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Marketing data and analytics were always important, but now more than ever organizations are putting emphasis on hiring data experts as the pandemic brings more customers into digital experiences. Related is a one-stop shop that leverages technology, innovation, data analysis, and consumer insights to deliver a tailor-made loyalty program linking brands with their customers. 

Telecom Review secured an interview with Rabih Farhat, managing partner, Related Inc. to discuss how customer loyalty is evolving and how the company is helping telcos to build powerful customer relationship programs.

Can you give us an overview of how you founded Related and what your company does?

Related's main value proposition was built around bridging the gap between brands and customers through building creative relationship solutions to increase brand loyalty. We first started by addressing these needs for mobile operators by turning them into lifestyle providers. This later expanded to cater for other industries like retail, financial services, entertainment and utilities - including government initiatives.

After more than 15 years of going through the highs and lows of the region's telco industry specifically, I reached a conviction that the majority of mobile operators across the globe are facing serious challenges in understanding their customer needs and preferences. There was no real differentiation between all these players outside the price and promotion battlefield. Mobile operators were in need of a game changer that could help them in building a more solid, engaging and insightful relationship with their customers.

That's how Related Inc. came to be; a martech agency that provides tailor-made loyalty and reward solutions, bringing brands closer to their customers and forging an enduring loyalty.

We aim to:

  • design lasting relationships with the brand’s business objectives in mind and the customer’s happiness at heart;
  • make those relationships more rewarding by identifying and differentiating customers as unique addressable individuals;
  • work together with brands on incentive programs that transform values into positive impact on society.

You have partnered with many mobile operators here in the Middle East. In what ways are you helping them improve their relationship with customers?

With mobile operators diving into a zero sum game, and with OTT services ( Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc..) taking over customer loyalty and engagement within telcos, it was about time mobile operators shifted from legacy models to innovative tools that increase customer loyalty, customer lifetime value and create new sources of revenue outside the traditional services (voice, data, VAS, etc…) Our main focus was to transform mobile operators into lifestyle providers who can answer their individual customer needs and meet their preferences.

We used rewards and incentives to create memorable experiences between customers and their mobile operator; coupled with innovative technologies and hands-on industry expertise. Through designing, implementing and managing a seamless rewards program, we could increase customer satisfaction and help operators generate new revenue streams. We also used innovative tools and methods to build a wide palette of strategic partnerships that offers rewards and memorable experiences to our end customers across all touch points. For example, the Reward Marketplace, our new star product, is a customized online platform that provides customers with appealing and relevant deals from an array of merchants.

Our strategy has made these loyalty programs an integral part of the daily lifestyle and spending of citizens, helping brands become lifestyle providers. To date, we have helped mobile operators reach 85% customer satisfaction rate, increase their customer engagement with the program 7x times more and generate a 2% incremental revenue outside of their core products.

As experts in the field, tell us why data analysis is important for every business?

We're a data-driven company; our vision, innovation and creativity are always led by understanding customer data and building our strategies accordingly. We also know that data is the new oil, and today we’ve been investing a lot to capture real-time customer data that is mainly floating on all digital channels.

These efforts are made not only to identify a historical customer pattern, but also to predict a future customer behavior and offer rewards accordingly. Customer experience remains a cornerstone for the continuous success of any rewards program and the main driving force behind creating an enduring loyalty.

As consumers around the globe adjust to the new normal, how are you responding to this shift? How are you helping clients navigate through the uncertainty and address the change in customer sentiment and behavior?

At the core, every strategy we formulate, every business model we create and every product we launch originates from observing customer insights, behavioral patterns and common practices.

This places the customers at the center of our innovation, and because their needs are changing on the fly, from a pre-pandemic physical experience to a post-pandemic digital one, we’ve adopted an agile approach. Today, we’ve evolved our offering and products to best answer the ever-changing sentiment and behavior of customers.

What we believe will lead brand loyalty moving forward is empathy. In a world that was increasingly becoming humanity-deficient, compassionate communication and action reclaim their throne as a key element in building and maintaining real human relationships.

 

What do you think sets your company apart from others?

There are three main factors that differentiate us from others in the industry: our value proposition, our clients’ trust and our ability to build profitable and customized programs.

We offer the full spectrum of loyalty, rewards and incentives solutions all under one umbrella, a one-stop-shop to strengthen bonds between brands and their customers. What differentiates us is our motto, “rewards with a purpose” and our core values that help brands transcend into a more genuine relationship with their customer base. We employ agile and innovative approaches in designing different types of programs to meet different client needs; be it to drive an awareness initiative, increase engagement or increase revenue. We also possess an innate ability to shift reward programs from cost-centric to profit-centric, while maintaining our company values.

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