Feature Article - March/April 2017

Creating a 'Wow' Experience

The Emotional & Tangible Benefits of a Peak Reward Program

By Rick Dandes

Another program that comes to mind, Glamann said, "is a yearly health and wellness program that we assist with. The participants have opportunities throughout the year to earn points for completing various lifestyle events and at the end of the year are rewarded for their efforts. The program starts off in a clever way by giving the participants the list of event information as well as a kickoff gift. One year it was infuser bottles, another it was fitness monitors."

The gift is not only useful for the participants, but also ties in thematically with the program, he said. "Throughout the duration of the program, participants can earn extra points from their peers for offering helpful exercise tips or healthy recipes, reinforcing the teamwork aspect and building bonds between co-workers. How cool is that?"

The element of surprise when employees are called into a room to select a gift as a thank you for being part of the team is something that you can't replicate.

Surprise and delight your reward winner to optimize the experience, Luckey suggested. "Maritz put together a Barclay Loyalty credit card program, where three different gift cards were mailed out that said, 'Look, you are a valued customer and we just want to give you a gift, the coffee is on us. They were simple gifts, but people got excited because they didn't expect it. And wow, the credit card company did something neat," she said.

Go the extra mile with superb customer service. You can have the best reward experience planned and if you have someone who is not so great on the phone or something is broken and you have poor customer service, the thrill will be gone. Extend the experience with great customer service. Also make sure everything you do, particularly online, is secure. People are wary of fraud and identity theft.

And finally, Luckey said, you must show continuous improvement. "You can have a program. It can be really great, but you have to keep it fresh and alive. We are working now with a professor from Harvard Business School on our new reward site and doing experiments on how people interact with the site, one image versus another, and then making improvements to our reward site based on that. So just little things that you can do to continually make sure that the experience stays fresh and relevant can add to the surprise and excitement."