Hyper-Personalized Communications Take Loyalty Into Hyper-Drive

Group FiO was founded a decade ago to provide businesses with the tools they need to strengthen customer relationships and drive brand loyalty. The technology company offers clients capabilities to provide omnichannel experiences, bringing together data from all touchpoints along a customer’s journey to create hyper-personalized experiences that keep consumers engaged and active.

Loyalty360 CEO Mark Johnson spoke with Ravi Srinivasan, President & CEO for Group FiO, about the company’s customer loyalty platform and personalization tools, as well as trends they are seeing in the customer loyalty industry. Srinivasan is passionate about how companies interact with consumers. As an engineer with a history in manufacturing, retail and distribution, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the loyalty sector and to Group FiO.

Out-of-the-Box Solutions Right Out of the Box
Group FiO provides innovative business solutions for retail, distribution and consumer goods. Working with B2B, B2C and direct-to-consumer, Group FiO offers five fundamental products:

  1. Loyalty Management
  2. Customer Engagement
  3. Field Service Management
  4. Customer Service & Operations
  5. Customer Data Analytics
These offerings are designed to interact with a brand’s loyalty platform to achieve rapid ROI and automate operations to improve efficiency and lower overhead costs.

Group FiO’s loyalty offering is an out-of-the-box platform that allows brands to offer meaningful marketing interactions with their customers. Featuring data analytics from true AI and customer engagement, the Loyalty Management Platform allows brands to create hyper-personalized customer experiences. The company’s communication platform coordinates all messaging between the brand and its customers utilizing chat iMessage, customized chatbots, and even contact center agents to ensure a seamless customer experience.

The company focuses on three pillars:
  1. Brand advocacy
  2. Share of wallet
  3. Engagement
Group FiO achieves these by leveraging zero and first-party data to hyper-personalize experiences, which can be enhanced with AI or machine learning tools. These capabilities assist brands in building messages that incorporate customers’ communication and transaction patterns, meeting customers “in the moment”, whether the customer is shopping online or in-store, or speaking with a customer support center.

Building Loyalty Means Building Brand Advocates
The team at Group FiO defines customer loyalty by asking itself, “How do you build a brand advocate?”
Ravi Srinivasan, President & CEO for Group FiO explains, “A loyal brand advocate has experiences with the brand, and those experiences mean they give you positive feedback, and you see this through their interactions.”

Group FiO shares the following parameters for a loyal brand advocate as someone who:
  • Promotes the brand
  • Forgives the brand
  • Spends more with the brand
  • Provides more feedback
  • Is willing to share zero-party data
Personalized Communications Pay Off
Group FiO works with a number of large clients and has been in business long enough to know what works best to build a successful loyalty strategy. But it all boils down to the customer. Some customers respond best to rewards and discounts, others to experiences. It is up to the brand to determine what resonates with its customer base and to deliver on that.

Srinivasan gives an example of a retailer with a loyalty points program who was looking to provide its customers with a more personalized approach to communications. Group FiO was able to give the brand the methodology to create personalized, time-sensitive offers based on consumer interests as determined by the zero-party data collection. Customers responded eagerly to the personalized approach and in turn spent more with the retailer. The initiative increased overall transaction value for the brand. It was the right message at the right time.

Another example cited was with a clothing brand that wanted to reduce potential mark-downs.
“Loyalty is giving people a good feeling,” says Srinivasan. While the brand’s focus was on reducing the mark-down, the loyalty program focused on making the consumer feel special and appreciated. The brand presented its customers with a sense of urgency to purchase the products before it was too late. It was that propensity to buy that made the difference.

In both examples, the customer wanted to interact with the brand because of the personalized communications offered through the loyalty program.

Consumer-First Strategy Promotes Loyalty
To show the impact of the loyalty program to its clients, Group FiO measures the standard KPIs, including email opens, clicks, engagement data and conversion rate, but they rely most heavily on the softer measures, most notably:
  • Content consumption - how much time a customer spends on a website. Not only the share of wallet, but the share of time, and
  • Participation and zero-party collection - the trust relationship with the brand.
The company measures KPIs that are simultaneously softer and qualitative. Economics metrics – CLV, average basket, recency, frequency – are important as well, but Group FiO focuses on softer data, such as whether a customer is buying at full price, discounted items or display items. This gives more insight into the customer’s propensity to buy.

To compete in the saturated customer loyalty sector, brands need to differentiate themselves to grow their loyalty advocates. Group FiO suggests brands focus on three stakes:
  • Hyper-personalization and segmentation
  • Managing zero-party data
  • Communications and technology
These strategies work strongest together. Srinivasan stresses that personalization and segmentation cannot be successfully implemented without leveraging zero-party data throughout the customer lifecycle. Technology brings all these items together to create the communications brands need to determine what promotes them, as well as what negates them.

Providing customers with a seamless experience across all touchpoints consistently is the key to optimizing a loyalty strategy. But it’s not only that; brands need to give something back to the consumer in exchange for their loyalty.

Says Srinivasan, “Brands too often look inward on what loyalty can do for them. Think about what the customer is getting back; that’s more important. Personalized offers from a consumer point-of-view say, ‘I am getting offers that pertain to me.’ That is the one piece of advice I would give: go more consumer-centric.”

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