Choosing a loyalty technology service provider is an essential building block to achieving program success. Whether an in-house built/managed solution or outsourced licensed platform, the expense and associated demand on resources is extensive.
When considering a change to your loyalty platform a clear vision for future state requirements is essential to inform who you should reach out to as a potential long-term partner. This provides a guide for you and your team to help ensure you make the right choice against defined evaluative criteria and achieve a smooth transition from the current service model.
Reasons for Switching
Switching loyalty technology solutions is not an easy task. To recap, here is a guide to building the business case for making this type of essential move:
- The solution in place today does not provide advanced feature/functionality that can help drive program success.
- The program design/strategy and ability to innovate is constrained by lack of development resources with the expertise you need, or poor turnaround to go live.
- The solution is inadequate (weak digital integration, scalability) and cannot support customers/members ever evolving needs for real-time, interactive, adaptive response
- The solution is weak by comparison to what your competitors are delivering every day
- The solution today has a weak support model, way too much break/fix or the back-end logic you bought or built is forcing you to do way too much manually every day
- The program is working, but the price/value is at a premium. Perhaps a weak return on investment; or market pricing has changed significantly in recent years – you are paying a premium by retaining the incumbent or being charged for internal overhead
- The program’s KPIs are slowing down, zero to no growth. Technology is constraining program potential. It’s worth exploring whether a new service provider may be the key to lifting member vs. non-member metrics.
- Platform not meeting defined Service Level Agreement standards, personnel assigned turning over too often, not providing timely/responsive thought leadership.
- The solution in place has services you are not likely to use anytime soon.
- You need to cut the budget and deliver and even better ROI consistent with your financial model projections – if there is a gap, time to plug it .
The Business Case for Change
Creating the business case to change loyalty technology providers is a process that may take strong justification to make it happen.
First, identify and document the functional gaps in the current CRM/Loyalty SaaS solution (technology and services). Next, document the effort required to solve those gaps – and whether they are internally funded or supported by the service provider.
A financial pro forma should be developed to demonstrate better ROI through a more advanced feature/functional set of capabilities, as well as the benefit from lower cost solutions vs. siloed solutions (example: POS + Loyalty).in operating costs.
Finally, determine the specific timeframes that must be met for a switch/upgrade. These need to take into account other corporate initiatives and renewal timing/contractual considerations.
When looking at a program re-fresh associated with benefits, value proposition, member experience, experiential rewards, greater social engagement, strong synergy or differentiated value from proprietary credit and/or co-brand card this too would support new technology sourcing in the loyalty platform space.
The following provides a vision on the overall process flow for switching loyalty solution providers. It begins with determining the reasons for switching and, importantly, asks if the issues can be solved with your current set up. If not, identifying potential new partners and developing a loyalty technology RFI/RFP is an important next step.
One thing to consider when considering switching loyalty technology providers is your program change spectrum. This determines how extensively you are willing or desire to change your program strategy, design or functionality. By switching, are you planning to significantly revamp the program, make specific changes, or keep the essentials intact?
Another consideration is the solution integration strategy. Switching could require centralizing or decentralizing the solution. Are you planning to make a wholesale change from one provider to another? Are you planning on extricating only the area(s) of concern from one partner? If so, are you placing those with another partner or splitting them up and placing with different partners? Or, finally, are you planning to consolidate functions under one partner? Lots of options – map them out!
Finally, here is a checklist to help navigate this process to consider a change in loyalty technology providers:
Align senior leadership
Assess the current state
Identify the gaps in the current loyalty solution
Build the business case for switching
Initiate new vendor partner search
- Loyalty Technology RFI/RFP development and management
- List of best-in-class providers
- Develop use cases and customer journeys to assess potential solutions
Finalize the deal
- Solution evaluation
- Price/service negotiations for maximum value
- Contract and timeline
For assistance in navigating the process of switching loyalty technology partners or initializing a search for partners, please contact us at Ascendant Loyalty, we would be glad to help as we’ve done it at global scale for over 20 years.