Manufacturer loyalty schemes: what do installers look for?

Manufacturer loyalty schemes: what do installers look for?

Loyalty schemes are a popular way for manufacturers to encourage and reward heating engineers for using their products. Jason Davies, National Sales Manager at Navien, considers what oil and gas installers should be looking for in a loyalty scheme.

YouGov research from 2020 revealed that nearly 80% of the British population are members of a loyalty programme. Indeed, reward schemes are commonplace in a variety of industries and have proven to be hugely beneficial to their members. But what exactly should oil and gas engineers be aware of prior to signing up to such an initiative?

Although different types of loyalty programme exist, from collecting points or tokens to earning virtual currency or unlocking special discounts, their overall goal remains the same: customer satisfaction. When a company recognises its loyal customers, it should make them feel valued – and the rewards should be beneficial.

Loyalty schemes are useful for a reason; they benefit both a business and its members. So, how does this work in the heating industry, between boiler manufacturers and installers? Well, introducing loyalty programmes provides boiler brands with a means of offering rewards tailored to their needs.

However, a reputable scheme shouldn’t be at the cost of other benefits. Training, technical support and factory visits should be offered as standard, so when it comes to loyalty schemes, there needs to be something different, memorable and extremely rewarding on offer.

From a commercial perspective, loyalty schemes greatly enhance what a business has to offer, providing installers with a reason to choose a particular boiler brand ahead of a competitor. But we also know there are many options for oil and gas engineers to choose from, so understanding what’s on offer is vital.

Your choice
At Navien, our experience and research revealed engineers benefit the most from rewards-based loyalty programmes, which led to us launching our own scheme: Navien Choice. By offering reward points for every boiler registered, installers then have the option of either ‘banking’ them or redeeming straight away. Instant rewards, or save up for something bigger.

To put this into context, an installer could get a wireless speaker after registering just one gas boiler, or, install nine blue flame oil boilers to acquire enough points for a 4K television or an iPad.

We have received great feedback from gas and oil engineers about the scheme, with many commenting how much they are enjoying the opportunity to get items they would normally have to pay cash for – as well as having the chance to save up for larger items as potential gifts for friends and family. This is in addition to general business support, including free training, van wrapping, dual-branded clothes and factory visits to Korea, all of which helps installers take their companies to the next level.

In such a competitive industry, the relationship between a heating manufacturer and its installer customers is crucial. Loyalty schemes are an integral means of retaining customers, providing a reason to remain faithful to a brand rather than looking around and checking out what competitors are offering.

Simple approach
Keeping things simple is the most effective tactic, as illustrated in the findings of a recent study by researchers at Washington University. They found non-tiered customer programmes increased customer value by almost 30% over a five-year period. So, rather than having to move up to different levels (or ‘tiers’) of membership to qualify for certain rewards or services, everyone is treated as equal and on a level playing field. We think that’s the way to do it too.

While many businesses will be intent on gaining as many new customers as possible, it is imperative existing clients are not overlooked and left behind. A well-devised loyalty scheme offers the best of both worlds, by ensuring existing customers are treated the same as new ones.

So, each individual loyalty scheme presents an opportunity for a manufacturer to show its appreciation towards its long-term customer base, while at the same time attracting new heating engineers to its product range. For installers, it is really a matter of making sure the scheme is going to deliver the benefits they deserve. We, for one, firmly believe that you can’t go wrong with a smart choice of rewards – after all, who doesn’t like the latest gadgets and gear?

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