Feature Article - May/June 2017

Call On the Experts

IGCC Offers Solutions, Resources on Gift Card Industry

By Deborah L. Vence

Gift cards that are considered to be the most popular depend on the use case and demographic of the recipient population.

The IGCC, she added, will continue seeking these opportunities to raise the security IQ of members and equip them with the most recent strategies.

Another "do" is fulfillment excellence. Each gift card sent in a B2B program is earned. The recipient has done something to qualify.

"Perhaps they referred a good or service to a friend. Maybe they completed a walking challenge for their company. Or they could have taken a test drive at an auto dealership," Gale said. "If the reward doesn't arrive, doesn't work or doesn't meet their expectations, the whole experience is ruined. Every reward must 'work' every time."

Similarly, Harris said that fulfillment and presentation are an important part of the reward and recognition experience.

"The crumpled envelope or the delayed delivery leaves a bad taste in your mouth," she said.

"We had a customer whose provider was not meeting their fulfillment requirements. We were able to quickly and seamlessly switch the fulfillment to our company and we received very positive feedback when the fulfillment experience improved," she added.

Branded experience is another "do." "Make sure that the reward partners that you work with enable a branded fulfillment experience," Gale noted.

"When your company's brand is associated with the good experience of receiving and enjoying a gift card, the recipient will be more likely to remember the action that they took and talk about it positively with their friends and family," she said.

As for the don'ts, "Don't get comfortable," Gale said. "Keep asking clients, partners and recipients, 'What can we do better?' Offer a way for participants to provide feedback on the card selection and redemption flow. And respond to it! 'Set it and forget it' mentalities just won't cut it in modern reward programs. One simple way to keep participants engaged is to bring in new cards or add special offers from time to time."

In addition, "Don't stop looking for innovation," Harris suggested. "Your competitor could soon be 10 paces ahead of you. Always be thinking, 'What are you going to be doing to stay ahead of your competitors?'"

Plus, she added, "Don't stop monitoring either. Always know if your employee demographic is changing so you can continually fine-tune your rewards and recognition programs to maximize appeal and engagement."

Borst noted that the biggest "don't" is to remove your personal preferences from the reward options and only select a mix of gift card rewards that fit the demographic of your program's audience.

"When creating your reward mix, remember that less is more," he said.