In this virtual DX Dialog with Alexander Atzberger, CEO of Episerver, we dive deep in how companies foster loyalty by going beyond point programs. Plus, how these unprecedented times have impacted companies and how they transition to a digital-first company to help support their customers.
Al, thanks so much for making the time virtually, the first time we have a DX Dialog in a virtual setting.
Thank you so much, Alex. Thank you for inviting me, and very excited to be speaking with you today.
I think the last month and a half has taken us all for quite a shock. What changes are you seeing?
We have several customers that have several channels in which they were working in, and digital was one of the channels but was not the only channel. And what's happened significantly since that time, is digital has become primarily the only, and if not the only, the very important channel, they all have to focus on. And take a couple of examples. We have some very large retailers that we work with, both in Europe and in North America, and in both of those cases, with over a thousand stores closed for them, they had to convert literally overnight from an omnichannel company to a digital-first company. So what I would say is if the companies were not thinking digital or have not been thinking digital yet, I think this will come as a big awakening that that's what they need to do immediately, if not now, then as soon as business permits, I would say.
Al, in light of COVID, obviously companies are reevaluating their priorities. What have you seen in terms of change and priorities for companies today?
Yeah, I will lead by my own example. When we saw this happening, my first intuition, as I'm sure probably yours, was to go back and talk to all our customers and make sure that we are doing everything and anything to support them, to nurture them, to keep them excited and keep them working with Annex Cloud from a business perspective. Growth has always been the primary focus for every CEO, and we're always thinking about growth, but, as this was starting to happen, my core focus changed from just thinking about growth to more thinking about retaining the customers and making sure they're happy and excited with the value and service we provide.
And would you, Al, have any call to action to companies in terms of thinking about their loyalty programs and how they actually drive retention?
Alex, I will say one thing, which is it's truly very uncertain times for all of us, but I will say when times are uncertain, you fall back on your customers to bring a level of certainty. Now, more so than ever, if you are a part of any airline program, you've probably got a communication from United Airlines, American Airlines, they've all extended your status, they've all extended your pieces. So they're all paying very high attention to their most loyal customers as part of their program.
Secondly, if you look at some key retailers, like Target or even Macy's, where they've had to furlough certain employees, they've really announced doubling down on their loyalty programs as we speak. So that impact from a marketplace perspective is happening as we speak very, very much.
I know we have something to announce and to share as an offer to the marketplace. Do you want to share what we're doing?
Absolutely, Alex. Thank you. For us, we want to do our bit to help in this time of challenge. And for those companies that don't have a retention program today that would like to create a new retention loyalty program to manage their customers, to service their customers better, we are launching a special campaign or a special promotion specifically for those customers to get up and running with no cost. And the goal here is to waive the complete implementation for their loyalty program and to waive the first three months of their loyalty program software so that they are able to use the software, get up and running, and start utilizing the loyalty program to start servicing their customers in a way that they can start retaining them when things start working well for the industry. And we'd like to have as many companies that are Episerver customers start utilizing and potentially benefiting from this as possible in this time of need.
That's fantastic, Al. I really, really think it's a fantastic initiative. We have seen a lot of success for customers who are running Annex Cloud in combination with Epi. I think now is the time for companies to really think about how to come back stronger.