Rewards programs are important because they can help you engage your customers, employees, sales partners, and other stakeholders. They can also incent certain behaviors that contribute to your bottom line. These programs provide a mutually beneficial relationship between your organization and reward recipients, but require careful execution and management.
In an increasingly connected world, companies that operate across international borders have a complex list of factors that weigh into a rewards program strategy. International rewards program operations require the management of individual vendors in each country, and for organizations with operations in a handful or dozens of countries, this process can become incredibly cumbersome and expensive.
To successfully navigate a worldwide reward program, make sure you and your rewards solution partner consider:
Your global footprint. First and foremost, you’ll need to identify all of the countries you service. Map out the coverage you hope to provide so you can customize the program execution and account for each country’s unique characteristics.
Currency exchange. Navigating across borders means using different currencies. With currency exchange rates constantly changing, ensuring accurate conversions can be challenging. When you are delivering recipient rewards using in-country currency, keeping track of the latest currency values requires attention to detail.
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Time zones. It may seem obvious, but international programs operate at different times of the day—and may even span across different days altogether. You’ll need to make sure your organization is appropriately staffed during appropriate times of the day.
Languages. Truly global companies use a variety of languages to communicate with reward recipients, employees, partners or vendors. And even within the same country, different languages may be used. Effective communication is critical to program management; effective translation services are key.
Logistics. Delivering physical rewards to recipients can be a more difficult task than one may think. For those who have to mail physical rewards—such as plastic prepaid cards or merchandise stored in warehouses—postage and delivery can be tricky because each country has different mail systems, costs and delivery protocol. A provider can navigate this process for you, but you could also consider offering digital rewards to your recipients. Digital delivery can help circumvent the challenges associated with logistics, potentially saving you money in the long run, and can reach recipients no matter their physical location. Layering in digital offerings can also differentiate your company from competitors while delivering streamlined solutions.
Technology integration. Your systems have to “talk” to each other. User-interfacing platforms such as those used for employee engagement to track sales goals or completion of learning modules should be connected to your rewards catalog and back-end systems—including your inventory management, invoicing, and accounting systems. And they should also provide recipients with consistent opportunities to contact customer service, redeem their rewards and more—no matter the country of operation.
Variety of rewards. Reward recipients value choice, and effective reward programs offer them. You should be able to customize your offerings based on recipients’ personal preferences to ensure they receive meaningful, effective rewards. One size doesn’t fit all, so consider offering a wide variety of options such as egifts, virtual prepaid, physical prepaid, traditional payments, travel or merchandise.
The larger your reward program, and the more countries in which it operates, the more complicated creating, running and updating it can become. Paying attention to even the smallest details can make a difference in turning a good program into a great one. Seamless execution across international borders is just one of the critical steps to helping ensure your program is operating at its maximum potential.