Comparing Customer Loyalty Providers: End-to-End vs. Technology-Only

By: Max Kenkel

Not understanding the difference between working with an end-to-end customer loyalty partner vs. a technology-only customer loyalty solution can cause issues. 

  • Friction with customers
  • Stress for your teams
  • Additional expenses for your organization

Missing pieces of a comprehensive customer loyalty solution opens gaps for your competition to target.

But often, organizations are slow to make a change (if ever). They get by with manual workarounds on a dated platform because they’re worried about the time and cost to switch to a newer, more flexible solution with a partner who can help manage all aspects of their program. These are just excuses. Recognizing a need before it becomes a pain point for customers is critical.

For some organizations, a great customer loyalty technology platform could give them everything they need. Leading brands need to ask for more. 

What Sets an End-to-End Customer Loyalty Partner Apart From a Technology-Only Solution?

The value your brand receives from an end-to-end customer loyalty partner is quantifiable. Look at the differences below. 

chart comparing end-to-end solution vs. technology-only loyalty program

Isn’t Switching to a New Customer Loyalty Partner Difficult & Costly?

It shouldn’t be. But transitioning from one loyalty technology provider to a new partner might feel like an overwhelming process. When you’re talking solely about switching software providers, migration can be a huge project to manage. 

Let’s break down a few common misconceptions. 

1. It’s Too Expensive

Large organizations often find that an end-to-end provider saves them money compared to a tech-only solution. Especially when a comprehensive contract is weighed against the need for multiple tools and the time and effort of managing numerous vendor relationships. Plus, a better total customer loyalty experience drives stronger purchasing behavior, which offsets the investment. How much are you losing in incremental revenue by not having a flexible, well-managed program uniquely of and for your brand?

2. We’ll Have To Give Up Too Much Control

In some ways, the difference between using a technology-only solution and working with an end-to-end provider is like going to a favorite restaurant vs. having a personal chef. Tech providers might have a great “menu,” but it’s limited. Chefs listen to your unique needs and preferences; do the shopping, prep, and cooking; and deliver custom dishes when and how you need them served. They clean up, too! 

One of the benefits of working with an end-to-end partner is that they handle the heavy lifting commonly associated with replatforming. A strong partner should be able to make the transition totally seamless for your customers, too. That doesn’t mean your team won’t have some work to do helping to connect APIs, answering questions, etc., but a strong partner will have a plan and lead the integrations and transition to a clear delivery date.  

Related: Discover tips and tricks for a successful platform migration in our free ebook. 

Will Customers Feel the Difference When You Work With an End-to-End Partner? 

Yes—in a good way. As customer expectations trend toward a total loyalty experience, even the biggest brands struggle to deliver. An end-to-end partner becomes an extension of your organization's team, adding capacity and expertise. 

Since programs maintain the look and feel of your brand, customers might not sense a difference right away. Smoother redemption processes and data-informed program evolutions just indicate your brand’s commitment to connecting and strengthening customer loyalty. As your new partner helps you act on more data, your customers should feel a greater emotional connection with your brand through better personalization, more opportunities to engage, and a seamless experience with your brand, regardless of how or where they interact. 

To truly run a successful loyalty program, you need a partner, not just a tech solution that’s only one part of the puzzle. Assess whether your customer loyalty solution checks all the boxes of end-to-end support.

Download our Customer Loyalty Platform Upgrade Guide
Max Kenkel
Max Kenkel

As Customer Solutions Manager, Max leads our Customer Solutions line, ensuring all six components of a successful loyalty program deliver for our clients. With more than ten years of experience in strategy across customer, channel and employee loyalty programs, he’s seen a lot. You’ll often hear him talk about how important data is to brands. In his words, “It’s easy to make decisions on intuition, but it’s a lot easier to justify to shareholders when you can back it up with data.” Beyond his professional passions, Max plays bass in a pop punk band, visits as many national parks as he can and is an aspiring poet, publishing his first book in 2023.