Q&A: Mike Armstrong, Lead Marketing Manager, AT&T

AT&T has had great success with its video bill emails for more than two years, which have proven to outperform all other customer engagement emails, as well as greatly reduce customer care calls. In recognition of this, AT&T garnered the Best Customer Experience & Engagement, Platinum Winner award at the inaugural Loyalty360 Awards held March 17 at the 7th Annual Loyalty Expo, presented by Loyalty360 – The Loyalty Marketer’s Association.

With the video bills, AT&T is able to proactively identify and solve customers’ questions or problems they submit within their post-video survey questions. Armstrong participated in an engaging Q&A with Loyalty360 to discuss this program.

Q: What is the company doing now in terms of the loyalty program, commitment to its customers, and commitment to a strategy? 

We are constantly working to enhance the customer experience by expanding the use of the program in other phases of the enterprise. Our strategy is to make an effortless customer experience and that goal helps light our paths every day.   

Q: How has the measurement of your program changed today versus three to five years ago and how does the challenge of new technologies and ROIs play into this? 

Three to five years ago, call shed or call deflection would have been the only indicator of the video bill. Throughout the maturation of the program, we have realized that the video also has had a positive impact on customer satisfaction and a customer’s willingness to recommend AT&T to his or her friends or family.

Q: The challenge with many loyalty programs today is the complexity and multichannel integration can be significantly more expensive and more difficult to implement than traditional programs. How challenging was that to sell internally or has the investment in your program increased in line with return?  

Since the delivery channel is digital, it was much easier to integrate throughout our channels.  We initially ran a pilot program for three months and the results were outstanding. The potential ROI from deploying the program full scale justified the investment based on the data.

Q: How much of the evolution, design or redesign of the program driven is by competitive pressure, voice of the customer, or internal interests? Which of the three has had the most “impact” on your program (based on your internal metrics)? 

Voice of the customer is the primary driver for our program. Providing an extraordinary customer experience is paramount to us.

Q: If you had to narrow it down to one thing, what do you think has led to your program’s success? 

360-degree integration. We deliver the program where the customer wants it and allow them to choose how and when they want to view the video. It is available online through att.com, a personalized email, and also available through the myAT&T mobile experience.

Q: What role does personalization play in your strategy? How important do you think it is to nail personalization for a successful loyalty program?  

We start and finish with personalization. Without personalization, a generic video could sit on the Web for anyone to view at any time. However, I doubt it would get the benefits we are realizing with a personalized video. Where we hit the mark is being able to deliver this program in your personal email, address you by name within the video, talk to you about your specific bill and charges, and based on your profile, be able to present products and services that are relevant to you and your account.  

Loyalty360 called on a group of 24 industry experts to apply their extensive knowledge of loyalty marketing to identify the brands that are true Loyalty leaders. Judges were asked to evaluate each entry by applying a score of 1-10 based on how well the brand performed against a number of quantitative and qualitative criteria. The result was an objective and unbiased ranking of loyalty leaders.

Loyalty Expo is being held March 17-19, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida.

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