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During a riveting interview with Loyalty360, Mike Lemberger, Vice President, Offers and Loyalty Solutions, Visa talked about several facets of the company’s business focusing on customer loyalty, customer experience, and customer engagement.
What is Visa’s approach toward customer loyalty, customer engagement, and customer experience and how has that approach changed in recent years with rapidly changing technology and the Era of the Empowered Customer?
What many don’t realize is that Visa does a lot more than process transactions. We help merchants and issuers grow their sales, drive customer loyalty, and strengthen their marketing efforts with a number of solutions that are built on the world’s largest electronic payment network. This network allows our customer loyalty and engagement offerings to be grounded in a system that has already proven to be reliable, fast, secure, flexible and scalable across the globe. We’ve adapted and developed as consumer and merchant technologies have changed, and with our scale and data on purchasing behavior, no one has a better look into the modern consumer than we do. Merchants and Issuers can use our solutions to build their own program, knowing they have the scale of the network and reputation of Visa to support it.
What does Customer Experience mean to Visa?
Visa is providing consumers the ability to pay in the easiest way possible no matter where they are. This is at the heart of the company and will not change. We aim to create an almost magical experience for each consumer every time they want to pay–this is done by showing absolutely no signs of the actual complexity going on behind the scenes once they swipe, click or tap to purchase with their Visa card. Technology is rapidly giving consumers new ways to experience all parts of daily life, and payments has to not only keep up with it, but also try to look even further down the road to new opportunities to make the process more secure and seamless. From our perspective, creating strong connections across commerce is an important piece of the payment ecosystem. As such, Visa also is developing and employing innovative loyalty platforms for merchants to engage with their customers in meaningful and compelling ways.
How do mobile and social media play into your customer engagement strategy?
Despite the marketing transformations enabled by the Internet, mobile, and social media, we’ve noticed many marketers are still unable to effectively plan their advertising and measure true results. In fact, according to our research:
69% of underperforming companies are unable to extract insights from data to improve marketing
1 out of 2 marketers say that the lack of visibility into audience targeting is a top concern
68% of underperforming companies don’t have the right data to measure marketing effectiveness
58% of underperforming companies are unable to leverage data to improve campaign efficiency
Visa stands in a unique position with our data, technology, and expertise to solve these issues. Our system marries mobile marketing with in-store shopping. We can track purchases and show merchants in real time how many consumers are coming into which stores. Along with our strategic collaborators we think there’s significant value in giving merchants the ability to understand the true value of their customer engagement strategy through insights from our payment network, so they can make confident decisions that grow their business.
Keeping things simple was a big theme at our recent Loyalty Expo Conference in Orlando. How does Visa keep things simple for customers from a loyalty/engagement/experience perspective?
Customers want three primary things in a loyalty program: Value, relevance, and simplicity. Many loyalty programs don’t maximize their potential impact and unnecessary complexity is often a root cause. Visa and its partners provide offers and rewards products that help make the cards consumers already have more compelling. Our loyalty programs provide a consumer experience that is valuable, relevant, and simple, thereby spurring card usage and improving loyalty.
What are you most proud of at Visa from a customer loyalty/engagement perspective?
Every day I can see the value our programs and capabilities are delivering. Whether it’s driving new customer acquisition, revenue growth, incremental sales, or some other KPI, there are measurable results that I can look at and confidently say our loyalty tools are helping to grow their business. For example, in a recent trial of our Visa commerce network, Peet’s Coffee & Tea received new customers from Visa at 100%−every single one−of its stores in the United States. That’s something we feel very proud to be able to help a merchant achieve.
How do you define Customer Loyalty and has that definition changed or evolved in recent years?
Customer loyalty is all about consistently providing value. As consumer tastes, consumption behavior, and technology evolve those consistently providing real value come out ahead. Merchants must closely monitor and evaluate the behavior of their customers to ensure that they are not only providing value now–but also keeping pace with competitors and shifting consumer demand.
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