually want as opposed to what you think they need. It isn’t just about the recognition on offer, but also about how you reward.

If your current plans include a big song and dance and company presentation, you may have your introverts hiding under the table to avoid something that makes them squirm.

If you decide to reward top performers with an annual exotic break, single parents and carers are probably sighing in exasperation.

Consulting employees with a survey, or getting to grips with what gets them going face-to-face, is the only way to get a real understanding of what your employees want. You might even be surprised that it’s predominantly verbal recognition and respect that resonates most with your teams.

Then, when you’re putting your recognition plans together, make sure you carefully consider what your employees have told you and plan accordingly.

Your communication is too sparse

We know that communicating recognition often feels low priority, but every business gets busy. If you have a recognition and reward programme in place, there can never be too much communication around it.

Tell your new employees. Remind your current employees. Shout about the winners and highly commended team members in your newsletters, meetings and noticeboards, even on social media.

A recognition programme ceases to be relevant when it’s not top of mind. Keep it fresh and breathe life into it – harness your marketing team to get it alive and kicking once again. Making it a priority is essential for your managers as well and now is the time to reiterate why recognition is so vital to your business.

You rely on manual intervention

We mentioned that your business is busy, but if you rely on manual work to keep your recognition programme going, it’s always going to fail in some way unless you are hyper-vigilant. Technology is the answer.

Recognition platforms are available to help you reward and recognise employees and improve the morale in your company.

Technology allows you to take a step back and introduce employee-led elements into the programme, whether that’s a peer-to-peer mechanic, leader boards, real-time engagement or the ability to self-select rewards. Technology can simplify employee recognition and make it more effective.

Remember that when it comes to recognising employees, the whole point is to ensure that employees are in the spotlight for the work that they do. Make sure that they receive valuable recognition and rewards in a way that works for them, and you’ll find your employees are more productive, happier and even healthier, resulting in sustained business success.

About the author:

Elaine Keep is the owner and director of Incentive & Motivation, among the longest standing titles in the employee and customer reward space catering to HR pros. Elaine is also the founder of Your Marketing Managed,  offering marketing management, content production and copy writing services.

The 15 most popular Appreciate blogs of 2019

Through 2019 we’ve published plenty of blogs. News, opinions, guides, resources and more. We’ve put together the most popular blogs from 2019, all in one place in case you missed anything during the year.

Our biggest blogs of 2019

Rewards and incentives: how they’re different and how to use them

Read time: 5 minutes

“Incentives tempt employees to go the extra mile and push for crucial results. The rewards are what thanks employees for hard work, whether they’re linked to an incentive or not. This blog goes into more detail about the difference between the two, when you’d use them, and how employee recognition fits into the mix.”

Read the full blog

Everything you need to know about social recognition in five minutes

Read time: 5 minutes

“Having a coherent understanding of social recognition, and employee recognition, isn’t negotiable any more. Your leaders need it. This blog outlines the basics of social recognition. Get to grips with the idea in just five minutes.”

Read the full blog

Service awards should start at one year. Here’s why:

Read time: 3 minutes

service awards should start at year one“Service awards are something we always advocate for. But most companies leave it a few years to get them started. We see our clients waiting until an employee has five, ten or even 20 years of service before they start recognising their staff. In our opinion, that’s far too late.”

Read the full blog

Seven easy tricks to improve employee long service awards

Read time: 8 minutes

“Whether you have no formal long service award scheme, or you have a feeling your scheme is lagging behind, you’re in the right place. Read this blog and get a grip on how to schedule, structure and fulfil your employee long service awards.”

Read the full blog

How about colleague of the month instead of employee of the month?

Read time: 5 minutes

“A lot of you want an employee of the month scheme. We’ve got the blog traffic on Google Analytics to prove it. While we’re always happy to help our clients set one up, we’ve actually have been wondering if you should be searching for colleague of the month schemes instead.”

Read the full blog

A useful employee engagement definition in plain English

Read time: 5 minutes

“An employee engagement definition can get complicated. As complicated as someone wants it to be, really. It’s the kind of concept that becomes nebulous and hard to pin down once someone dresses it up too much. We’ve got a simple, workable employee engagement definition. And a bit of detail on why a simple definition matters.”

Read the full blog

Eight sales promotion ideas you need to steal

Read time: 5 minutes

“Stand-out sales promotion ideas change the game for consumer-facing businesses. You, like any business, are locked in the endless struggle to secure fresh sales. No matter what else you do as a business, you’ll eventually live and die on actually making some sales.”

Read the full blog

The best guide to understanding employee rewards you can read in 10 minutes

Read time: 10 minutes

get a grip on employee rewards without hitting the books“Employee rewards are vital to your employee recognition and benefit mix. Getting the most from your rewards means getting to grips with the basics of using them. Enjoy the full rundown on what you need to know about employee rewards. In this blog, we cover the what, why, when and how fundamentals of rewards.”

Read the full blog

Everyone forgets one important thing about plastic gift cards

Read time: 4 minutes

plastic gift cards can be reloadable“Plastic gift cards can be reloadable! We want to banish the idea that plastic gift cards are single-use, disposable products. We stock reloadable gift cards that offer real long-term value. Reloading takes a one-off gift and turns it into a reward mechanism that works for years.”

Read the full blog

How to write a simple employee recognition letter to thank and congratulate your staff

Read time: 4 minutes

“An employee recognition letter is a powerful tool for expressing your gratitude for staff. Taking the time and effort to put one together goes a lot further than just a hasty “thank you”. Follow our simple guide, and you’ll knock it out of the park.”

Read the full blog

Fourteen effective ways to improve staff retention and slash your recruitment budget

Read time: 10 minutes

“The stats show that employee turnover is a giant financial burden to the nation’s employers. In 2016 alone, one in seven UK employees resigned from a position. The good news is many problems that cause high turnover are avoidable. Start with the idea we lay out here.”

Read the full blog

You’re killing staff morale without even realising it, and we can explain how

Read time: 5 minutes

“Staff morale is an insidious crisis. As we’ve pointed out before, up to half of your staff are thinking about leaving. Keeping those employees in your business, and happy to be there, needs to be top priority. There are nine ways you could be destroying staff morale without even knowing you’re doing it.”

Read the full blog

How to ensure your employee recognition scheme is a success

Read time: 15 minutes

you absolutely have to know five things about employee recognition“Having constant flow of employee recognition is vital to productivity, engagement, morale and retention. You’re doomed if you ignore it while your competitors embrace it. This blog gives covers the fundamentals of what everyone, from middle management to CEOs, needs to know about employee recognition.”

Read the full blog

Your staff incentive scheme: What you wanted, and what you got instead

Read time: 5 minutes

“There’s a good chance you won’t get what you want from the scheme. It’s no reason to be downbeat, it happens a lot. What you expect to see from a scheme just isn’t always what it delivers. This article will jog you through what you wanted, what you got instead, and how you can improve in the future.”

Read the full blog

Rewarding employees: 6 times you should step in and break out the rewards

Read time: 3 minutes

“You have to capitalise on the moment to make rewarding employees count. The best time to be there with a reward is when the dopamine rush of achievement is still whizzing through your employee’s brains. Here are six occasions you need to be recognising and rewarding employees. There’s more to this than just hitting a sales target.”

Read the full blog

You could have had your say, too

Your writing could be on this list, if you’d have submitted a piece. The Appreciate blog is open to submissions from guests. Read more about what we’re looking for, and how you can help us out, here.

8 reasons you can’t afford to ignore recognition

If there’s one place to start to improve your company culture, it’s staff recognition. And the stats prove it.

We have eight key staff recognition stats in this blog that show how much you stand to gain from embracing recognition.

Recognition affects key areas in your business like:

 

Employee retention

Employee recognition improve retention
*2015 SHRM/Globoforce survey

Recognition reduces turnover
*Bersin by Doloitte research

Productivity

Recognition improves productivity
*2015 SHRM/|Globoforce survey


Customer service

Appreciation improves customer satisfaction
*SHRM/Globoforce survey 2012


Employee happiness

Values-based thanks drives employee happiness
*2015 SHRM/Globoforce survey

Recognition adds humanity to the workplace
*2015 SHRM/Globoforce survey


Employee engagement

Improve employee engagement with recognition
*2015 SHRM/Globoforce survey

Improve engagement with recognition
*SHRM 2012 survey

 

As the stats show, every company needs to be thinking about employee recognition. There are clear arguments for the benefits of embracing recognition, so why not put these to your senior leadership team?

 

 

Customer retention programmes – Think different before it’s too late

Customer retention programmes are the battleground in a global scramble to keep more customers. Businesses around the world are desperate to drive down customer churn, and they’re dying to make customers more valuable in the long term.

To do that, they’re increasingly turning to retention schemes.

Consumers are making a move, too. 64% of brands in 2018 reported an increase in users coming into their customer retention programmes. Both sides of the equation are acting. Which begs the question – are you? And, vitally, are your competitors?

To be different, think different

The market for customer retention programmes is getting hotter. And with greater competition comes the need to match the creativity and invention your competitors bring to the field. You need to rethink your approach to customer retention to find a place in today’s market.

That means putting aside some old ideas on hoarding customers. This blog will take you gently through what you need to know about that before planning an in-depth customer retention approach.

Don’t try to hoard customers, develop them

Try to think of your customers the same way you might think about money. It’s all well and good accumulating it, but you need to make some investment decisions with it once it’s in the bank.

Customers aren’t that much different – and the industry is moving to think about what to do with customers once they’re with your company.

You don’t want your customers to be the proverbial cash stuffed into the mattress. You want them to be active and working for you like well invested money. And vitally, becoming more valuable as time goes on.

Advocates are the customer retention end game

What you’re ultimately trying to create through your retention programme is advocates. By advocates, we mean people who will speak on behalf of your brand.

The marketplace for any product is loud, crowded and full of other brands desperate for attention. It’s a huge help when your customers are enthusiastic enough to promote your brand to their peers or colleagues.

This is why it’s so important to invest in developing customers. They go from strangers, to customers, to repeat customers, to true believers. Once they’re emotionally and personally invested in your brand, they’ll promote you to their peers.

For loyalty schemes, this is now the benchmark. It’s what your competitors will be aspiring to achieve. Not embracing better customer retention schemes will eventually put you at a disadvantage.

Tap into emotions and enhance lifestyles

Developing how customers feel about your brand is vital. To develop real emotional investment from customers you need to think outside the box. Go a little bit further than just offering rewards.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with rewards. Rewards are great! We’ll always be advocates for what good rewards can do for customer retention.

But what you do with those rewards needs a bit of imagination. Bring value, investment and exclusivity to your customers’ lives.

M&S, for instance, runs a loyalty scheme that doesn’t offer any traditional rewards for points banked. They run offers like exclusive access to events, promotions or sales. Exclusives they’d get nowhere else, and a reason to prioritise M&S when shopping. That’s value added to the lifestyle of their customers. In turn they create a more emotional investment in their loyalty.

Take a slice of their lead. Consider how your brand affects the lives of your customers. Take that and see how you can bring value, exclusivity and joy into their lives.

You will most likely want to incorporate rewards into that mix, but you don’t have to limit yourself to that.

Get the basics right

However high-minded and ambitious your approach to customer retention is, the basics still matter.

Put the foundations in place and you can build on them. Your creative and imaginative programmes will be underpinned by the fundamentals.

Name your customer retention programme

Come up with a strong name for your customer retention programme. Some companies rely on a simple extension of their company name. M&S for instance, calls their loyalty program Sparks.

Others get a bit more creative. Nissan, by comparison, calls one of their loyalty programmes One to One, to drive home the kind of customer relationship they’re trying to build.

Again, the need to create a connection with your audience gives you the opportunity to be creative. Grab it!

Lay the mechanics out

Make the route to the prize, whatever it is, very obvious to the users. Don’t leave anything a mystery to your audience.

Make any processes extremely clear. You won’t get much value in leaving things a mystery when there’s so much competition. When customers get confused or frustrated, they just abandon the process.

Give your members choice

Almost all of our reward catalogue is founded on putting the power to choose in someone’s hands.

Limited choice in a scheme can discourage users from investing their emotions and time in a programme. Choice, on the other hand, is almost synonymous with possibility.

Keeping possibility alive keeps the customer’s imagination engaged.

Make the benefits clear

Like we said earlier, there’s no real benefit to hoarding ideas from your programme users. Mysteries are for novels and games.

Your customer retention programmes need to be unerringly clear about what the users can expect to get out of them.

Practice joined-up thinking

Consider how the customer retention programme might affect other marketing efforts. Make sure they line up properly.

For instance, a special promotion might line up with an annual promotion or a Christmas event, a trade conference, or a relevant sporting event. Synch your calendars to make sure everything makes sense.

It damages investment in your programme and your company when they look as if they’re badly planned or lack for internal attention.

Your next move

Get the fundamentals right, then measure and learn as you go.

If you want to talk, talk to us. Our business development teams have decades of experience helping clients reward and retain their customers.

Give us a call, send an email, or use the live web chat on this page.

4 frightening outcomes of a recognition-deficient culture

As Halloween approaches, many companies will be planning some spooky fun. From dressing up to creepy cupcakes, being creative and celebrating together boosts morale.

Scheduled events like this are a great way to build a fun ‘together’ culture. Something which organisations across the world are spending more time and energy into developing.

Creating an environment where employees can thrive, be happy and produce their best work is a holy grail for people leaders. And it’s a key factor in commercial success.

A number of factors help curate those positive cultures. And one area that increasingly gets recongised for its positive impact is recognition itself.

Numerous studies have highlighted the amazing benefits that recognition-rich cultures have on workforces. It’s a primary driver of long-term employee engagement.

Of course, recognition might not directly influence all measures of engagement or working culture. But a lack of recognition can lead to a chain of negative emotions and behaviours. For example, feeling underappreciated can lead to demotivation, which can impact everything from mood to diet.

With that in mind, here’s a look at four scary outcomes for workplace cultures that fail to adequately recognise employee contributions.

1. Low employee engagement

Let’s start with the big one. Employee engagement describes the extent to which employees feel truly passionate about their jobs, their commitment to creating great outcomes and how much effort they’re likely to put in on a day-to-day basis.

Organisations with highly engaged workforces have been shown to be more profitable. As a result, companies struggling to engage staff can expect negative outcomes. From high voluntary turnover to low productivity and reduced customer satisfaction.

The importance of the role recognition plays in driving engagement was highlighted in Aon’s 2018 Trends in Global Employee Engagement report. The report noted rewards and recognition as “the strongest driver of engagement”.

Gallup estimates that around 16% of the workforce is actively disengaged with over half just ‘turning up’. While factors such as poor leadership and development opportunities are also key, recognition has a pivotal role to play in turning ‘working for a pay cheque’ into ‘loving my job’.

2. A lack of trust

One survey from Tolero confirmed this. 45% of employees they asked said that a lack of trust in leadership was the biggest issue impacting their work performance.

Employee recognition has a big role to play here as it builds that trust between employees and management. Leaders with a knack for showing appreciation for effort and achievement will find their teams performing higher. And find them more willing to overcome hurdles – even during challenging periods.

And the direct act of recognition is the only element that builds trust. The feel-good vibes and positivity that flow in appreciative cultures increase trust between colleagues and management.

3. Low motivation and productivity

Motivation links intrinsically to productivity, and motivation inspires employees to meet deadlines and deliver results.

Organisations where staff members, whole teams or even an entire workforce lacks motivation are going to massively struggle to meet any of their corporate aims.

This ‘demotivation’ causes a deep lack of interest in and enthusiasm for work. It stunts individual productivity and affects business results. It’s one of the biggest causes for a bad atmosphere in the workplace.

And research shows not celebrating work outcomes and behaviour makes low motivation more likely.

4. Forgotten values and purpose

A culture that doesn’t appreciate or celebrate behaviours makes it difficult to embed company values.

On a basic level, employees need to understand how their actions and attitude at work are driving your company to a single aim. And understand how that behaviour fits into your company values.

Values-based recognition, where recognition links back to a company value, reinforces those values. This approach then makes it more likely and enables employees to continue to promote that value.

Will engagement give you a scare soon?

How active is your organisation when it comes to promoting recognition as a core fundamental of your working culture?

Do you have the tools in place to enable managers and empower colleagues to make showing appreciation for one another part of their daily routine? Find out more about how social recognition software can deliver for your business.

About Workstars

Workstars is the first global social recognition platform. Putting employee engagement and positive workplace culture to the heart of every HR strategy. Their market-leading technology is the heartbeat of our own social recognition platform, Shout!.

find out if you can use Love2shop vouchers online

Can you use Love2shop Vouchers online?

The short answer is no, there’s no way to use Love2shop vouchers online.

That’s not the end of the story though. For anyone in need of an online reward, our catalogue has you well and truly covered.

Love2shop Gift cards can be spent at selected online retailers

Love2shop Gift CardsThe Love2shop Gift Card is one of the most popular rewards in the UK right now. It’s a powerful mutli-retailer reward option.

On top of to the 95+ in-store places to spend our gift cards, you can spend them on the websites of selected retailers.  We partner with a select group of online stores, who take our card direct on their websites. That includes popular brands like Argos and MasterChef.

See the full list of retailers and online spend available on our gift card here.

E-gift cards come with online retailers

Love2shop Gift Cards also give recipients access to our e-gift cards. E-gift cards are digitally-delivered gift cards than can be spent online and in-store.

Using our mobile app or Love2shop.co.uk, card holders swap the value of the funds on their Love2shop Gift Card for an e-gift card of equivalent value.

The e-gift card arrives over email, along with easy three-step instructions on how to redeem it online or in person.

The Love2shop E-gift Card range is a thrilling blend of high street brands, online shopping, exclusive experiences, dining out and more.

Combined with our direct online spend options, there’s plenty of online rewards available through the Love2shop Gift Card. All while keeping an in-store spend option.

Read more about the Love2shop Gift Card and its online features here.

Fully digital rewards with Evolve

Digital RewardsIf online is your destination, why not start there?

Our digital rewards platform, Evolve, is based around digital reward codes. Distributed instantly through SMS or email, the codes unlock a giant catalogue of rewards.

Once in the catalogue, your recipient just picks the reward at the value they want. We handle everything else.

Our codes are lightning fast, and incredibly simple. They’re a great option for a business that needs to send rewards fast to just about anyone, anywhere.

Going fully digital also doesn’t cost the end user anything, in cost or choice. A huge reward catalogue is available to anyone with a Love2shop Reward Code.

They can keep the whole reward redemption online, or order their own vouchers or gift card from the catalogue. And as we said above, we handle all the delivery for you.

Read more about the Evolve platform here.

Going online with Love2shop

While you can’t use a Love2shop voucher online, Love2shop’s selection of rewards very much has a home in the digital world.

Whether you need the tactile pleasure of delivering a gift card that accesses digital rewards, or you want to sit fully in the digital world, we have something for your audience.