Rewards should evoke satisfaction. Or produce instant gratification, like that fleeting feel-good sensation we get while Likes pile up on a new Insta post. Yet, we've all experienced the rewards strategies that most new-age platforms provide. Sadly, in many cases, they're a blind spot for users.
However, Mohit Patni's thought process went a few steps beyond creating engaging and worthwhile rewards for Fi users. As a Product Manager, his primary intent boiled down to one question: "How do you incentivise saving instead of spending?"
To gain a better perspective on 'rewards that are actually rewarding', our team sat down with Mohit for a quick tête-a-tête 💬
Has Fi reinvented the wheel when it comes to rewards? Mohit and his team set out to create a meaningful rewards programme aligned with our product's core philosophy: 'Help users demystify their finances'.
"We don't want users to think that Fi = Free Stuff. Nor do we want people coming to us for discounts alone. That's not what we stand for," Mohit explains, elaborating, "Fi urges users to make intelligent financial decisions. So we try to nudge users and turn that decision into actionable steps. And most actions result in a reward. Hence, one step seamlessly leads to another." In geek terms, it's the Scaffolding Principle 🚀
TL;DR: 'Our rewards act as the means — not the end'.
Once the answer to 'What do we want our rewards to stand for?' became clear, everything else fell into place: When to reward; What kind of actions deserve nods, and how often to reward! There's a challenge to pulling this off though. (Check this poorly crafted Venn diagram below).
Our approach was simple. Make rewards fun.
This train of thought influenced the design and user experience too. "Consider our search feature, Ask Fi. It enables you to understand your finances better. Sometimes, we incentivise users by rewarding them for trying it. We realised that once people receive value out of something, they don't need external motivation to use it."
There's no Big-Brother-Is-Watching syndrome at play here. We're not saying spending is bad. All of us spend. Fact is, most businesses compel and reward users when they spend. But incentivising excessive spending is not the Fi way of doing things 👀
"The last thing we want is for users to spend ₹500 every week, just for rewards. Yet, that doesn't mean we won't reward spending. Be it paying bills, ordering groceries, necessary shopping — all of these qualify as essential spending," he clarifies.
As a brand, we're all about deciphering the user's needs and addressing their wants. So, Fi's beta phase provided a tremendous learning experience. The rewards team kept their ears close to the ground. Moreover, they gauged UX research and user feedback to curate brand tie-ins that improve this programme.
"Users can redeem our virtual currency (Fi-Coins) whenever they want to. We revamped our rewards to keep our catalogue fresh. It now includes 10–15 brands that millennials identify with — instead of a random coupon that makes no sense. Our focus is on value and not just differentiation," says Mohit.
We're only looking at purposeful rewards and hope that users build a loyal base around it. "As long as we keep creating moments of delight for users, they will keep coming back," he adds.
Bottom line: Build a rewards programme that is sustainable in the long run.
Has the concept of "The more you save, the more rewards you earn" actually worked? Well, the dice have fallen to reveal that it has, in quite a few ways! For example, our Jars — smart deposits where the smallest amount you can add is ₹1 — have already helped thousands of users achieve their short-term goals.
"It's a boon that such deposits come with no strings attached to frequency and time; save as you wish! A couple of months ago, we tried something on an experimental basis: To show users how easy it is to save, each new smart deposit earned rewards through Money-Plants. And it worked!" exclaims Mohit.
Currently, the focus is on convincing users how saving on Fi is frictionless. "For that, we've linked our rewards to the FIT Rules feature. With fun rules like, 'Save ₹50 every time I order food online, people are starting to realise that they've saved money (and earned rewards) without any effort," says Mohit, who is currently coaxing the back-end team to add Sound FX to Fi-Coins 🤣