Customer profile

Rakuten

Location
San Mateo,
California
Industry
Marketplace
Website

“The overall vision and mission of Rakuten is centered around optimism and the Japanese concept of omotenashi, which translates to extreme hospitality.”

Core values can define your business. Staying committed to the principles on which your company is built can be the difference between consumer distrust and affinity, loyalty and indifference.

For Rakuten, extreme hospitality and an ethos of optimism have been the driving force behind their tremendous growth. As a global organization, Rakuten’s diversified portfolio is designed with one thing in mind: providing its members unprecedented accessibility to the things that make their lives more accommodating.

“The overall vision and mission of the company is centered around optimism and the Japanese concept of omotenashi, which translates to extreme hospitality. Omotenashi is an experience in which a host makes visitors comfortable by anticipating the needs of their guests,” says Serge Doubinski, VP of Consumer Experience, Rakuten Rewards.

Although the concept of accommodation guides all of Rakuten’s business units, it is especially present at Rakuten Rewards. A shopping rewards and cashback company, Rakuten Rewards believes that listening to their customers, collecting feedback, and acting on this feedback is the basis for building consumer trust and brand loyalty.

Doubinski and his team call it “customer-centricity” and it drives all customer-facing activities. “We try to learn as much as we can about the members through the data that they give us and the data that we observe. We then try to build experiences that match that.”

“We wanted to unite every team that is responsible for an experience seen by our members to have a consistent voice, look, and feel.”

Although purchased by Rakuten in 2014, it wasn’t until early 2019 that Ebates was rebranded to Rakuten Rewards.

Remaining customer-centric despite the complexities of a brand reshuffle was Rakuten Rewards’ top priority. To do this, the team needed to implement a unified customer experience across all channels that aligned to the ideal of extreme hospitality. They also needed to ensure that customers still got the same top-notch service Ebates was known for.

“We wanted to unite every team that is responsible for an experience seen by our members to have a consistent voice, look and feel, and consistent flows across all the different channels that we have.”

Curious as to the impact the rebrand was having on customers’ perception of their newly formed brand, Doubinski and his team needed a way to continuously monitor customer feedback — and quickly. The customer experience team at Rakuten Rewards chose the Delighted platform to do just that.

“We’ve been focused on customer experience since the beginning. The early founders would regularly look through member complaints and context.”

Collecting coherent feedback during a rebrand can be incredibly difficult — especially without the right tools.

Before Delighted, managing customer experience was cumbersome. Feedback was collected by the Membership Services team and NPS was conducted disjointedly with less-than-effective survey tools and delivery mechanisms across different areas within Rakuten Rewards.

According to Doubinski, the team was lacking consistency of voice and design when asking for customer experience feedback. Moreover, with customer experience predicated around the need to get their customers’ rewards paid, many members of the team, including leadership, were focused on manually looking through member complaints, services, and interactions.

“We’ve been focused on customer experience since the beginning. The early founders and the previous CEO would look through member complaints and context, particularly to ensure that people get the reward that they’ve earned from us,” Doubinski says.

Although Rakuten’s leadership identifies CX as a top priority, managing it manually or on a case-by-case basis was not optimal for diving deeply into customer perception during a rebrand, nor scalable to sustain growth.

“I chose Delighted to provide continuous NPS surveys. Our team understands the value of getting continuous feedback, not just quarterly feedback.”

Amassing a complete company rebrand is quite the undertaking. Logistics aside, measuring the effectiveness of these efforts required Rakuten Rewards to keep a continuous pulse on the sentiment of their customers with Delighted NPS.

With Delighted, Rakuten Rewards managed to move away from quarterly NPS surveys to collecting real-time, consistent feedback from customers.

“I chose Delighted to provide continuous NPS surveys. Our team understands the value of getting continuous feedback, not just quarterly feedback.”

In doing this, the CX team were able to minimize the effects of seasonality on customer experience. This larger, more comprehensive picture of their members’ experience helped them unlock more value from their NPS survey strategy.

“It was very clear that NPS should be gathered not only at all times, but also across multiple channels.”

Not only did they need a solution to collect continuous feedback, Rakuten Rewards chose Delighted for its simple-to-use ways to collect consumer insight from a variety of customer touchpoints.

“It was very clear that NPS should be gathered not only at all times, but also across multiple channels. When I was looking at different vendors, Delighted seemed like an early entrant with a modern stack. When we did a trial run, everything worked as expected. We then expanded Delighted to web, mobile web, and mobile applications.”

The challenges of managing and measuring the effects of a rebrand can seem overwhelming at first, but for Doubinski, it began with listening to their customers more closely to gain insight into their perception of the Rakuten brand.

“The team is trying to correlate brand awareness with NPS in the United States. We have this challenge of measuring if people understand who we are and understand the name — culminating in learning how members feel about the brand,” says Doubinski.

Thus, before rolling out the rebrand to their entire membership-base, Rakuten Rewards needed to analyze the effects of this rebrand by carefully measuring NPS scores by A/B testing two differently branded sites.

“A key result for us was that NPS stayed the same.”

Rakuten Rewards ran two sites for twelve months in parallel, while gradually changing brand colors, logo, names, and messaging. During this test, Rakuten used Delighted to measure baseline NPS before and after rebranding.

After a year of customer experience research, the team discovered that NPS scores stayed relatively the same after the rebrand.

Rebranding is a delicate process, but the Rakuten Rewards team was pleased to see that the rebrand did not diminish their customers’ positive perception of the services making Ebates so successful.

“During this gradual change, we monitored NPS throughout the whole rebrand. A key result for us was that NPS stayed the same, which gave us the confidence to roll it out to millions of members.”

While continuing to monitor NPS with Delighted, Rakuten slowly rebranded Ebates into Rakuten Rewards for everyone.

“Delighted makes managing customer experience easy.”

In addition to using Delighted to manage customer experience during a rebrand, Rakuten Rewards continues to measure customer perception and determine if they’re meeting the needs of their members at each point of the customer lifecycle.

“We cohort the Rakuten Rewards product lifecycle into 14 different groups, and that information is supplied into Delighted with an NPS score so we can understand the NPS scores among our most active members and new members. We’ve uncovered a correlation between member activity and NPS scores.”

They use the information collected from members on their site or in their app to analyze CX trends and share feedback internally with those responsible for overseeing many aspects of Rakuten’s portfolio, including the C-suite.

“We have a weekly meeting with a VP of Member Services, myself, our Chief of Product, and our CEO in which we pull up Delighted and show them what’s going on in terms of the NPS score. Delighted makes managing customer experience easy.”

Moreover, Doubinski’s team can be more attentive to some of the more challenging needs of their customers — especially during support situations. Rakuten Rewards’ support team uses Delighted’s Zendesk integration to close the loop with detractors by sending them a personal follow-up to better address their needs.

In Doubinski’s eyes, this allows the support team to be more human. By enabling a light-touch, constant flow of communication between their customers and team, Delighted helps Rakuten Rewards successfully convey omotenashi (extreme hospitality) across the digital landscape.

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