Reward card vendors are essential to your success. If you are considering changing, there are multiple factors to consider. 

When you make the decision to undergo a search for a new provider, your must-have list probably includes things like:

  • experience working with companies similar to yours
  • an offering of highly appealing reward card options
  • a dedicated representative assigned to be your day-to-day contact
  • the ability to problem-solve when small issues arise
  • company stability, etc.

This is your checklist, whether it’s on paper or in your head. As you check off each item on that list, you move a step closer to identifying your new vendor.

That list comprises the items we’ll call essential capabilities. They’re pretty obvious, and it likely wouldn’t take long for your counterpart at another company to come up with a very similar list. This list, however, is far from comprehensive.

What’s missing? The hidden capabilities!

These are the features and/or services a vendor should provide that, depending upon your past experience, you may or may not know to ask about. This list includes items like:

1. A structured onboarding process

If you’re looking to your vendor to provide the platform or and API in addition to card fulfillment, do they have a proven process in place for setup, testing and launch?

2. Data collection capabilities

Whether you’re running a full-scale incentive program or providing card fulfillment for your clients’ programs, you want your supplier to be capable of collecting, managing and protecting the data you’re able to gather during the process. The higher the data quality, the more potential you have for turning a single visit into a repeat customer.

3. Communication

You need to know upfront how a vendor plans to keep you apprised of program performance, customer service issues and any glitches that may pop up. They should at least be able to provide you with a schedule of ongoing meetings, or a baseline expectation of what their regular communications with you will consist of.

4. Training

If you’re contracting with a company to provide you with an incentive program platform or an API solution for reward card delivery, you’ll want to know how to use it. A good vendor can explain to you what training will look like—when you can expect it to take place, what it will consist of and how many participants they can accommodate. You also want to find out how much additional follow-up training is included, or if additional sessions are available for a fee.

The above list is just the start. There are more of these “hidden” capabilities you should plan to explore with each vendor on your list. Luckily for you, Hawk Incentives has created a new free tool that includes all of them.

Download our new interactive vendor selection checklist

This checklist contains all the questions to ask to get the information you need on a prospective vendor’s essential and hidden capabilities. Once you download it, you can use it in several ways:

  • Pull it up on your laptop, tablet or smartphone to keep track of vendors’ answers as you interview them
  • Print it out and take it along to vendor interviews to note their answers
  • Use the printed version during your conversations, then enter the answers in the interactive version afterward

Whichever approach you use, the checklist ensures you cover all pertinent questions with each vendor, so that you have a good basis for comparison. When you’re finished, the final tally will help you identify which vendor is best equipped to meet your business needs.


Download our free guide today to help you discover the important things to consider before making a change to your rewards vendor.