Don’t let Reward programs put your Continuity of Service in jeopardy

Published on: Dec 14 2018

Rewards programs have been with us for years in fast food chains and supermarkets.

Think toys with a kids meal, rewards cards and those freesamples or gifts you receive after spending a certain amount in store.

Back in the 80s they were saucepans, crockery and steak knives, purchased through collecting stamps at the checkout, and redeemable when the required number of stamps were collected.

Currently these programs are aimed and designed for the young, young at heart and families who participate together in completing the programs and competitions.


The impact on customers

One of the most recent and successful reward programs is the Little Shopinitiative from Coles. This program is responsible for changing the rewards system and has raised the bar for all retailers.

The impact of these promotions can be seen in a recent Canstar Blue survey, which found consumers aged 18-29 are most likely to be influenced by initiatives like Little Shop. Almost two in five respondents in this age group (38%) said such promotions sway them to spend more, with the same number likely to choose where they shop as a result. Generally, the older consumers get, the less interest there is. The survey found little difference between men and women.

Across the States, shoppers in New South Wales were found to be most likely to spend more because of promotions (24%), as well as to choose where they shop as a result (25%).

The Canstar Blue survey also found that supermarket rewards programs influence more than half of customers (58%) in where they choose to shop, with about a third spending more because of them (36%). Three out of five shoppers (63%) generally finding these types of rewards programs to be good value.

These are staggering numbers, hence the frenzy that we all hear about or participate in as customers.


The impact on employees

Continuity of service (job security) has never been more important. These programs can create issues for employees due to the craze and hysteria that surrounds them. For example, the Little Shop promotion raised several concerns, including:

  • The temptation to provide a customer or customers with more than is permitted. There are rules around how collectables are issued to customers. Customers are encouraged to spend and achieve certain dollar targets that entitle them to collectables and bonuses. As an employee, not understanding the rules or following them puts you in potential breach, which can result in disciplinary action and/or termination.
  • Team members feeling packets to determine what is inside to assist the customer. When customers just need a few collectables to complete the set team members sometimes sort through collectables to ensure the customer gets the one they need. Happy customer - absolutely. Not a happy employer.
  • Customers leaving their collectables with the checkout operator to give to someone else. Issues arise when customers are given collectables that they’re not entitled too. The best way to avoid this is to suggest that the original customer gives their collectables to other customers themselves.
  • Taking collectables home without making a purchase. Collectables are to be treated like cash/stock. Taking anything from the workplace without express permission can result in termination of employment.

The above scenarios are actual examples of behaviours that have had members in the manager’s office.

Your employment can or may be terminated for some, if not all of these behaviours. Whether it is fair or reasonable depends on many factors such as the policy, investigation, circumstances and the employer’s stance to name a few.

Reward programs are here to stay and have certainly increased in customer popularity. So remember to always follow the systems, procedures and policy of any program. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to raise the issue with your line manager immediately.


References: Canstar Blue

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