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Loyalty Solutions only Succeed in Mature Organizations

The Success of Loyalty and Community Solutions depends on the maturity of the organization.  Creating and implementing a Loyalty program is not just about adopting a software platform or installing a new CRM software.

Yes, technology definitely plays a big part. But successful implementation of new digital strategies relies even more on the organization’s maturity, and the people in the implementation team.   Maturity doesn’t mean age, but stage of evolution.  During QUAXAR’s 8 years of working in this field we have come to realize that there are 5 key elements in reaching the organization maturity necessary for the successful implementation of Loyalty and Community programs.

1.    Process maturity.  The organization must have basics procedures in place, and be used to working with institutional procedures.  Many organizations don’t have the time or the interest in developing business processes and rely on a single person or a system that is vulnerable and has been in place for a long time.  On the other hand, there are organizations that have very clear business processes, with accompanying manuals, training and operational procedures.  Normally they reach this institutionalism through a certification process or simply because a leader within the company understands the importance of process maturity to the growth, scalability and well being of the organization.  Without process maturity, a Loyalty Program cannot help the company grow, and the lack of discipline and processes can lead to a failed implementation, lost investment, and all-round disappointment.

2.    Sense of urgency.  There is no greater asset than the sense of urgency in an organization.  An engaged organization, aware of deadlines, always looking for an edge and sensitive to potential business risks are clients we love to serve.  Loyalty Programs are not complex to implement but they require engagement and a turnaround time of approximately three months.  If there is an organizational mentality of “para mañana” (or, “leave it for tomorrow”) the project will not be successful, and there is a high probability of failure.  We love nervy companies not satisfied with the pass and that have an urgency to win all the time.

3.    Web technology competency.  To build an effective, efficient and scalable Loyalty Program you need technology.  Barber shops had great loyalty programs that were a one man show, more commonly known as the owner!  You can manage an informal loyalty program if your customer base numbers in the hundreds of people. But if you have a customer base in the tens or hundreds of thousands, web technology is a must.   If the organization is not used to computers, emails, and web applications the adoption process will be a steep learning curve thanks to the intensive training needed, as well as the lengthy set-up of the required infrastructure.  Frankly, any organization operating these days without web competency is unlikely to meet any of the other 4 measures of organizational maturity.

4.    Solid Team Dynamics.  A good Loyalty program requires the involvement of people from every level of the organization, from cashier to CEO. It also draws on the many organizational disciplines, including marketing, sales, accounting and HR.  If the organization is not used to delegating and including a diverse team in major projects, the loyalty program will not be successful. Those organizations that rely on a single person to get things done are unlikely to see a successful outcome.

5.    Level 1 Leadership.  Finally, but most importantly, we’re looking for “Level 1 Leadership”. This concept, defined by the book “Good to Great”, places success on the shoulders of a humble, patient, sharp-minded leader who knows how to manage expectations, empower a team, and follow through. Without such a leader it’s difficult to put the other 4 elements of organizational maturity in place.  When we meet a prospective client that is weak in 3 or 4 elements but has great Leadership, we get on board.  However, if we’re faced with a company that has 3 or 4 elements set but lacks leadership, we’ll wait for the next ride to come along.  As luck would have it, we’ve never come across a prospective client in that situation. It’s a pretty strong bet that in a company with strong processes, a keen sense of urgency, solid teamwork and a good awareness of technology, there’s a great leader at the wheel.