Officials at Springleaf Financial, which operates one of the largest consumer finance branch networks in the United States, serving its customers through nearly 830 branches in 27 states, were looking for a competitive differentiator.
They believe they found it in the recently launched digital loyalty program called Springleaf Rewards. CrowdTwist, a provider of multichannel loyalty and engagement programs, powers the Springleaf Rewards loyalty program.
The program rewards customers for a range of activities, such as consistently paying their bills on-time, taking free online credit education and budgeting tutorials, and monitoring their credit scores on a regular basis.
Unlike traditional rewards programs, Springleaf Rewards allows members to accrue points for doing things that are good for their financial health and does not require the customer to spend money.
Dave Hogan, Executive Vice President Risk Analytics & Marketing at Springleaf Financial, spoke to Loyalty360 about the exciting new loyalty program.
What factors prompted the launch of Springleaf Rewards and what makes this digital loyalty program unique?
Several factors went into the creation of Springleaf Rewards:
A desire to drive financial education and improved credit scores for our customers–our customers told us that they value financial education and tools to help them manage credit, so we built Springleaf Rewards to promote the use of our online financial literacy tools, accessing the credit scores we provide for free and for taking actions such as paying on time.
A competitive differentiator–the installment lending space is increasingly competitive. By offering a first of its kind rewards program, Springleaf is differentiating itself.
A value-add product for our customers that will increase their engagement with us. We already had customer satisfaction scores in the 90s, this addition will allow us to retain customers longer, and encourage them to engage with us in news ways, such as on Facebook and Twitter.
Did customer feedback play a role and, if so, in what way?
Yes. We regularly survey our customers. They told us three things: They wanted tools to better understand and manage credit and they wanted points or rewards. Our rewards program links this all together. We offer a number of free education tools such as regularly updated credit scores, budgeting tools and MoneySkill money management tools and education. We use rewards to encourage customers to use these tools as well as to engage in other great habits such as on time payments and automatic payment of their loan, so they always pay on time and build credit.
Successful loyalty programs are seen as a major differentiator in today’s marketplace. How will Springleaf Rewards help differentiate Springleaf Financial among its competitive base?
No one else in our market is offering customer rewards. By encouraging financial health and giving customers the tools they are looking for, we are helping customers build a stronger credit profile and money management skills. We believe this will result in long-term customer loyalty, and is also a great way to deliver on our brand promise.
How can members accrue points without spending money?
Most rewards programs reward customers for spending money, for example credit card or retailer programs. These programs basically just give back some of the customer’s own money. We have turned this concept on its head. We are giving customers points for doing things that will save them money, for example, paying on time, paying electronically, and taking financial education courses online.
How does Springleaf Financial define customer loyalty and how has that definition evolved in recent years?
We would like to have an ongoing relationship with customers and be there to meet our customers’ financial needs whenever they need us. We’d also like to be recommended by our customers to their friends and family. Today, we are proud to have customer satisfaction scores in the 90s and high levels of customer recommendation. This is driven by our service level, product value and value-add from programs such as Springleaf Rewards.