Orange’s Equity loyalty programme is billed as the first standalone
loyalty programme for mobile phone users. One-2-One doesn’t have a
scheme (yet ...), Cellnet is linked to Shell Smart, and Vodafone is
linked to Air Miles.
The element that really sets Orange apart is the inclusion of free talk
time in the rewards package. Phil Hendey, head of brand management at
Another loyalty programme, eh?
The programme has been in development for two years and two test
The other mobile phone loyalty programmes didn’t look at what their
customers wanted. Over the two years, we revised our offers and our
approach, so that when we went live, it worked straightaway.
But free talk time? I thought the last thing companies gave away was
their own product.
Originally, free airtime wasn’t included in the package, but the
customers asked for it. It seems an obvious thing to offer, but it’s
always quite painful to give away the core product.
What about the other rewards? Where are the Berni Inn vouchers?
We have a nice mix between instant rewards and the ’dream’ stuff you
wouldn’t normally buy for yourself. The rewards start at film
processing, and go through to archery lessons, hang-gliding and
What, no Orange key-ring?
Well, we do give away Orange accessories, too. The customers have asked
for them, and we’re quite transparent about the fact that if the
customer has a car kit, say, they are probably going to use the network
more, and then earn more points.
So, how do you earn these points?
There are three ways to earn them; you get one point for 60 seconds of
normal calls, two points for text messages or roaming calls (from
abroad), and three points for international calls. You start getting
free calls at 200 points.
What do you get for 1,000,000 points?
There are three rules for a loyalty plan. One, the rewards need to be
achievable through day-to-day usage of the product. Two, they need to be
realistic - therefore a million-point prize is silly. Three, they have
to be relevant to the lifestyle and behaviour of the customers, and that
is a key point.
How long will it take for customers to have earned enough points to
We’ve had more than 1,000 redemptions in the first week already.
Blimey! Some people never get off the phone, eh?
Well, customers get 100 points just for joining the scheme, and the
minimum reward only ’costs’ 200 points. With normal use, everyone will
be able to redeem in the first six weeks. That puts us near the top in
terms of instant benefits for customers.
Will Equity help prevent customers switching from network to network as
the tariffs change to suit them?
That’s called ’churning’. Equity is only one part of our relationship
marketing. Based on our tests, and looking at loyalty programmes offered
by other service providers, we’ve exceeded all our targets.