The 4 Pillars of a Better Incentive Experience

Here at Hawk Incentives, we recently updated our mission statement by adding “create a better incentive experience.” Now, with today’s marketing world examining the customer experience from every possible angle, we wanted to make sure we were clearly dedicated to translating a great customer experience to incentive and reward programs. 

Customer experience can have a dramatic and immediate impact on your business. On the plus side, Gallup notes that companies that successfully engage their customers realize 50 percent higher revenue, 34 percent higher profitability and 63 percent lower customer attrition compared to those that don’t. On the minus side, according to survey results gathered by researchers Access Development, 79 percent of customers would take their business to a competitor following poor customer service within a week.

By definition, a reward, loyalty or incentive program should be a flat-out great experience. This is an important chance to shine, so every touchpoint needs to be optimized and flawless. How do we get there? Four ways.

Download our strategy guide, The Right Reward, to learn what rewards are right for your success.

The 4 pillars

From looking at industry-best programs, sharing our favorite experiences from brands we love, and many data dives across our billions of incentive transactions, we’ve developed the four pillars of a better incentive experience. They are:

  • Access
  • Ease
  • Rewards
  • Speed


Access. We define access as how a participant engages with your incentive program, including all the touchpoints experienced along the way. Ensure that these touchpoints are delivered in a way that provides choice, so that each participant can engage with your program in the manner that suits them best. This means accommodating everything from fax to text to mobile to mail-in to chat to live operator. 

Ease. Keep your program simple, simple, simple, from the user experience of your website to the actions a participant has to take to earn. Simplify your goals, focus on the most important and align everything from your UX to your program rules to meet this mission. Ease of business is critical for consumers, sales professionals and employees.

RewardsWith more than $90 billion flowing into incentive programs annually,1 there are a lot of rewards out there. The right reward—and as data tells us—the right reward choice can make all the difference, not only driving participation in your program but surprising, delighting and engaging along the way. 

Today’s reward landscape provides plenty of options—Hawk Incentives offers more than 700 gift card versions alone—but the already customizable cards are now even more customizable by delivery options. Gift cards, for example, can be delivered physically, via email, put in your mobile wallet or even texted. 

Luckily, there are some rewards or reward catalogs that deliver this choice for you, so you don’t have to pick and choose and employ multiple providers. We’ve dedicated ourselves to providing these, and the data to build a better rewards strategy.

Speed. How quickly you can deliver a reward is the key to driving satisfaction with your brand and your program. Recent research2 we conducted indicates that from the time of submitting the claim, 98 percent would be satisfied to receive their reward in less than a week. At four weeks, though, satisfaction takes a deep dive, dropping to 42 percent. 

Here again is the opportunity to surprise and delight. Today’s digital and mobile rewards enable near-instant delivery. With a focus on accelerating claim processing and speedy reward delivery, we can not only create a great incentive experience, but exceed expectations when doing it.

If you have any great incentive experiences of your own that you’d like to share, or questions, please reach out and chat.  I’m always happy to discuss how we can make every point, dollar and program better. That’s our mission, and I hope you’ll join us. 


By Theresa McEndree, VP Marketing, Hawk Incentives 

1 Source: Incentive Research Foundation, July 2016

2 Source: A Hawk Incentives rebate experience online survey of 2,001 Americans was completed between February 28 and March 12, 2017, using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.0%, 19 times out of 20. 



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