#LEAwards 2020 highlight: StarHub snaps up loyalty points with customers

New customer acquisition is, without a doubt, always one of the priorities for companies. However, this does not mean that the existing pool of customers should be neglected. Companies still need to engage existing customers through in-store activities, native apps and even social media channels. StarHub knows the importance of staying in touch with current consumers who a digitally-native consumer base. As such, it decided to double down on its mobile consumer app as a key touchpoint for interacting with consumers, launching the "The all-new StarHub Rewards - Say hello to rewards in a snap!" campaign. Its efforts led the telco to clinch the coveted gold award for the "Best Loyalty Programme (Telecommunication)" category at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2020.

Challenge

StarHub recognised that novel subscription plans and promotions hardly moved the needle for customer engagement in the competitive telecom industry. It also understood that offering extra gigabytes to a mobile plan among similar promotions was not enough to draw consumers, especially in a market such as Singapore which has a high smartphone penetration rate. The telco knew that consumers in general do not rate telcos highly and as such, it was determined to regain the trust of consumers, both existing and new.

According to the telco, the concept of customer actions leading to earning loyalty points and thereafter rewards redemption did not resonate well with the instant gratification economy that consumers of tier one countries in Asia were used to.

Two years ago, StarHub launched its #HelloChange philosophy which sees the telco pledging to do different and better, and acknowledging the voice of the customer. #HelloChange made the StarHub team rethink its customer loyalty strategy.

Strategy

Although StarHub decided to focus on building customer loyalty through a points-based customer loyalty, the telco did not want it to be just like any other loyalty programme where consumers merely earn points to redeem items. To help build a stronger and more rewarding relationship with consumers, StarHub outlined four key drivers that would help meet its goals:

1. S: Simple, no complex point system

2. N: Now and no need to wait, get rewards instantly

3. A: App exclusive and mobile-first approach

4. P: Personalised, carefully selected and exclusive rewards for different target customer segments such as VIP tickets for sports events, concerts and movies, among others.

The SNAP strategy allowed the team to introduce an instant, mobile-first and all digital StarHub Rewards. Additionally when planning its new strategy, StarHub also shifted its focus from loyalty to last-mile customer engagement. This shift comprised of three elements:

1. An effective channel to meaningfully interact with consumers: There was renewed focus on building a customer experience channel out of its MyStarHub app. The in-app experiences had the best facets of customer loyalty programmes, its tiers and new experiences for customers to engage with. The telco also made major changes to the in-app user experience which resulted in lesser clicks in the user journey and enabled faster adoption.

2. Interactive, data-led engagements: According to StarHub, last-mile customer engagements when made interactive and powered by data, enabled the company to see multi-fold increase to customer engagement rates.

3. Concept of gamification: StarHub acknowledge that the concept of gamification plays with the basic human instinct of winning. Combining customer actions with instant rewards through a gamified user journey allowed StarHub to see success in its reward redemption rates.

To launch the digital rewards loyalty programme, StarHub tied up with customer engagement and loyalty SaaS platform Perx technologies last October. Perx Technologies offered all the key items that StarHub needed – an SaaS platform rooted to an API-based architecture, and the ability to deliver last-mile customer engagements and new concepts such as gamification.

Execution

The digital rewards loyalty programme had gamified engagements which were included in time-bound campaigns such as birthdays, anniversaries and festive seasons. The gamified engagements also dished out instant rewards to specific sets of customer actions. Among the list of these gamified mechanics included Snapping Sunday, a weekly campaign that offers deals as low as SG$1; lifestyle treats which consumers can gain access to; Play and Win which involves games that only require consumers to tap and win prizes, among others.

StarHub leveraged these reward-based engagement mechanics to periodically and consistently excite consumers with limited-edition instant rewards which were redeemable digitally through gameplays.

Additionally, it also reinvented its rewards. Instead of partnering with a thousand merchants that may not bring value to consumers, it handpicked 100 popular merchants that fit consumers’ persona and lifestyle data points. At the same time, it also used 360 in-house communications channels to target existing customers, including press releases, SMS, EDMs, in-app push notifications, in-house bill messages, in-store eposters, StarHub TV, as well as social media channels. StarHubs partners have also extended their support by promoting the campaign on their touchpoints such as EDMs, SMS and social media platforms.

Results

Although the pandemic brought about new norms which companies and consumers had to adapt to, it brought about an opportunity for StarHub. According to the telco, its digital rewards programme saw a double-digit increase in monthly active users and the increase was significant as the spike was measured in the month of April this year, when lockdown measures in Singapore were at its peak.

At the same time, StarHub also witnessed an increase in the number of monthly active users pre and post the in-app customer engagement and loyalty pivot. Its net performer score also emerged stronger in the 2020 edition of the National Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore study. According to the study, customers’ satisfaction scores for StarHub’s mobile and TV services increased in 2020 and are at the highest levels to date.