#284: Fuel Rewards from Shell - Award-Winning Loyalty Celebrates 10 Years Delighting Customers

Today we are hearing from the iconic “Fuel Rewards” program from Shell in North America.

With almost 30 million members, and over 12,600 fuel stations nationwide, Shell’s award-winning “Fuel Rewards” program continues to remain relevant and compelling for American motorists, with a core proposition based on cents-per-gallon savings.

To celebrate their ten-year anniversary, Shell’s Fuel Rewards program recently launched 10 months of exciting new ways to save, and also new ways to win.

Listen to this episode to hear all about the latest from Shell’s Chris Suess, Head of Loyalty and CRM, and Ebru Ak, US Loyalty, and CRM Co-ordinator.

Show Notes:

1.) Shell “Fuel Rewards”

2.) Chris Suess, Head of Loyalty

3.) Ebru Ak, US Loyalty, and CRM Co-ordinator

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 brought to you by the Loyalty and Awards Conference. The leading annual event for loyalty professionals in the travel industry. Make sure to join us this year from the 10th to the 12th of October in Madrid for the perfect mix of inspiring content and exciting awards. Check out loyaltyandawards.com for more information and to register.

Hello and welcome to episode 284 of Let’s Talk Loyalty, featuring the Iconic Fuel Rewards Program from Shell in North America. With almost 30 million members and over 12,600 fuel stations nationwide Shell’s award-winning fuel rewards program continues to remain relevant and compelling for American motorists with the core proposition based on cents per gallon saving.

To celebrate their 10 year anniversary. Shell’s Fuel Rewards Program recently launched 10 months of exciting new ways to save and also new ways to win. Joining me from Shell to explain their newest campaigns and this award-winning program are Chris Suess, Head of Loyalty and CRM, and Ebru A. US loyalty and CRM coordinator.

Paula: So Chris and Ebru from Shell, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Ebru: Hi.

Chris: Thank you. Good to be.

Paula: Thank you so much guys. I think it is the perfect opportunity to talk about Shell Fuel Rewards. I know you guys are doing some extraordinary work to celebrate the 10 year anniversary and also some of the recent awards that you guys have been winning, so it is a very exciting time, clearly.

So before we get into Fuel Rewards, first and foremost, I always, as you know, start the show by asking our favorite loyalty programs. So Chris, I’m gonna start with you first, and I would love to know what is your favorite loyalty program?

Chris: Yeah, so that’s a, that’s an easy one for, I’m a huge fan of the T-Mobile Tuesdays Loyalty program, or I should say just T-Mobile’s Loyalty Program, but specifically the, the, uh, T-Mobile Tuesdays piece.

Okay. Uh, it, it’s just very, uh, it allows me to, every Tuesday morning, I kind of get to go on a treasure hunt through my T-Mobile Tuesdays app. Very easy to use and find a variety of different, uh, uh, offers, deals, uh, so forth in there that, uh, that, uh, oftentimes, uh, work for me. So it’s just kind of fun, it feels rewarding.

Paula: Sounds like you actually first of all know it’s a Tuesday proposition very clearly, um, in terms of its positioning and look forward to logging in every week.

Chris: I do. That’s correct.

Paula: Wow. It’s a mechanic. I’ve often said, Chris, that I think is underutilized because I do think it’s hard as loyalty professionals to be, you know, innovative, exciting, and engaging like seven days of the week, so sounds like a very clear idea. And I think I said to you once before that I had, had this similar idea again in the telecommunication sector, because I really felt that, you know, within that sector, it’s not something that people typically want to engage with. It’s kind of a bit of a grudge purchase. So sounds like T-Mobile has a very clear proposition, and is it led with them with gamification, did you say?

Chris: You know, it’s got a nice variety. It, uh, they’ve got the, uh, weekly offers that are, are fairly consistent that, you know, are gonna be there to kind of keep you coming back. Then they sprinkle in some, some new offers every week. Okay. Then they oftentimes have gamification elements to it that, uh, may wrap around an offer or an opportunity or a chance to win, cool, things like that. Uh, they keep it interesting. Keep it fun. Keep it light.

Paula: Yeah. Okay. I think that’s the, that’s the key as well. Actually, I just did a, a dedicated episode about gamification, uh, which to me is fascinating because at the end of the day, there are so many things competing for our attention, I guess.

So yeah, when it is nice and light and fun, as you said, Chris, it just makes it so much easier to kind of look back and look forward to, uh, connecting with that program. So well done. T-Mobile. And Ebru from your perspective, tell me what is your favorite loyalty program?

Ebru: Yes. I think I’m, I’m more on the convenience side and my favorite, uh, loyalty program is Amazon Prime. Okay. Because I feel it’s, for me, the one stop shop, they have a wide array of products. You know, you can also see the product reviews, like you can find whatever you need at the time of the purchase. And of course, what is more important to me, it saves me my, um, time and money.

Paula: Wonderful. Yeah, no, I mean, even here in Dubai, we certainly have Amazon. In fact, they acquired a marketplace. We had, uh, an Arabic version called souq.com and uh, Amazon came in and bought that. And absolutely we have the Prime proposition. And I know when it started or, or certainly when it got to the first big milestone that they announced, which I remember specifically when they crossed a hundred million paying loyalty program members, I think the whole world of loyalty professionals went, Oh my God, I want that kind of result.

So absolutely incredible. But I agree with you absolutely individually. I know what saves me time. I know what saves me money. So yeah, well done on Amazon Prime. So, as I said, we’re here to talk all about Fuel Rewards. Um, it is a decade old. I think this program really just transformed the industry, particularly I think in the US market where the coalition model doesn’t seem to have. Uh, being successful in any other sector, so Shell is clearly leading the way in terms of creating something that spans, I suppose, everyday life. So maybe Chris, from your perspective, I’d love to just ask you maybe where did the original idea come about in terms of Fuel Rewards? Because I think that’s cents per gallon proposition, um, probably originated with you guys.

I think it was probably the first in the world, if I’m not mistaken.

Chris: I don’t, I don’t know about that, but it certainly was the first in the US to, to our recollection. Okay. Uh, yeah, so I mean, it just came around. We were trying to figure out a way that we could begin to, you know, build that, uh, that habitual, uh, uh, purchasing behavior, if you will, give something to customers each and every time they arrive. We wanted to keep it simple. We knew, we did research around, uh, with, with customers that it was very clear that they could understand cents per gallon, they weren’t, uh, they, they weren’t so keen on percent off points, what have you, way back then. It was, keep it simple for me. Help me understand. Yeah. Let me do the math quickly in my head. Yes. And so we built a, we built this model that, uh, the more you buy from us, the more you can, uh, the discount, you know, more cents per gallon discounts you can get. Yeah. And then we began to add other ways to save and, uh, and allows people to, you know, continue to stack those up and. And, uh, you know, at times save 25, 30, 40, 50 cents a gallon when they purchase. Wow. Yeah. So it’s been, been an evolution. Something we’ve been able to build on and, and continue to build on different ways to save through everyday stuff.

Paula: Yeah, so it sounds like it was purely a Shell proposition in the beginning, and then the partnership models and adding in all of the different brands that you’re working with now. That’s something that sounds like an ongoing part of your evolution in terms of adding to those savings. Does, Does that sound right?

Chris: Yes, that’s, That’s it. Absolutely. Continuing to look for different, unique ways to save partnership. Opportunities are, are a big piece for us. We, we’ve seen a lot of success in, in those areas. We’ve also begun to invest more heavily in, in tying store purchases to cents per gallon discounts. Oh, cool. And that is, we’re, we’re seeing some very good results within our own, uh, footprint within our own C stores. So, uh, yeah, I would say that’s an emerging space for us, uh, that is, that is working quite well.

Paula: Absolutely. Yeah. And I do know the whole industry, I suppose, is striving to encourage people to, I suppose, get into the stores and enjoy all of the incredible, I suppose, range of products, because maybe in the past, I think, you know, fuel stations might have had quite a limited selection, but I think in terms of like wonderful food and drink options, um, it certainly is expanding in terms of the quality that I’ve seen.

So more and more reasons for people to go in store and if you can tie that over to their, uh, cents per gallon saving as well, I think that’s a really nice proposition.

Chris: Yeah, no, that’s, uh, I think you hit it exactly the, the, uh, the range of products, the quality of the products. The, uh, the cleanliness of the stores.

All those things have, uh, have really been, uh, an area focused over the last, you know, several years and, and, uh, you know, we’re seeing some opportunity now in that space.

Paula: So give us a sense of the scale then, Chris, just in terms of now it’s, you know, 10 years after, it’s a full decade. Hard to believe really, but launched in 2012.

What kind of numbers is the Shell Fuel Rewards Program at this stage?

Chris: Yeah. So it’s, it’s approaching 30 million members. Okay. We’re just, we’re just shy of 30 million, uh, Wow. Growing every month. Wow. Uh, it’s been a, uh, it’s been with the, with the, let’s just say the economic client and climate and world events, uh, and the, uh, increase in fuel prices.

It’s been, uh, it’s been a very good summer for the Fuel Rewards Program, let’s say. Yeah. And the ability for people to lower their, lower the everyday cost of fuel. So, uh, to 30, Yeah, just approaching 30 million.

Paula: That’s incredible. Yeah, and I was actually thinking that as well. You’re right, Chris, because, you know, cents per gallon of course is never going to not be relevant.

But I think, uh, the way the world is in 2022, it just seems that it’s increasingly relevant. So, uh, definitely growing in visibility and importance in terms of consumer insights, I guess. And I guess it’s over to Ebru then to share with us a bit about how is Fuel Rewards, um, marking this incredible milestone.

Um, as we said, it’s, it’s a decade. It’s 10 years in existence. Um, wonderful scale as well as Chris just mentioned. So Ebru tell us a bit about, uh, what’s going on in terms of celebrating the decade.

Ebru: Yes, we are very excited about that. We started couple months ago that our celebrations and we have a promise to our customers that we are gonna give away 10 million dollars in 10 months for celebration of our 10 years.

But basically what we want to do is keep our, create, creativity going in terms of how we engage our customer, our members. Yeah. And we introduced diff, different, uh, mechanics and different ways how they can earn their CPGs or Cents Per Gallons. Okay. And initially we started with a sweepstake and then we had a game.

Scratch And Win where they can win different types of, like Cents Per Gallons and gift cards. Uh, what we are trying to do is we are mostly like on the digital and, and mobile focused games that they can play. Okay. And we know we just talked about that, it’s, it’s very difficult to capture very short span of attention nowadays.

So we are trying to keep it fun and engaging. Yeah, and we are also introducing a new game in November, which is Collect And Win. So it’s more, more complicated in the sense that they can both have the option to instant win and collect and, uh, win bigger, um, prices in that sense. Okay. Yeah, so it’s, it’s going on and it’s going really well.

We also have a microsite that our customers can visit and see different types of things that they can earn, like, because we also have different types of partner offers. It’s not just about those games, but there’s also an ongoing, uh, elevated offers that we have. Mm-hmm. and the microsite is 10yearsoffr.com. Nice. That they can visit and see different types of, um, offers.

Paula: Okay. Mm-hmm. . And how would you say people are reacting Ebru? Because I, you know, I absolutely love the gamification strategy. Um, probably takes a fair bit of communications, of course, to introduce it in the first instance. Uh, love the fact that you’re connecting, you know, $10 million in savings with the, with the 10 years.

So tell us a bit about the communications piece and how that has been working for you?

Ebru: It’s going really well. We are using all our channels. We have a multi-channel approach in terms of how we are engaging and communicating with the customers. And we have digital channels. We also have a TVC going on right now, the most loyal loyalty program ever.

Oh. And we, we all, we are also using, um, our CRM channel, and to engage with our members. Mm-hmm. , and it’s going really well. We, like in the first month we have. About 2.5 million visits, so, which is great. Wow. To the microsite. Yeah. And the games had really high numbers of engagements. I’m seeing games, I’m talking about sweepstakes now.

We have Scratch And Win. So we are, we are seeing great results. As Chris also mentioned, we also see that in the, in the numbers. And we have an increasing number of active customers. Okay. It’s going, pretty well.

Paula: Okay. And I mean, either of you or both of you, I would really love to just get a sense of throughout Covid particularly, I think that the pandemic, um, in many ways, I suppose, um, focused a lot of. Uh, attention, I would say on loyalty professionals and certainly I spoke with a colleague of yours. I know, um, you, you would’ve met with and spoken with Pavel Los. So Pavel was working obviously in your European business, um, which I know has a very different model of loyalty, but, certainly two years ago, um, in the middle of the pandemic, it certainly seemed that, um, the loyalty initiatives that Shell was, was, was relying on, were proving even more valuable to the business when there were fewer customers, I guess, around or on the road.

So, Any insights you have, Chris, you might have maybe a, maybe a, a strategic perspective in terms of, you know, how did Fuel Rewards, uh, perform, um, and members of that program respond during the pandemic, maybe compared to other customers of Shell?

Chris: I’ll answer that then, you know, Ebru was really hands on doing the, uh, doing the, uh, implementation of some really cr uh, clever and creative things during that period.

But, you know, for us it was around, at that point in time, you know, it became more about, It was, it was more to consumers than just Cent Per Gallon. Right. We knew that there was a lot of the, uh, a lot of, uh, uncertainty if you will in the community and a lot of, uh, a lot of people were, and, and it wasn’t like evenly disbursed amongst the community. Right. Some had it tougher than others, etcetera. For sure. Yeah. Uh, so we were looking for ways and it was really, and a lot of people wanted to help, but there was, uh, it wasn’t always easy to help because of shutdowns, and not knowing what was going on. So we were just looking for ways to, to make that, you know, to help connect with our customers from, you know, beyond that transactional Cents Per Gallon.

Yeah. How could we work with them? How could we do things that, that showed that, you know, a little bit about our brand, that we do care. We are, uh, you know, we are caring brand and we like to give back to the communities we work in or trade in, and, uh, and how can we, you know, let, uh, let our customers be part of that, uh, experience, if you will. Yeah. And, uh, and these were great customers. They, they stuck with us, you know, our loyalty customers, they carried us through the first three or four months of the pandemic, when, when nobody was essentially driving anywhere without them, we would’ve been, uh, yeah, in a very, very difficult spot. But, uh, they, they, they kept us, uh, they, they kept, uh, they kept the, uh, the business moving for us.

Wow. And then that’s strategically it, you know, ever The team did a lot of things that were, uh, uh, were very neat around it, that, that we’re successful.

Paula: Yes. Tell me, Ebru, do you have any, I suppose, strong memories of how your team had to react and, and respond during those? I mean, there were just crazy times and I know we’re not even out of them, you know, a hundred percent.

Um, it kind of feels like the new normal, dare I say it, but you know, in terms of the operations of the loyalty program at the kind of initiatives you had to think about, I’d love if you had anything to share with us from your side.

Ebru: Yeah, sure. Um, yeah, like we just said, it was a difficult time for all of us. Um, so the, the first thing, like immediate action we took was how can we show that we, appreciate the environment everybody’s in, and how can we show that to the customers. And our understanding of the conditions. So we took some actions, of course, the communication was difficult at that time in terms of like, we needed to be really careful about what we say, what the message is, what the frequency is, but it was mostly configured under CRM, customer relationship management, so we can directly communicate with our own members and, um, say that we are there for them. So that was our first action. Mm-hmm. . And we talked about how we, um, clean our sites in terms of keeping, uh, its Covid free. Yeah. Or what are the other actions we can, what they can take in terms of, um, for example, use the app to pay so that they don’t have to, um, physically with cash. Exactly.

Yeah. But those type of things that we already have at hand, like those type of customer value proposition. Yeah. Uh, that can help our customers in that time. And then the second step was like Chris mentioned, how can we help them? So we created a program, ground up program, which we called More For Members in, in the time of the needs.

So we gave away gift cards. It was for mostly for the relief of the financial strain. And then we also did some charitable donations working with Feeding America. Okay. And then lastly, we had an, uh, member appreciation event, which we provided additional rewards, again, in some creative ways that they can pick, uh, from a different, um, range of options.

Okay. I mean, this, these, these were all, how can we ease back? While we are moving towards back to normal life. Yeah. Uh, from, from our perspective.

Paula: Wow. Wow. Mm-hmm. . And did you have a great response to all of those? Yeah.

Ebru: Yes, we did. We also have, um, I mean the numbers were great because we had a lot of interactions. You know, at that time people were receiving a lot of emails. Uh, it was, most of the company’s actions were towards that. But we had a, a great increase in terms of the engagement. Okay. And the donation, was also really high number of donations around more, uh, more than a hundred thousand people were reacted to that, so we could, uh, donate together on behalf of Fuel Rewards.

Yeah, I mean it was really, Yeah. We also donated 2.5 million meals to Feeding America. It was, it was great.

Paula: Wow. There’s some huge numbers Ebru.

Ebru: Very proud of that. Mm-hmm. ,

Paula: I can tell for sure. And I know you won quite a few awards over the last year or two Ebru. Were they because of those particular campaigns, or tell us a bit about, I think there was two that I saw.

One was, um, Loyalty 360, I think you won the mm-hmm , the Top Fuel brand from a loyalty perspective and also the Bond Brand Loyalty research, I think in 2021 you guys came top of that, uh, list as well.

Ebru: Um, so the Bond one, which we talked about, gas and convenience, actually, it’s about, uh, the evolution that Chris mentioned, like how we, uh, improve the program from being CPG, Cents Per Gallon, uh, to how can we. Um, impact our customer’s life in, in terms of not just for fuel, but the convenience store. Mm-hmm. purchases, uh, providing additional benefits there, or how can we make sure our loyalty program impacts the whole customer experience? Okay, So it’s more of a loyalty award. Okay. And we, like you said, we were ranked the top mm-hmm, gas and convenience program there. Yeah. But the, the other one is about that Covid reaction. Uh, we have, uh, showcase our staff, for our customers. Yes, exactly. And that was specifically for the CRM communications.

Paula: Okay. Mm-hmm. . Okay. My goodness. Yeah, it’s incredibly busy times. Yeah. Lots going on. Um, I suppose back to you Chris, um, just to, I suppose touch on the, the global nature of Shell.

I think, um, part of what I always envy about big companies like you guys is. The opportunity to, I suppose, have, um, a clear global perspective on certain initiatives, uh, but yet the freedom to develop something locally. Now, I would guess from the little, I know, I suppose in terms of all of your, your history, it feels like Shell Fuel Rewards in the US. Uh, was possibly one of the earlier Initiatives in terms of Shell, uh, globally, but I’d love to just hear how you guys work as a team of loyalty professionals with such different markets and such different propositions.

Chris: Yeah, sure. So, you know, Yeah. So we are, you know, a global organization where we have a variety of different, uh, you know, local organizations like ourselves here that, uh, that, that deliver the programs. We’ve got some, we’ve got some very, agreed upon basic fundamentals around our loyalty business, Okay. And how we view customers and, and the things that we view are important from a, mm-hmm. . And we’re pretty, and we’re globally aligned on that. Okay. Now, how we, abso ab, how we actually execute some of those things, go to market with some of those things.

Obviously that varies a little bit, by market because, you know, we view, we view what we are, we view the, we view the, the, uh, the fuel retailing, convenience retailing business as a, as a street corner to street corner business, right? Yes. And we have to be able to compete locally. Yeah. While understanding our customers.

At the end of the day, we don’t find customers, uh, the, the things that are really, really important to customers in Europe, in Asia, in the US and Canada. They’re kind of, they’re, they’re kind of the same, right? They want, they want value for their money. They wanna be treated with respect. They want a, uh, a really, really seamless, uh, easy, friendly customer experience. Mm-hmm. , they wanna do it in, in, in clean, Yeah. Uh, friendly places. That, that’s all, that’s all there, right? I mean, that’s, There’s, there’s nowhere in the world where they don’t want that. Now, how we deliver that, how we ensure that, how we incentivize customers, how we do those things locally, that’s left up to the local markets to, uh, to take those global tools and implement them locally. Okay. And, uh, and customize or tailor them, if you will, too, uh, to what’s going on in our markets.

Paula: It does make sense. And I was just gonna touch on your numbers as well, Chris, because I think your footprint, uh, what, nearly 13,000 in terms of, uh, United States itself, Is that correct?

Chris: That’s correct. Just a, just a shade under 13,000.

Paula: Unbelievable. By God, the mind boggles Chris. Wow. In terms of managing , the logistics of all of that. The other piece I really like in terms of your strategy, and I don’t know how long it’s been around, but I do know there is this idea of an instant gold status.

Um, so I, I would just love to know maybe any of the thinking around that, because I think it’s very flattering for everyone. Um, but just wondering how that plays out in terms of customer expectations. Are there more than one tier in terms of higher than gold? Or how does the, the status piece work in terms of Fuel Rewards?

Chris: Yeah, So, so today we have a, we have gold status and we have silver status. Okay. And, uh, silver status is for any member of the program. Once you join the program, you automatically achieve silver status, which gets you 3 cents a gallon off. Okay? If you, if you show us, uh, a degree of loyalty, which is, which is I believe six purchases of fuel over 90 days mm-hmm. then we, we elevate you to gold status. Okay. Which gets you a nickel off, uh, each time you buy. It was really important to customers when we did the research around them is they were like, we buy gas so much, we feel like we should be able to get something each and every time we want. Instant. We don’t feel like we should have to build up long term and earn.

And uh, so we sort of put this program together. We’ve partnered with our wholesalers. Okay. And, uh, so now we have, you know, Instant gold status, which is, uh, a significant part of our program, uh, members, are do qualify for Instant gold status, let’s say. Yep.

Paula: Nice, Nice. Yeah. And I have to say that I’m one of those people that absolutely chases, you know, the status in the programs that I engage with. And once I get there, my behavior is definitely, you know, super sticky because I’m never gonna leave once I have it, you know, once you’ve experienced it, you never wanna go back, huh?

Chris: Exactly. It just becomes an expectation. Right? It, uh, yeah, changes the goals. We try to make it, it does, and we’re gonna make it very attainable and, and, uh, out there each and every time you, you earn and burn essentially every transaction. Yep.

Paula: Totally. Totally. And it sounds like customer research then is something that you do on an ongoing basis. Would that be fair to say?

Chris: Yes. Uh, we really don’t do anything without talking to the customer. That’s, uh, Wow. That’s the, uh, the, the center. That’s the, uh, the center of our compass, if you will, or the, the true north. Yeah. Uh, of our compass, however that saying goes. But everything we do tries to start with the, we truly try to start with the customer, with everything we do. And, uh, then that comes all the way from the, you know, the top of the organization.

The first question we get asked if we go and present a pitch is, would the customer say, Wow. How the customer react? Ok. And that’s, uh, that’s in our DNA.

Paula: Wonderful. Wonderful. And then final one for you, Chris, would be, I guess just around, I suppose, measurability and KPIs and what are the kind of key things that your laser focused on?

You know, in terms of, you know, what, what does success look like for you in terms of Shell Fuel Rewards?

Chris: Sure. We look at, you know, active customers. Mm-hmm. , we look at active contactable customers. Okay. We look at loyalty penetration. And another big one for us then is obviously we work with these, with our most little customers to buy our, our premium product. Okay. So our, you know, our premium penetration, if you will. Okay. Those are, those are sort of the, the biggest ones. We’ve got a whole, as you can imagine, a whole list of different things we’re looking at. I can imagine. Yeah. But, uh, but those are, uh, kind of, that kind of drives the, the conversation each month, How are we doing in these spaces?

Paula: Okay. I like that focus on the premium product, Chris. That is not one that I hear very often.

Chris: Yeah, no, it, uh, those, uh, we, we tend to find those with our most loyal customers. Mm-hmm. . And we, we feel, you know, we feel, uh, like we have an industry leading product with our, uh, with our V power fuels around the globe and, uh, and we tend to, uh, to promote those and work on those and, and really focus a lot of our loyalty business around, uh, you know, around retaining and, uh, rewarding those customers.

Paula: Interesting. And you’ve reminded me of some very clever, um, statisticians. Actually, they were on the show before with me once Chris, and they were talking about this, um, I suppose assumption that many of us believe, um, that maybe the, the mid segment, the mid tier. Might have the most potential in terms of the behavior change that we’re looking to grow, whether it’s, you know, frequency or basket size or that kind of thing. But actually what they said is exactly what you are saying is actually it’s the top tier, um, and top products is what you are, you are obviously referring to, but actually the top tier seems to be where the most growth actually also is. I think some people, and certainly my expectation was off and oh, these guys are already spending a load. They probably don’t have any more to give, but actually it’s the opposite. You know, those guys are probably the ones that will continue. You might even be getting the full share of wallet. So really, really good insight there.

Chris: Yeah. No. Now the secret’s out Uhoh. Yep.

Paula: It’s a, Yeah. No, makes sense.

Chris: No, we, that’s, that’s, that’s a lot of how we, how we think about it. Yep.

Paula: Absolutely. Makes sense. And Ebru from your perspective, I’m sure you’re extremely busy. I know you’re a long time in the company, by the way. 17 years yourself in the business. Huh?

Ebru: Yes, correct. , it’s been 17 years and yeah, different parts of, I mean, I started back in Turkey, did loyalty and payments there for seven years. Okay. And then did some global roles. And then lastly, landed in the, In the US. Mm-hmm.

Paula: Wow. Wow. So what does the future hold then Ebru from your perspective, what are you kind of focusing on?

Ebru: Couple things. I would say definitely, I mean, uh, from the program perspective that I take that question as a program perspective.

Sure. And I think one of the biggest, maybe I shouldn’t say challenge and opportunities we have is the data. I think it’s not just for, for us at Shell, but in most of the companies I’m hearing when we are networking with the, with the other colleagues, Yeah.

Um, it used to be like, when we are talking about data, how can we access the data? How, how are we going to accumulate the data? But now we have that. We have the big data. Yeah. But it’s about like, how are we going to organize, how are we going to connect them so we can drive meaningful insights? So that’s, that’s mainly our focus. Like Chris mentioned, one thing is like what the customers are saying in terms of when we are having the decision.

Okay. And the other piece is the data for us. So that’s, that would be, I, I would say is a big, big focus for, for the future, and then how we can create relevant experiences. Yeah, we talked about different trends like gamification and digitalization, multichannel focus. Um, so yeah, how can we use the data to drive all of these.

Paula: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. , and you’re absolutely right, Ebru. I think, uh, the challenge of, you know, first of all collecting and secondly utilizing the data in a way that’s meaningful for members. Um, and again, as Chris said, based on their actual feedback, because I think, again, in the past, a lot of the times, you know, data was collected and perhaps not used for the benefit of the customer. And, uh, I, I’ve said it a few times on the show, like, if I’ve given my date of birth to somebody, I expect them at least to, uh, to celebrate my birthday with me. So I, I certainly wait with all my loyalty programs every year when it comes around to see who’s gonna give me something nice to celebrate.

Ebru: Okay. Yeah, we, we took that customer feedback.

Paula: There you go. There you go. Great. So listen, that’s all the questions I have from my side. Um, Ebru, maybe just from you, is there anything else you wanted to mention before we wrap up?

Ebru: No, thank you. It was great to be here. Um, maybe just to like, summarize what we have been discussing. So this year our focus is like we are returning loyalty to our loyal customers. Mm-hmm. by being loyal to them. So that’s our basically one line for the, for the year and when we are celebrating the 10th, uh, year anniversary. Yeah. And so we’ll keep, the creativity going on when we are engaging with our customer.

Paula: Yes. Yeah, no, and that’s perfect. And again, back to the, the Bond Brand Loyalty Report. I know that’s something they emphasize very strongly and obviously why you performed so well then in their research. Uh, I think this, uh, this shift and this pivot from, it’s not just expecting customers to be loyal to us or members to be loyal to us. It is us being loyal to them. So wonderful to hear that coming through. And then Chris, from your side in closing, anything else you wanted to mention?

Chris: Yeah, no, you mentioned it. I mean, we are very focused on being loyal to our, uh, loyal to our customers. I think, uh, you know, we’re excited about it. We’re in the business of, of, uh, of convenience and fuel and, and I think there’s, uh, you know, people always wanna save money.

You know, we’re on a mission now also to help them save time. Yeah. And that’s in, in our view, two, two really important things to the folk to, to customers out there. So, wonderful. We’re excited. We’re excited about the future and we. And, uh, we’re not gonna sit still. Let’s say that, uh, we would, we talk, when we talk about this time next year, we’ll have, uh, yes, yes. Some other new additional exciting things to, to talk to you about, so watch the program, things will be changing ahead. Yep.

Paula: Great. Great. Well, listen, it’s been wonderfully exciting to hear everything that you’re doing. As I said, I can’t believe it’s the first time I’ve had Fuel Rewards on the show, so I’m absolutely delighted.

So, Chris Suess, Head of Loyalty and CRM. And Ebru Ak, US Loyalty and CRM coordinator both for Shell. Thank you so much from Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Chris: Thank you. Have a great day.

This show is sponsored by The Loyalty People, a global strategic consultancy with a laser focus on loyalty, CRM, and customer engagement. The Loyalty People work with clients in lots of different ways, whether it’s the strategic design of your loyalty program or a full service, including loyalty, project execution, and they can also advise you on choosing the right technology and service partners on their website, The Loyalty People also runs a free global community for loyalty practitioners. And they also publish their own loyalty expert insights. So for more information and to subscribe, check out theloyaltypeople.global.

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