LoyaltyOne – AIR MILES® Reward Program
Airmiles Reward Program Customer Care Center
CCEOC Certified: Silver 2008/2009, Gold 2009/2010, Gold 2010/2011, Gold 2011/2012
438 University Avenue, Suite 600
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2L1
Phone: (416) 228-6500
Fax: (416) 733-1993
Founded in 1992, the AIR MILES® Reward Program is Canada's premier coalition loyalty program, with approximately 10 million active Collector accounts representing two-thirds of Canadian households.
Simply by shopping for products and services at any of 100+ brand-name Sponsors, AIR MILES Collectors earn reward miles that can be redeemed for more than 1200 leisure, entertainment, merchandise, travel and other lifestyle rewards.
Enjoying double-digit growth every year since it was launched, and with half a million new Collectors joining annually, the AIR MILES Reward Program is woven into the Canadian retail landscape and a fixture of everyday life for millions of consumers. To learn more, visit www.airmiles.ca.
As Canada's largest consumer coalition loyalty program, the AIR MILES Reward Program is committed to – and more importantly demonstrates on a daily basis - maintaining a friendly, open and supportive dialogue with its millions of Collectors. From suggested service improvements to new reward ideas, their constant feedback is what drives ongoing efforts to keep the program fresh, relevant and engaging. The AIR MILES Customer Care team, fielding 4.5 million Collector requests a year including phone calls and email communications, is the key point of contact in this critical relationship.
That's why the AIR MILES organization has invested significantly in creating state-of-the-art Customer Care Centres where associates can deliver the best possible service while enjoying all the benefits of an upbeat, healthy and stimulating work environment.
Equally crucial is AIR MILES' commitment to training. Newly hired Customer Care associates receive 30 days of initial training. The training program is also designed around the learning theory of Accelerated Learning which provides for a great deal of interactivity and engagement of the whole learner, with very little instructor-led focus. And even then the continuous improvement never stops: about 20 percent of a typical associate's year is devoted to additional training and development.
As befits a leader in building loyalty, AIR MILES associates are exceptionally loyal. The program averages low turnover annually, and some associates have been there since the first phone rang in 1992. As further enhancements and even more flexibility, including a Work-At-Home program, are introduced into the work environment, associate satisfaction levels continue to raise, along with customer satisfaction results.
In a corporate culture that places such a high value on people – both within the organization and in its vital relationships with Sponsors and Collectors – it isn't surprising that the associates of AIR MILES Customer Care focus on creating great customer experiences, helping the operation run more smoothly and growing bottom-line revenue.
Contact Center Description
The AIR MILES Customer Care team has gone to great lengths to create an attractively designed and ergonomically sensitive contact center operation. The two locations – one in downtown Toronto, the other in suburban Mississauga – are well organized, colourfully decorated workspaces offering plenty of natural light.
Associates at the two locations enjoy perks such as free Starbucks coffee and filtered water. There are quiet rooms where associates can relax on their breaks, as well as lockers for storing personal items. There is upbeat music (provided by CEAD FM) and LCD Monitors throughout the centers that display call statistics, employee recognition and engagement updates and other pertinent information.
The Toronto location offers a fitness center with exercise, yoga and massage services, as well as a café and recreation areas with pool tables and video games. An on-site Bistro serves subsidized, chef-prepared hot meals and a wide range of nutrition-conscious menu choices to help keep associates healthy and happy. In addition, private rooms are available for making personal telephone calls.
The semi-private workstations are arranged in rows, with large glass partitions at each end to help reduce noise while creating an attractive overall look. All workstations have filing cabinets on casters, height-adjustable keyboards and trays, flat-screen monitors on adjustable arms and ergonomic chairs. In addition, each workstation has its own lighting.
The Mississauga Contact center has relocated to a new building at 6696 Financial Drive. The building's exterior is LEED Gold certified and the interior fit-up is built to LEED Gold specifications with many environmental and energy efficient features:
- One of Canada's largest solar panel rooftop installations, providing enough energy back into the grid to power 16 medium size homes
- Preferential Parking spaces close to the main door for fuel efficient cars
- Solar tubes that allow natural light to flow into the center of the space
- Low emission materials used in construction
- Recycled content in materials used in construction
- Waste management practices used onsite
- Off gassing time built into schedule
- Zero waste move tactics
The move to 6696 Financial Drive is an exciting opportunity for AIR MILES Customer Care as it signals their continued evolution and growth. The new building was designed and constructed to promote a sense of community and encourage the sharing of information and ideas.
This new location is designed and operated to be a leading environmental facility, helping to bolster AIR MILES' sustainability leadership.
CCEOC Certified: GOLD 2010
The AIR MILES Customer Care Contact Centres achieved GOLD-level CCEOC certification with 88 per cent associate participation in the survey.
The AIR MILES operation was recognized for many positive, people-focused attributes.
Among those that stood out from management's perspective:
- People are energetic, friendly and dynamic
- Open-door policy
- Great facilities
- A plethora of flexible scheduling options
- World-Class coaching program
The top scoring item in the survey was: Management/Employee Relations and Personal Satisfaction. Some 90% of respondents strongly or moderately agreed with this statement. Virtually all associates concurred that the AIR MILES organization is focused on its associates.
Technology and Ergonomics
The AIR MILES organization uses an Avaya ACD and Reporting System. (Digital telephones are used in the ACD environment of Customer Care; IP telephony is used on the corporate side of the business.) The Avaya CMS reporting function is used to track call statistics.
An IBM IVR system routes calls to specialists and provides customer self-service functions. Genesys CTI is used for transfers and to conference between IVR and specialists, specialists to queues. Aspect eWFM manages scheduling and forecasting, while Aspect RTA is used for real-time adherence. Witness handles quality monitoring (voice and data). And Symon LCD Monitors displays real-time queue data as well as other information of interest, including post-contact surveys, world-class call achievers, call quality data and weather updates.
All workstations have Internet capability and are equipped with Microsoft Office, including Outlook for email. EGain is used to manage incoming emails. Desktops are a mix of DELL PCs and Sunray terminals. Applications are accessed via CITRIX and include travel and non-travel booking systems, a customer information database, online communication manuals/procedures, CTI and Microsoft Outlook, Word and Excel. Turbo Sabre is used for travel bookings.
Culture and Social Environment
The AIR MILES Customer Care environment is fast-paced, high energy and enjoyable for associates, who widely advocate the motto:
Special events include Family Day, Movie Day (i.e., renting a theatre for a private Sunday screening), CommunityOne Day (volunteering in the Community and then meeting up to have fun together at a popular venue) and staff barbecues. In addition, there is a Winter Gala, a Santa Claus Parade event and a Holiday Party for Kids. Smaller-scale workplace activities are organized by the Social Committee to celebrate calendar events such as Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and Halloween. Potlucks and regular Birthday celebrations are organized among peers and really help to promote a sense of community.
Some associates even gather informally outside of work, and a number have formed Facebook groups.
Dress code at the centers is casual.
Health and Wellness and Work/Life Balance
A healthy contact center is also more productive, so AIR MILES Customer Care provides many opportunities for associates to pursue a more health-conscious lifestyle and reduce stress. The on-site cafeteria offers smart meal options; there are also convenient amenities such as refrigerators, toaster ovens and microwave ovens for those who prefer to bring lunches from home.
Fitness subsidies are offered as a benefit for all associates. On-site gym facilities provide weight training and aerobics classes, as well as the services of a massage therapist. And for additional support and professional help in many areas of personal wellness, all associates can access the Employee Assistance Plan.
To further promote better work-life balance, the AIR MILES organization offers a range of scheduling options to meet the needs of a diverse employee population:
- Associates can work from either location.
- Associates can trade shifts – no maximum as long as they stay within the guidelines of the ESA.
- Shift times can be variable – i.e., adjusted by one hour without prior approval (up to four times per month). Or adjust by 4 hr. x 4 per month – prior approval is required
- Associates are paid to the minute (e.g., if finishing a call requires additional time after a shift has ended).
- Associates can accrue overtime as "bank time" (in lieu of being paid).
- Associates participate in the Corporate Summer Hours Program (i.e., work an extra half-hour four days a week; take a half-day off every other week).
- Associates may take advantage of time off – based on Collector service needs
- Paid sick time may be booked in advance for doctor's appointments, may be converted to Lieu time and or carried over to the next year
- Breaks and lunches can have any combination the Specialists select e.g.. 4 x 15 minutes, 1 x 15 minutes + 1 x 45 minutes, 1 x 1 hour, 2x 15minutes + 1 x 30 minutes etc.
- Under the Safety First wintertime policy, both offices generally close early in the event of a snowstorm.
- A Safe Home program is supported with accompanied walks to cars or $20 taxi chits for those who work after 10 pm October to April; or, 11pm from May to September.
Associates can also participate in the Buy-a-Vacation option, adding up to two weeks per year. Other perks include sabbatical leaves (two weeks every five years) and Loyalty Days (two paid days per year). In addition, there are opportunities for scheduled leave without pay.
Reward and Recognition
An effective rewards and recognition program can boost motivation and produce stellar results. AIR MILES associates have many chances to earn reward miles on their personal accounts through programs such as Anniversary Miles, Referral Miles, Incentive Miles and Recognition Miles. Tickets to sports and entertainment events, as well as merchandise items, are regularly offered as rewards. Larger sales rewards include travel opportunities.
The President's Circle Award honours outstanding service to the organization. The Aristocrat's Award is sponsored by key suppliers in recognition of top sales performance and Quality results. The Customer Care group also encourages peer-to-peer recognition, manager-to-associate recognition and Collector-to-associate rewards.
And finally, all frontline associates have the opportunity to participate in the Value-Based Bonus Plan.
Giving back to the community is a high priority for everyone on the AIR MILES team. Associates regularly volunteer at a variety of fund-raising events.
The following charitable organizations benefit from their involvement and support:
- Kids Help Phone
- Canadian Red Cross
- World Wildlife Fund
- Alexandra Park Community Centre
- Trees Ontario
- CP24/CHUM Christmas Wish
- Alexandra Park Community Centre
- Food Bank donations
- A wide variety of local charities on CommunityOne Day
Above and Beyond Factors
Above and Beyond Factors are the big (and little) things that differentiate the AIR MILES organization and make it a Contact Center Employer of Choice®.
- Investment in training and coaching
- RRSP matching up to 6%
- Casual dress (24/7)
- Summer hours
- Bank time
- Book travel to assist teams of charitable causes
- College student tours
- Computer purchase plan
- Fitness subsidy
- Buy-a-Vacation program
- Sabbatical days
- Corporate travel discounts (apply to families)
- Safe Ride Home program (work past 11 p.m. or 10 pm depending on the season and receive a taxi chit for up to $ 20)
- AIR MILES incentives and rewards
- IATA Cards (travel agent discounts)
- Night shift premium
- Bilingual premium
- Two weeks vacation from start of employment, and three weeks on the third anniversary.
CCEOC certification puts an added stamp of approval on a long-standing commitment of the AIR MILES Reward Program – to ensure that Customer Care associates have the training, systems and support they need to deliver positive results while growing personally and professionally. What's more, this GOLD award reinforces the reputation of the AIR MILES organization for investing where it counts to attract, retain and engage high-performing associates.
In a work environment designed to promote energy, imagination, empathy and commitment, AIR MILES Customer Care associates are ready to create a truly great consumer experience – and to see that the remarkable AIR MILES success story continues to unfold.