#276: Childcare Saver Leverages Partners to Help Reduce the Cost of Childcare

Today’s episode of “Let’s Talk Loyalty” features an award-winning Australian loyalty programme, called Childcare Saver.

This year-old programme leverages the power of partnerships, community, and operational excellence to deliver a simple yet compelling proposition, focused on helping parents reduce the cost of their childcare.

Paula Thomas hosts todays show, and she is joined by Gary Carroll, the CEO and Managing Director of G8 Education Ltd which owns this programme, as well as Kristie Atkins, Managing Partner at Wink who operate it.

Together, they share the story of how Childcare Saver came about, the difference it is making for Australian families, and their vision and goals for the future.

Show Notes:

1.) G8 Education features on shortlist for ninth annual Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2022

2.) Childcare Saver: Shop. Earn. Learn

3.) Childcare Saver

4.) Gary Carroll, CEO and Managing Director of G8 Education Ltd

5.) G8 Education Ltd

6.) Kristie Atkins, Managing Partner at Wink

7.) Wink

Audio Transcript

Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas. And if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.


This show is sponsored by Comarch, a global provider of innovative software products and business services. Comarch’s platform is used by leading brands across all industries to drive their customer loyalty. Powered by AI and machine learning, Comarch technologies allow you to build, run and manage personalized loyalty programs and product offers with ease. For more information, please visit comarch.com.


Hello, and welcome to episode 276 of Let’s Talk Loyalty featuring an award-winning Australian loyalty program called Childcare Saver. This one-year-old program leverages the power of partnerships, community, and operational excellence to deliver a simple yet compelling proposition. And as you will hear, it’s laser-focused on helping parents reduce the cost of their childcare, which is a huge issue throughout the whole of Australia. In this episode, I was delighted to be joined by Gary Carroll, the CEO and Managing Director of G8 Education Limited, which owns this program, as well as Kristie Atkins, Managing Partner at Wink who operate it. Together, they share the story of how childcare saver came about and the difference it is making for Australian families.


Paula: So Gary and Kristie, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty. 


Kristie: Hi, Paula. 


Gary: Great to be here, Paula. 


Paula: Great. Thank you for joining me from Sunny Australia. Um, super excited to talk about this program. I know it’s one that addresses a real pain point for parents, uh, in the Australian market, looking to make childcare more affordable. So a real feel-good story. I think we’re gonna talk about today. So before we get into talking about the program, specifically, as you know, we always ask our guest, what is their favorite loyalty program other than their own? So, Gary, I’m gonna come to you first to tell me, what is your favorite loyalty program?


Gary: Well, Paula mine is the KrisFlyer loyalty program run by Singapore Airlines. Okay. Um, couple of reasons for that, um, myself and my family, we love travel. So any opportunity to, um, have a benefit associated with that. Um, and I’ll probably offend every other airline loyalty program now by saying that. The feeling you get out of KrisFlyer is they actually actually genuinely want you to redeem your points and use them for travel. And so we find the, um, the partnership with American Express really simple. Yeah. The points conversion is, seems to be market-leading, certainly from our perspective, we get more value from our points. And then when you actually try and book a trip. It’s actually really easy, which, um, feels quite unique. Uh I’ve certainly, it’s not the only airline loyalty program. I’m a member of. Yeah. But it’s by far the most easy. And if you have a problem, you ring up and they actually solve your problem. So it’s um, wow. It’s a real pleasure. Yeah, it’s really good. 


Paula: Wow.


Kristie: I feel like we might have like, talked about this by ESP before this, because definitely I’m an air miles junkie, like, and I’m like a member of every airline program pretty much. Mm. And I intended to say virtually exactly the same thing. Cause the problem with most of them is like literally. It drives you crazy if you’re accruing your benefit and you cannot, you know, get that benefit and redeem it easily and like you’ve hit on it. I can’t believe it. I feel like we’ve, ESPED it  um, and look outside of that, it would be also remiss of me not to say my other favorite is definitely Childcare Saver because of course it’s a beautiful program and, and we’re excited to talk to you about it today, Paula.


Paula: Yeah. Great. Thanks for that, Kristie. And Gary, just to pick up on a couple of things that you said, first of all, as a non-loyalty, uh, specialist, let’s say clearly you are a loyalty program owner. That’s a wonderful set of observations. So, uh, congrats on having the insights in terms of what drives, I think a successful loyalty program. You’ve obviously been paying close attention and listening a lot to it, to the likes of Kristie and everyone who’s guiding you there. But I definitely think you’re right. Um, the whole point about, first of all, I, I don’t think enough people talk about the intention of a program because I think members feel that. And the fact that you feel that KrisFlyer wants you to redeem as Kristie says, is absolutely sensational because we all know that there’s promises that loyalty programs make, and sometimes they don’t deliver. Um, so I think we’re all keen to avoid that. But I think as a member and as a frequent flyer, particularly travel so aspirational. So to have that sense that they want you to fly and avail of those kind of essentially free free flights, I think is, is wonderful. And you both talked about the simplicity as well. I think it’s a, it’s a core pillar of loyalty programs that sometimes gets lost, particularly I think, as programs mature. So again, back to KrisFlyer all, credited them, if they’re able to keep it simple. Um, even at scale, I think that’s absolutely wonderful, so a great one to kick off. Um, and as we said, we’re here to talk about Childcare Savers. So Gary, you are the CEO and you are running the G8 Education Group, so I’d love to just start with where did the idea come from? Because it is very innovative, um, very unusual for the childcare sector to have anything remotely resembling a loyalty proposition, even with the best intention of course, with the core product. But where did the idea come from in the first place? 


Gary: Well, Paul, it really started when we, um, gathered feedback from our families, um, about what their pain points were. So we we’d done a number of surveys over the years and the pain point that screamed the loudest and the longest was the affordability or otherwise of, uh, childcare in Australia to give you some sense, the, Net out of pocket cost to Australian families of childcare is about double the CD average. We’re at the top end of wow, okay. cost. wow. Um, If we’re in a Nordic country, um, we mightn’t have had the same impetus for the program because the out-of-pocket costs yeah, in those lucky countries is so much lower. Um, but yeah, so we, we, once we’d, um, identified that pain point, we then did some more deep diving with our, um, focus groups and some samples and said, so if we could find a way to, um, alleviate that pain point, um, Would you consider having your child in our centers more frequently? Um, cuz the other, the other observation we had quite clearly was at the time, our average days in care. So the child being in a center was about 2.6, 2.7 days. In a week is it? Per week. Okay. Which was a head, the head scratch for our team. Cuz we go, yeah, we don’t. At that time, we don’t know many people that were working two to three days a week. Yeah. Most people were working three to four, four to five. Um, so we, as part of the survey said, Yeah, we won’t be offended, but to use other forms of care. Yeah. And they went, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. We use, um, informal care, which is free and often involving grandparents. Of course. Yeah. So I’ll, um, I’ll put our child into your center for three days a week, one day with Grandma or grand and Granddad. Yeah. And then I’ll, I’ll not work the other day. Wow. Follow up question. If we, you know, found a way that make it a little bit cheaper, would you work more and would you relieve grandparents to the burden they went that absolutely. Wow. But the majority of people came back and said, yeah, we would look at taking additional days in your center, if you could, um, really help us with the cost. So we went, right. That’s our challenge. The easy way to do that is just to drop your fee. Yeah. Um, which is a great way to go outta business in a hurry. So we said, yeah, not in our industry. Yeah. That’s right. So what is a more innovative way of reducing the cost to parents? Yeah, and I, I had some pretty smart people in, in my, uh, marketing team going well, how do we actually get parents to leverage their other spend, in a way that could save the money and, you know, um, generate loyalty. And that really appealed to us cuz we went, it also shows some real care on the part of our centers around we’re trying to work with you to alleviate a financial pain point for you. Yeah. Um, and so we scan the market, um, and look for that started or was the germination of the idea around, do we introduce a loyalty program where families could use their everyday spend to generate a credit or a cash that they could use to offset the cost of childcare. Yeah. And the membership would be dependent on being a member of our center, we’ve got about 40,000 families. Wow. And we actually started the idea going, and if this thing really flies, we are really happy to make it available to everyone in the market. Wow. I’m, I’m actually really keen if, yeah, every child center in Australia actually provided this program. Um, I think Kristie lead a bigger team. Um, and that’s when the spend gets really quite compelling and it, cause, I do have a confession in a past life, I did program managed the build of two other loyalty programs, which ah, didn’t run my favorite, but they were pretty good. So, right. I had a rudimentary knowledge of what are the components of success and clearly getting volume of spend. Yeah. We thought 40,000 families that’s a reasonable spend, but if we get it to the next level, that really starts to juice it up and make it pretty attractive. Yeah. Um, and we’re, we know we’re in a, um, customer category that’s pretty appealing to lots of retailers. So we had half an idea that we’d be able to attract a really high-quality level of retail, um, partners to the program. Great. Yeah. Um, and then that would make it a more compelling and engaging program, drive the span, drive the behavior. It kind of builds on itself. So it felt like it could work. What we needed to find was a partner that was willing to take a chance on building it from scratch. Yeah. Um, and there was, there was no precedent in our market that you could look to, totally. To go well, we know it works for this customer set. Yeah. Um, particularly when you’re competing against other, you know, really quite effective loyalty programs. Appealing to the exact same families that we are trying to appeal to it. 


Paula: Totally. Totally. And you’re right. I mean, there is a precedent for the model in other categories. I’ve had Rakuten on the show, for example, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with them as a, uh, you know, a nationwide cashback program in, in Japan and, and in the U.S. hugely successful. So, the model is exceptional, but I think what’s wonderful and Kristie can, can talk us through the journey, but the, the tailoring, as you said, Gary, to your customer segment, to understanding particularly I suppose the availability of merchants, you know, to, to essentially fund the program because my own background actually is also in partner negotiations, Gary, so we share a couple of similarities. Again, totally different sector. So what I do love is the, the clarity of thinking. Um, and that must be music to your ears, Kristie, you know, in your role as a, you know, marketing agency and a partner to the G8 Education Group. Tell us, uh, what did you think when you heard about this, uh, this big idea and a big challenge?


Kristie: Gary and I have talked about this idea across quite a few years. And, um, I think, you know, in the end we were just really glad to see what was always a great idea, become a great reality. Um, and we’re super proud not just of this program, but of the partnership that we share together. We have good open, honest communication between organizations we’re really focused on good outcomes for families. And I think, you know, all great marketing is great storytelling and for me, this program really starts with that beautiful story. And the fact that here is what is a huge corporate in this country, you know, really doing something for its customers for the right reasons. And I think it’s interesting because in the loyalty space, You know, our business Wink often hears about people go, we need loyalty program. Okay. That’s great. Why exactly do you need one? Yeah. Or they go, we’re a big company, so we should have a loyalty program. Yeah. And this wasn’t about that. This was about finding the right way to make childcare more affordable for G8 families. And what has come out of that is Childcare Saver. Um, look, the work involved, it is extensive, you know, crafting that partner network. We’ve been really careful about who we onboard. You know, they’ve gotta be people that share, you know, the values, um, of G8 and also of what Childcare Saver is. Um, and we’ve also had to be careful to make sure we’ve got the right mix of not just big and well-known brands, but brands that really speak to what families need, you know, um, one of the things we’ve understood, um, in learning more about the customer segment is these are families that yes, they might have a sort of two to five-year-old in early childhood education, but they also teach the families with another bubble on the way, or, you know, and another addition coming through. So things like, you know, making sure we’ve got a baby formula supplier in the program, of course. Yeah, You know, not just, big groceries department stores and that kind of thing, things to do on the weekend for families. Um, things that the grandparents can do with the kids, you know, arts and craft type suppliers, um, and really filling out, uh, the communications and the environment with not just offer, offer, offer, cause we’ve seen a lot of that stuff, but circulating ways in which, um, you know, customers or families can get much more value out of the activities. So, you know, our arts and craft suppliers provide free activities that we include in the communication. And, you know, some of our food partners have got recipes that are great things that, you know, you can get the kids in the kitchen to help prepare, um, and some really nice things like that. That really just bring this real, you know, flavor. Uh, what this market, you know, is looking for into, into this lofty environment. 


Paula: Yeah. Wonderful. And you’re absolutely right, Kristie. Yes. That, um, you know, the specifications of, of what is an appropriate partner for any brand has to be crystal clear. So I love that you’ve obviously done the thinking, uh, make sure the relevance is there. And particularly, I guess, for, for all parts of the family, I think that’s a really nice, I suppose, insight and I’d love to get a sens, I guess Kristie, like what kind of response did you get from those partners? Because it does seem like this model, um, hasn’t been done extensively in the Australian market, so, so how easy was it to explain the concept to them at, at the outset?


Kristie: Um, look, there was an awful lot of conversation, but when we were able to tell people a story of what this program is about, it was really nice to see, you know, really senior people and big brands get truly excited about a story. Yeah, because often I think people are contacting and saying, we want an offer for X program when you’re in a loyalty environment, this wasn’t that, you know, this was about saying, you know, we want you to help make, you know, be part of an ecosystem that makes childcare more affordable in Australia. I mean, this is an issue in our market. That is a current affairs issue. People talk about, you know, I’m not a parent. Um, and yet you’re not highly aware just, you know, of scanning the news as this is an issue, uh, in this market. Look, and the other key challenge that we’ve got with this, um, you know, partner ecosystem in this country as well is, We’re a really big country with a lot of, you know, cities and towns that are, you know, quite separate from each other. So, you know, the ability for us to deliver a program, we’ve also got the right mix of, uh, opportunities to redeem in, you know, regional or non-metropolitan centers was important here. Gary’s got centers, you know, right around the country. And we had to make sure that every family, you know, has fair and equitable access to, yeah, to the partner network. So that’s a big focus for us too. 


Paula: For sure. Absolutely. Yeah. And what I do love as well is what I feel that this partner model does, is it allows you, I suppose, as well from a G8 perspective, Gary, I’m guessing, uh, I don’t wanna put words in your mouth, but too, I suppose really support the community even more broadly than the families themselves, like you’re supporting the businesses in every community. So was that something, I guess that was, was important for you as well?

Gary: Well actually, that was a bit of an added bonus when we started working with Kristie and the team, you know, when we started looking at the potential merchant partners and, you know, everyone focuses on the tier ones and tier twos, cuz yeah, they drive the dollars, which drive the benefits, which hopefully get the program and, and Kristie and the team said, Hey, there’s also an opportunity to be agile with this. And how about we give some flex for your centers to nominate the really key local community connections that we want, we can reach out to and establish a, uh, partnership with, which I know is a lot of work for those guys, but we really appreciated it. And it, it just, it’s a bit synergistic, though in that, If that happens in our center, teams are more likely to market the program. And, um, it also, it does rely on a bit of that relation relationship marketing at center level. Yeah. You know, they can see the poster on the wall. We clearly have as part of our enrollment process. Hey, you’re enrolling. Did you know about this Childcare Saver? Let’s sign you up. Yeah, but what we found is. We, um, we kind of position the whole program on the notion of it takes a village to raise a child, in that, um, one of the key features of the program is that you can add, I call ’em subsidiary members, but so if I’m the primary member, my wife, brother, sister, uncle can join and attribute their spend to my parents. Okay. Um, and that was a way of kind of turbocharging the cash benefits for families. Yeah. Cause we know those discussions happen in a family environment now, the whole family gets together and goes, yeah, you just had a child, you know? Yeah. You may be not working. Your income’s gone down. How can I help you? Yeah. And this feeds into that kind of mentality and support network, and we thought what a great way to do that. Yeah. That manifests itself in the centers every day as well. If our center teams are looking out for families going, Hey, how you going? Here’s this program that can help you. Oh, by the way, it’s also helping support. The local coffee shop. Yeah. The local butcher, baker, etc. Yeah. And that makes everyone feel good about the program, you know, Totally. to Kristie’s point, this isn’t just a financial program. This is for us a really critical way about how we build a support community around our parents and our centers as part of delivering the program.


Paula: For sure. And I think what that reminds me as well, Gary is, you know, a conversation we have on this show a lot, which is, you know, how do you achieve emotional loyalty, which is so different to the transactional loyalty that we all know, and, you know, I do think there’s an element of fatigue around loyalty programs in every market for, you know, for various reasons, you know, sometimes points are not understood or they’re not clear, or they’re not redeemable to, you know, to go back to the KrisFlyer example. So, so the fact that you can build a proposition and I think particularly, I like that idea of grandparents, for example, feeling like here is a way I can support my grandchild’s education. I mean, what a wonderful sense of contribution and again, without changing their behavior in any dramatic way. Yeah. There’s no complexity, you know, beyond, you know, sign up, get started. I mean, that’s a lovely, lovely idea. 


Kristie: Yeah. And Paula, the UX is just beautiful. It’s fantastic. You can set a goal in the, um, okay. In the program. So you can set a goal of say the cost of a childcare day. Yeah. And it literally, as you are, you know, doing your shopping and whatever else has a live updating balance, you know, to show you how you go against your goal and you reach your goal and you check out. And it’s lovely also that those secondary members, not just the primary users. See, you know, that goal and we all know if you’re striving for something, it adds that extra layer of excitement and energy behind it. And, uh, yeah, totally look, it’s, it’s really, really, um, beautifully done. Um, and you know, you talk about points, fatigue, and some of the fatigue generally with loyalty programs, you know, right now in the way that you know, this market is absolutely, you know, cash is king, rr something that is equitable to cash and that people understand, yeah, the real value is what is resonating. Yeah. And that is absolutely the way this thing has been engineered. 


Paula: Yeah. Super, super. Yeah. 


Gary: The, the UX was a big, um, yeah, a big plus for us, I gotta say. Even me the, um, the AI that sits behind the platform, so it understands and you know, as people search for the same thing over and over, it surfs up those offers, nice, you know, a front of, front of mind and all of that. And you can set your favorites and yeah, it’s a really easy, um, app to use, which, you know, it’s all about driving those habits and behaviors and people feeling like they’re, they’re getting value and they’re getting some fun out of it as well, so, yeah. Yes.


Kristie: And 50 families that don’t have time to read instructions. Think about how to use things, all that stuff. You just gotta totally make sure that it’s intuitive. They get on there, they have a bash, know how to use it. And then we compliment that obviously with, you know, a whole set of communications that sit around the program. 


Paula: Of course. Absolutely. So talk to me then about KPIs, Gary. Um, again, a crystal clear, brief, you know, a real pain point, multiple stakeholders, wonderful partners on the delivery and operational side, but what kind of KPIs did you set for yourself? Um, you know, at the beginning of, you know, when you actually decided, right, we’re gonna kick this off and get started.


Gary: Yeah, well, I mean, apart from world domination, we sort of had to set some specific ones. Hey, that’s my job. We’re on, that’s okay. We’re getting there. We’re on the way, we’re on the way. Well, we have a pretty clear target, we wanted to get the 10% of the, get 10% of our signed up in the first three months. And ideally we’d get to 20% in the first six. We’ve we’ve done better than. Oh, great. Um, yeah, we’re, we’re at eight and a half, um, thousand families out of a 40,000, um, membership base. So that’s been really good. Great. Um, our spend target or our, uh, transaction target, Paula is we ideally we’d like each member to sign up at least two secondary members. So they have sort of three and they spend on a weekly basis in a consistent once we at maturity, hits that sort of, somewhere between 800 and dollars and a thousand dollars a week for the three. Um, you know, two subsidiary and one primary member. Okay. And the reason for that logic is based off the percentage cash save, that’s gonna save somewhere in around the 40-ish dollars, uh, a week for that primary member. Nice. Yeah. Which equates to, to, and Kristie made the point just before. That’s about one free day of Childcare. Yeah, which is a really symbolic thing for families. Yeah. Um, it also points to who our primary kind of customer is, which are our existing families. Yeah. And it’s all about how do we increase the day’s care for our existing families. Um, and the reason I’m emphasizing that is we we’ll offer it to all new families as well. And that’s fine. We know. Childcare Saver in and of itself is not gonna be the sole determinant of whether they pick our center or not. Um, and that’s actually a good thing cause I would hope every family picks the center they wanna send their child to based on the relationship with their center manager and the quality of the center and that’s their primary driver. And that’s a really good thing. Yeah. So we work really hard with Kristie and her team about how we do so we don’t over emphasize Childcare Saver it in that initial period. Interesting. Once people are in our center, we then really show them the benefits. Interesting. So we wanna make it, yeah, we wanna make sure we get the relationship right at front. Lovely. Um, Overtime, we think that will add a significant number of days in care for us. Yeah. Um, which we think is a good thing. A for children, B for grandparents. Yeah. I dunno about you, but, uh, every grandparent I to that’s a tough day, right? When they’ve got, uh, one or two children, that’s a tough day. Clearly for us. Um, you know, overall having increased days care is really important. So yeah, they’re our key kind of measures. It’s number of members spend per member, and both primary and secondary members. Yeah. Cuz that really aims up the benefits. 


Paula: Yeah. And you did mention that promoter score as well. Gary, I saw on your LinkedIn profile along with some other wonderful KPIs. So just while we’re on the subject, tell us how, you know, what are you measuring in terms of your net promoter score?


Oh, down net promoter score is a holistic engagement metric we use, um, Qualtrics, which is a, you know, market standard benchmark. Sure. And that covers all aspects of, uh, you know, quality of care, great value, you know, ancillary relationships, all that sort of stuff. And we think providing innovative. Valuable products and services like Childcare Saver  will increase the level of engagement our family has, which will flow through in terms of an NPS score over time. Yeah, I think the primary measure of success will actually be in, um, days of days in care for existing families. Yeah. And numbers of members. 


Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And, and Kristie, you made that point and I, I do believe it’s, um, it’s extremely powerful. And again, perhaps not something that every loyalty program thinks about in enough detail because, you know, again, whether it’s a grandparent or another secondary, remember, you know, saving $40 a week, of course is a wonderful number, but what does that mean in terms of, you know, the actual, tangible benefits? So sounds like that’s a, a key principle in terms of, you know, making it something that everybody understands. That’s one extra day for my grandchild or whatever, to, to basically get that benefit.


Yeah, definitely. And which while, um, Gary has talked, you know, about some of the numbers, you know, for us, you know, really key focuses are continuing to really ensure that user experience is next level, uh, broadening out the partner network, but with appropriate partners, uh, driving those partners that have the, you know, most popular offers and the best usage amongst families, uh, to provide supercharge, special offers, you know, things that really make sense in certain sort of seasons offer times of the week. Uh, you know, we’ve got thematic communications going out. So, you know, if it’s a holiday time, you know, we’re talking about great holiday, you know, choices for families where they can benefit from utilizing the partner network. Yeah. You know, if it’s, you know, Christmas or Black Friday, clearly, you know, we are focusing on getting those hottest offers, it’ll help. Yeah. Super, the savings of the families. Um, and for us also, you know, um, a real focus is just ensuring that we’ve got the right clear communication with G8 as our partner, because, you know, as their sort of, you know, needs requirements and goals change, we’re determined to make sure that we can keep evolving Childcare Saver to meet their needs. You know, that is the, a key responsibility that we have as their partner. 


For sure. For sure. And, and I know for example, you do have a software platform of course, to manage the complexity. And it sounds like you do have, you know, we’ve talked about the local, um, relevance and it sounds like then you can do both, on, online, pardon me and offline. So again, to get that mix of whether it’s in store spend again to be measured, tracked, and, and essentially cash back into the, the, the Childcare Saver Program. So is that correct? It is, it is both online and offline. 


Yeah. Yep. So we’ve got a whole mix of different ways in which families can redeem offers. ,um, we’re also, um, very good at navigating the ways in which we integrate with different partners, because as you can imagine, we’ve got all levels of sophistication of operator going on. Sure. You know, we’ve got big brands with all the it departments and all the, you know, whizbang stuff in the world you need, and then we literally do have some local cafe operators down the street where we’ve had to do some, you know, totally, very, clear manual workarounds as required, which makes it fun sometimes. But, um, you know, we’ve gotten really smart about having lots of ways in which we can, you know, onboard people and I think, look, some of the other results, um, you know, and recognition of this program, it kind of speaks for itself. You know, we’re really excited that recently. Yeah. Um, the program was the only, uh, recipient of a gong in Australia at the APAC Loyalty and Engagement Awards, um, you know, finalists for Best CX Partner at the CX Awards, you know, best, uh, Loyalty Retention Initiative at the australian Marketing Awards for Excellence. You know, this is a beautiful story, but it’s a beautiful program and it is really nice user experience. And, and I know that both of our organizations between Gary and I, we are deeply proud of, yeah. And what we have, and we do get great feedback from the families and the partners.


Yeah. Yeah. And congratulations. So I was about to ask about all the awards I knew there was a long list, so, um, definitely wanted to celebrate can’t believe it was the only Australian program, particularly that, um, you know, one of the marketing interactives, so congrats on that. So, um, Lots done, uh, more to do, just remind me the launch date because, um, again, for people listening, as you know, we’ve got an audience globally, when did Childcare Saver actually launch what 


yeah. Launched in November of last year, 


November 21. Yeah. 


So it’s sort of, uh, headed towards the anniversary and great. We actually, um, got this to market in really slick time when, when we sort of hit, go with Gary, we were all really focused on saying, you know, that run up to Christmas. Yeah. You know, that sort of Black Friday, Christmas boxing day, summer holiday season, you know, it was an opportunity to launch when there’d be lots of excitement. Um, and we’re gonna be building on that this year. We’ve got, uh, you know, lots of special things for the participating families coming up, this, this, uh, coming festive season. 


I’m sure. I’m sure. Yeah. And Gary, I know you’ve just done your latest investor updates. Um, yep. And, uh, I, I’m sure you had a wonderful response and reaction as well from your own kind of shareholders. So I’d love to maybe just, I suppose, finish off, uh, from my side with that particular question. 


Yeah. I mean, feedback from our shareholders has been really positive about not only the innovative nature of the program, but it’s funny. It’s a really easy story to tell people, um, and they identify with it straight away and they go, oh, wow, that’s nice. Yeah. So it’s, you’re doing it because the why is, are in making childcare more, well, that’s fair take, cuz it clearly aligns with our purpose. Um, and um, They’re pleased with the results to date. So, you know, they’re really keen to keep getting the updates and see how it goes. Um, I actually have one investor who is a, uh, we sometimes get this, that they’re a customer as well, and they I’m in the program. Oh, I love it. So that was really good. Wow. Said, can you just kind of tell everyone that it’d be fantastic?  totally, but I mean, we’re also, um, and without digressing, uh, too much. The other big problem, we, uh, Kristie and I are trying to solve is that the wages in the sector are really low. Oh, really? Um, we are looking to, uh, turn Childcare Saver into Team Saver and make the same sort of program available. Nice for G8 Education team members. Yeah. Um, Some of which already are beneficiaries, cuz they’ve got children in our care. Um, yeah. And so we are looking for ways to extend their dollar even further and help yeah. solve the problem, cuz it’s the 13th, most slowly paid profession in the, in Australia at the moment, if you’re a early childhood educator. Wow. So we’ve been scratching for ways of how, how can we actually help them? Um, yeah. We’ve been increasing their wages above award for a while now, and we thought, is there another innovative way? And we went, no, well, actually I think we know another innovative way to get people to stretch the door even further. So, wow. We look to launch that before, uh, end of year.


Oh, congratulations. 


And Paula, that’s a, that’s a global exclusive for you. I’m surprised you dropped that one, Gary secret outta the bag. 


Yeah. Well, I mean, it, I mean, it makes so much sense and I love the fact that it’s again, so clear, so easy to understand when you articulate it and explain it because we all know how busy, you know, we all are, whether we’re parents or not. Um, and employees, of course, we, we trust them and rely on them to articulate our propositions. So as well, supporting them, you know, and I know you’re one of Australia’s best, uh, most Tru trusted employers as well, Gary, I know there’s um, some awards. Do you want to mention that by the way? 


Uh, yeah, we recently got a awarded Most Attractive Employer in Australia by Randstad so. 


There you go. Pardon me? I didn’t have the terminology. Absolutely. Well, there you go. It’s. The it’s the integrity coming through, you know, looking for this kind of Team Saver idea. So thank you for the world exclusive. Um, definitely sounds like something that they’re all gonna be, you know, falling over themselves, dare I say, to, to actually sign up to, because there’s this clear benefits on all sides. So listen, I think that’s all the questions I have from my perspective. Um, Kristie, did you have any kind of closing thoughts from your perspective as, as Wink and the partner on this program? 


I think that Childcare Saver is a really nice example of what can be achieved when you start with the business objective and work backwards and engineer a program that really is about achieving set objective , you know, I mentioned earlier, So often that people say I need loyalty program, but with no real reason or no key objective, other than going, I’ve got a marketing checklist and I’ve gotta tick that box. Sure. Um, and for me, you also, you always should start with what are you achieving and is the loyalty program, you know, the best way to achieve that. Uh, and I think that we’ve shown with Childcare Saver, you know, you can bring together a beautiful user experience a great idea. Um, and a real problem and sort of nail it all in one. And yeah, I think this idea of accruing a benefit against a goal is something that is transferable to lots of different industry sectors. Sure. Um, and it would be interesting to see, you know, how many people, um, sort of keep an eye on this space and, and, uh, potentially head in the same direction. And, and I know that it’s something, you know, we are keenly looking at yeah. As a concept that really, you know, resonates, not just for education, but in other spaces as well. Yeah. 


I totally agree. Absolutely Kristie. So Gary, any closing thoughts from your perspective? 


Uh, I think the, uh, the only ingredient Kristie didn’t mention was an awesome partner. Um, and I’ll certainly be personally grateful for Kristie and Prataal, uh, enabling this thing to happen because, you know, we we’ve been going at it a while. COVID had hit. Sure. Um, COVID had a really big impact on G8, we shut, you know, lots and lots of centers and yeah. Um, I’d actually rung them. I said, I think I might have to put this thing on hold that was in mid 2021. Yeah. And they, uh, they went okay. They rang me back a couple of days later and said, what if. What, if we did all of this stuff for you and we got it up and running before Black Friday, what do you think? Wow. And they turned me around and they, uh, beat that timetable and, you know, we had a great launch. So this thing wouldn’t have happened without the partners that we got on board. And, you know, so for me, yeah, you cannot underestimate the, the determination and skill of the partner that you partner with.


Yeah. And vice versa. It’s a, it’s a really, really nice relationship. We so appreciate, you know, the open yeah, really good friendly relationship we have with G8. And nothing, yeah, any program provider and program owner, if they don’t have that doom for failure from the, from the go, from, from the get go.


Totally. And we’ve all seen it operational excellence. It’s, it’s one thing to have a beautiful idea, but can you deliver, so on that note, I’m going to say congratulations. First of all, Kristie Atkins, Managing Partner at Wink and also Gary Carroll CEO and Managing Director at G8 Education. Thank you both so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty.


Thanks Paula. 


Thanks Paula. Great to be here. 


This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer. The world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news, insights, and research. The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its Loyalty Academy, which has already certified over 245 executives in 27 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals. For more information, check out thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org


Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Let’s Talk Loyalty. If you’d like us to send you the latest shows each week, simply sign up for the Let’s Talk Loyalty Newsletter on letstalkloyalty.com and we’ll send our best episodes straight to your inbox.


And don’t forget that you can follow Let’s Talk Loyalty on any of your favorite podcast platforms,

and of course, we’d love for you to share your feedback and reviews. 


Thanks again for supporting the show.