Award for consistent customer focus – Special “Control” prize for ensuring high-quality services
Loyalty Partner GmbH, expert in customer management and operator of the PAYBACK bonus programme, has been rated as one of Germany’s “most customer-oriented service providers”. This was the result of a recent study conducted by the University of St. Gallen, business consultants Steria Mummert Consulting, the ServiceRating agency and the Handelsblatt (trade journal). Loyalty Partner was ranked 27th overall in the annual competition and 1st in the “Control” category. With this award, the panel recognised Loyalty Partners consistent integration of PAYBACK customers into the company’s improvement processes and the introduction of regular checks to ensure high-quality service and continued customer benefits.
Seventy-six companies from a range of industries took part in the competition “Germany’s most customer-oriented service provider 2007”, with the top 50 being listed in the final ranking. The teleshopping channel QVC was the contest’s overall winner. The participating companies were assessed in accordance with the seven categories for generating customer value, which are defined in the “7 C model” devised by the University of St. Gallen: customer orientation of the management team, configuration, communication, commercialisation, competence, cooperation and control.
Loyalty Partner impresses in terms of control, communication and cooperation
In particular, Loyalty Partner impressed the panel – comprising representatives from business, science and economic journalism – with its responses to the questions “How do you measure and analyse the quality of service and customer benefits?” and “How are customers integrated into the product development process?”. The operator of the PAYBACK programme scored highly in these areas thanks particularly to its regular market research studies which analyse the satisfaction of customers with regard to specific aspects of PAYBACK, their buying patterns and their wishes for new product features. For example, a customer survey in 2005 revealed that customers would like to see a service station operator included in the PAYBACK programme. A few months later, ARAL was introduced as the new programme partner. Another study showed that customers would like a payment function added to their PAYBACK card – as a result, Loyalty Partner launched the PAYBACK Plus card. The PAYBACK blog (www.paybackblog.de) is a very innovative tool for integrating customers into the product development process. It gives PAYBACK members the opportunity to test new rewards in advance, thus helping shape the PAYBACK programme.
Loyalty Partner also ranked well above average in answer to the question of how the company encourages dialogue with its customers (in the communication category). Here, Loyalty Partner scored highly with its 24-hour service line and the various communication channels open to customers wanting to contact the company (Internet, e-mail, PAYBACK blog). “Contact with PAYBACK customers is extremely important to us. After all, that’s what it’s all about – being there for the customers round the clock,” says Fabian Schwarz, Head of Customer Service at Loyalty Partner. In this respect, he believes that the skills and service orientation of the staff are key to the company’s success.
To take part in the competition for top customer orientation, companies first had to fill out an extensive questionnaire and detail their approach to Customer Value Management. Next, a customer satisfaction survey was conducted to take the customer’s perspective into account. The ten top participating companies then had to take part in intensive personal audits.