Home latest news Everything you need to know about Etisalat “Epic Rewards”

Everything you need to know about Etisalat “Epic Rewards”

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Reward schemes or loyalty programmes are nothing new to Sri Lanka. We have had various merchants and service providers offering different schemes to impress their customers. Even the ‘meter taxi’ operators have reward schemes these days. In some cases customers get entitled for the programs automatically (E.g Dialog Star Points). In some reward schemes customers are required to make a small initial investment (to cover the cost of a plastic card?)(E.g reward schemes from shopping chains like Arpico and Nolimit). There are also schemes that require the customer to be in an elite group. Take for example Dialog’s priority membership and the Club Vision categories.

Etisalat is the latest entrant to come up with a “unique” reward scheme for their loyal customers. Etisalat, being one of the top players in the Sri Lankan telecommunications scene, and with growing speculations that they might actually acquire the Sri Lankan arm of Bharti Airtel, might be making the correct move to show their customers that they care.

They have named the scheme “Epic Rewards” – an “opt-in” programme for their customers. The official launch was held last Wednesday (28th August) at Galadari Hotel,Colombo and the diGIT team was there to cover the event.

How does Epic Rewards work?

Epic Rewards is about “Rings”. Rings are what you earn in Epic Rewards (just like you earn “points” with most other schemes) but the difference here is that the “Rings” do not have a monetary value. This, I am saying because in most other schemes 1 point is equivalent to 1 rupee.

Why hasn’t Etisalat defined a value for the Rings?

They have let the merchants decide the value for the Rings. So each offer you get with the scheme will have a different value for the “Rings”. For example one of the partner merchants may require the customer to redeem 50 Rings to get a 10 percent discount on the bill whereas another merchant may require the customer to redeem 100 Rings to get Rs.1000 discount on the listed item. So this scheme is more flexible from the merchant’s perspective.

Who is entitled & how does one get enrolled?

Both postpay and prepaid customers of Etisalat are entitled for the Epic rewards scheme. Customers have various methods to join the programme. They can either

1) Dial the 7272 IVR code or

2) Enter the #7272# USSD code on their phone or

3) Contact the Etisalat call center on 123 or 0722 123 123 or

4) Walk into one of the flagship stores – to join the Epic Rewards programme.

Speaking at the launch event, Etisalat Senior Manager – Prepaid Marketing & Customer Loyalty, Shameel Bishri explained that they actually did a vast market research among merchants and their customers to understand what they actually wanted from a reward scheme and what, in their opinion was lacking in the existing reward schemes of different players.

With the outcome, Etisalat has defined five categories in which the Epic rewards offers will be given. They are ,

1- Fashion & Entertainment

2- Travel & Leisure

3- Sports & Health

4- Dining & Household

5- Business & Learning

The customer is given a chance to select any 3 of the above categories as his or her preference. While I was wondering why they had to limit the offering as such, Etisalat feels that this way, it is beneficial for the customer to choose the offers that actually matter to him/her the most. Etisalat feels this will also give the customer a more personalized experience compared to other schemes that sometimes offer irrelevant offers. Etisalat also tells us that the customer will be given the opportunity to change the categories of his interest after joining the scheme.

Etisalat has also defined 3 achievement levels to the scheme. This has been done to serve the “elite” customers (who spend more on the network) with some extra benefits. The following chart explains how this works. Depending on their average spending for the past 6 months, the Rings are multiplied to those who have higher usage.

Membership

Membership Categories are defined by customer’s average usage for the last 6 months (pic courtesy Etisalat.lk)

How does one earn Rings?

a) All Etisalat customers who register for the service will get an initial number of “Rings”  to welcome them to Epic rewards. The number of welcome Rings will also depend on the duration the customer had spent with the network. The following chart explains this aspect of the scheme. The more time you have been with Etisalat, the more welcome Rings you receive:

Duration spent with the Network

Rings

6 months

25

1 Year

30

2 Years

40

3 Years

50

4 Years

60

5 Years

100

Above 5 Years

150

b) The members will also receive 20 Rings every 3 months for staying with Etisalat, from the time of registering for Epic rewards. (That is 80 Rings per year).

c) Customers earn Rings when they make payments or reload of minimum Rs.50 to their accounts. A payment or reload of 50 rupees is entitled for 5 Rings. A payment of Rs.100 will earn you 15 Rings. The following chart explains how this works. Also note, if you are a silver or gold member, the number of rigs you earn will get multiplied.

Number of Rings earned for the payment (pic courtesy Etisalat.lk)

Number of Rings earned for the payment (pic courtesy Etisalat.lk)

For example a green member who makes a payment of Rs.2675 will receive 395 Rings. The following chart gives a detailed explanation:

Rs.2000 (1000 x 2)

150 x 2 = 300 Rings

Rs.500

75 x 1 = 75 Rings

Rs.100

15 x 1 = 15 Rings

Rs. 50

5 x 1 = 5 Rings

Rs. 25

0 Rings

Total = Rs.2675

395 Rings

If the said customer was a Gold member, the Rings will get doubled. He will earn 790 Rings..

d) Additionally, members get 10 Rings every month for paying their bill in full and before the due date. Bonus Rings are also awarded during special promotions run by Etisalat.

e) Further to the above, any customer who purchases mobile phones or internet equipment from Etisalat also will receive Rings for the amount they spent. More details on the number of Rings will be updated soon.

How does one burn Rings and is there any expiry date?

Etisalat says that the members will be notified about offers for their selected categories via SMS, email and voice. (Sounds like spam? Well, you get offers). The said messages will have the details of the offers and the required number of Rings to be redeemed to be entitled for the offer. Customers can then proceed to make the transaction.

The best part of the Epic Rewards is that the Rings do not have an expiry date. Which means the Rings can be accumulated over time and used at once. This also gives an opportunity even for the customer with the lowest usage to earn Rings over a long period and enjoy the offers.

Another notable feature is that you are not required to keep any number of Rings as non-redeemable base points. All Rings that are earned can be redeemed. Customers will be able to check their balance Rings via the #7272# USSD code. We do think that Etisalat should work on a smartphone app or a web-based dashboard (through Etisalat MyPage maybe?) for the user to manage Rings conveniently. This service could also have a list of available offers too. It’s a suggestion from our end.

Can you transfer the Rings?

People obviously get this question when they want to redeem Rings. Can the Rings be transferred between different numbers/ people? No they can’t. Whatever the Rings a customer earns is valid only for his number. What if the customer has more than one connection under his name and want to accumulate the Rings in those accounts in order to redeem? Well, as of now that is not possible. But we assume Etisalat is working on it. We will update this article once such option is confirmed.

An option for the customer to nominate one of his numbers as primary and receive/transfer all Rings earned from his other numbers too to the primary one will be a useful feature in our opinion. Over to you Etisalat!

Where to redeem the Rings?

To start with, Etisalat has partnered with around 40 merchants (including all 5 categories) compared to Star Points scheme (same concept but differently executed by Dialog for a long time) that has hundreds of merchants now. In their defense, Etisalat has just started the scheme and they focus more on quality and relevance instead of quantity. The merchants have their outlets spread across the country though. Customers will be required to provide their mobile number to the merchants at the time of redemption. I am guessing they will have a USSD / SMS based portal to process the transaction.

Commenting on the Epic Rewards merchant network, CEO of Direct Solutions, Priyanga Hapugalle said: “A number of benefits that would benefit Epic Rewards members were kept in mind when selecting merchant partners. These included the island wide branch networks so that the members have easy access, special services and products that are relevant to member preferences and special offers during seasonal times throughout the year. In addition, merchants will be approached on a regular basis and encouraged to create offers that would be highly attractive to Epic Rewards members.” Apart from non-expiration of Epic Rings, another unique factor of the scheme according to Etisalat is the ability of members to move up the value table to increase the value of their Rings.

Some of Etisalat’s selected merchants are from Central province and some of the big chains (Arpico, Singer) are spread across the country. Etisalat said they are focusing to make the offers easily accessible to any of their customers around the island. Etisalat also noted that they have selected not only large merchants but also SMEs. Some well known names include Fashion Bug, No limit, DSI, LBN, Jetwing, JKH Hotels, Singer mega, Arpico, Asiri Hospitals, Metropolitan, Expographic and Vijitha Yapa books. Adding to our earlier suggestion, a smartphone app or a web interface with a list of merchants and the offers available with them, can be a welcome addition.

Etisalat has also planned to organize special events for their Epic Rewards members in the future.  Special seats at key sports events, fashion shows or music shows, reduced price entry to business conferences and events, special travel tickets for religious pilgrimages and weekend breaks at beach festival are few such planned events according to Etisalat.

Bottom line is Epic Rewards scheme is a welcome addition for Etisalat’s 4 million+ customer base. The success of the programme will definitely depend on how convenient it is to earn and burn Rings. It will also depend on the relevance of the offers to the customer’s lifestyle. Luckily Etisalat seem to be focusing to keep the scheme as relevant as possible to different sectors of their customer base. We will start to see the outcome when the scheme is launched later this month. We at Digit have tried to answer almost all your questions relating to the scheme (so that you do not have to call and wait on the ever-busy hotlines to clarify your doubts). Watch out this space for more updates when the programme is launched to public.

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