How the best loy­alty pro­grams stay ahead of the curve.

Toronto Star - - MEDIA PLANET - San­dra MacGre­gor

It’s no won­der that over the last decade re­ward pro­grams have be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in Canada. Con­sumers en­joy know­ing that every time they pull out their plas­tic to pay for a pur­chase, they’ll be com­pen­sated — be it in points, cash, miles, or more — for spend­ing their hard­earned-dol­lars.

As loy­alty cards’ pop­u­lar­ity in­creased, so too did the choices avail­able to con­sumers. And Cana­di­ans are con­stantly on the look­out for a re­ward pro­gram that will truly re­spond to their needs.

RBC Re­wards is one of the most pop­u­lar and long-stand­ing re­ward pro­grams in Canada. “RBC Re­wards is Canada’s largest and most flex­i­ble bank-owned pro­pri­etary loy­alty pro­gram, of­fer­ing sig­nif­i­cant value to RBC’s clients,” says Jac­quelina Cal­isto, Vice Pres­i­dent of Loy­alty & Re­wards, Dig­i­tal, Pay­ments and Cards, RBC. “It’s an ex­tremely client cen­tric pro­gram fo­cused on giv­ing our clients more ways to earn re­wards faster, more ways to save through amaz­ing of­fers and spe­cial perks, as well as more choices to re­deem re­wards, such as rich travel re­wards; fi­nan­cial re­wards (like pay­ing off credit card, pay­ing down your mort­gage, mak­ing in­vest­ment con­tri­bu­tions); and ac­cess to ex­cit­ing mer­chan­dise, gift cards, once in a life­time ex­pe­ri­ences, and much more.”

Re­spond­ing to con­sumers’ needs

RBC is aware that the in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive re­wards mar­ket, com­bined with so­phis­ti­cated con­sumers who de­mand a rel­e­vant and flex­i­ble re­ward model, means re­ward pro­grams must make cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion a pri­or­ity. “Our phi­los­o­phy is to help clients get the most out of their re­wards pro­gram while pro­vid­ing an ex­cep­tional and en­gag­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. We have de­signed our pro­gram to pro­vide our clients with the great­est re­wards value. We want to make it eas­ier for clients to re­deem in­stantly and more fre­quently. We also of­fer more ways to earn faster through sev­eral part­ner­ships.

The bank also rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance con­sumers place on the us­abil­ity and se­lec­tion of a re­wards pro­gram. “We are laser fo­cused on pro­vid­ing our clients with choice and real value. The breadth of re­demp­tion op­tions pro­vides clients with the abil­ity to re­deem for what’s im­por­tant to them,” says Cal­isto.

The Avion credit card is the flag­ship of the bank’s loy­alty pro­gram and is one of the top travel re­wards credit cards in the coun­try. “We’re com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing on the prom­ise of ‘any, any, any’ to our Avion­ers,” ex­plains Cal­isto. “That’s why we pro­vide clients with the flex­i­bil­ity to book travel on any air­line, any flight, at any time— that means no black­out pe­ri­ods, seat re­stric­tions, or points ex­piry.”

Em­brac­ing in­no­va­tion

To de­liver on its prom­ise of rel­e­vancy and ease of use, RBC stays at the fore­front of re­ward pro­gram ini­tia­tives through a solid com­mit­ment to in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy. “In­no­va­tion has played an im­por­tant role in our abil­ity to evolve our re­wards pro­gram and pro­vide our clients with a dif­fer­en­ti­ated ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Cal­isto. “Our in­vest­ments in tech­nol­ogy and prod­uct in­no­va­tion — such as blockchain, vir­tual re­al­ity, ma­chine learn­ing, and pay­ments — have al­lowed us to pro­vide our clients with re­mark­able and unique ex­pe­ri­ences. For ex­am­ple, most re­cently clients could ex­plore what RBC Re­wards has to of­fer through a VR ex­pe­ri­ence at our Avion Hol­i­day Bou­tique.

This will­ing­ness to em­brace change and in­vest in the fu­ture is clear in RBC’s most re­cent in­no­va­tion: the RBC Re­wards App. “Mo­bile has played a piv­otal role in shift­ing con­sumer be­hav­iour to be al­ways on and al­ways con­nected with in­stant ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion. We rec­og­nize this and felt it was im­por­tant to pro­vide our RBC Re­wards mem­bers with the abil­ity to en­gage with our pro­gram on the go — any­time, any­where,” says Cal­isto.

“The Re­wards App pro­vides our clients with the flex­i­bil­ity and con­ve­nience to ex­plore, shop, and re­deem their points when they want and for re­wards that align with their per­sonal pref­er­ences. We want to give our clients op­tions that suit them — whether that’s tak­ing a fam­ily va­ca­tion, get­ting a new iPhone, pick­ing up a gift card for their friends, shop­ping for the lat­est and great­est mer­chan­dize, or mak­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact in the world by do­nat­ing to a se­ries of char­i­ties.We are com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing our clients with en­gag­ing and rel­e­vant ex­pe­ri­ences, all fo­cused on pro­vid­ing our re­wards mem­bers with more value. Our re­wards pro­gram is a place where we can en­gage with our clients to pro­vide them with real value be­yond points and we’re re­ally ex­cited about that.”

Jac­quelina Cal­isto Vice Pres­i­dent of Loy­alty & Re­wards

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