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How Businesses Use Gift Cards to Engage Employees & Customers

Employee and customer engagement are key to any business’s success in the current climate. For employers, engaging employee populations at work ensures productivity, motivation and longer term, employee satisfaction and retention. On the customer side, in the current economic climate, retaining customers and reducing churn can be as important to a business as gaining new customers. Ensuring customers are engaged with your business helps support retention initiatives. Keep reading to learn how gift card incentive and reward programs can help drive engagement with employees and customers by continuously providing value and building positive associations with your brand and business.

1. Keep Employees Motivated

Throughout the year, especially during the summer months, employers often look for ways to get creative around employee motivation. This means keeping employees productive, engaged with the organization and working toward the goals of their team, department and company goals.

Using gift cards to drive this motivation can help:

  • Add a material component to drive motivation
  • Engage employees with the business and each other
  • Incorporate rewards and recognition into motivation programs

Focusing on employee motivation can directly impact company outcomes and key employee retention and satisfaction metrics. If you’re exploring adding gift cards to your employee recognition programs, motivation can serve as a great initial use case for gift cards in employee rewards and recognition.

2. Improve Employee Experience

Employee Experience focuses on how an employee interacts with their employer from their first day to their last. It encompasses employee satisfaction, engagement, motivation and more. Employee experience programs can’t stay stagnant, keeping the experience dynamic and employees always motivated to work toward what’s next.

For GiftCard Partners customer Rosie’s Place, a non-profit in Massachusetts, they use gift cards for employee recognition to keep employees, whose work can be both difficult and emotionally taxing, at the forefront of their rewards program. Keeping employee experience positive and to recognize employees who have worked through difficult situations supports their employee retention efforts.

Employee engagement programs with gift cards are a great way to formalize some of your employee experience journey.

These programs can:

  • Offer added value to employees beyond their standard compensation package
  • Reinforce the company’s commitment to driving employee engagement
  • Contribute to key HR metrics like employee retention and overall employee satisfaction

In today’s tight labor market employee experience should always be a focus for employers and adding in employee reward and incentive programs with gift cards is another way to strengthen any employee experience effort.

3. Engagement for Employees and Customers

Engagement is critical to your business. Whether it’s keeping your employees engaged for retention and continuity or engaging customers to ensure they find continuous value in your product and your team. GiftCard Partners customer, Hinton Buildings of North Carolina uses gift cards to increase engagement among customers. Since their product is an occasional purchase, gift cards are one way for them to keep their brand top of mind for their customers.  

Gift cards can support engagement programs by:

  • Building rapport between the business and the people most important to it
  • Building a lasting memory of the program based on the experience employees and customers have using their gift cards
  • Keep your brand and/or your organization at the forefront of customers’ and employees’ minds

Incorporating gift cards into your employee or customer engagement reward and incentive programs should be all about creating value. Using brands that are broadly useful like AutoZone® are a great way to add value to employee value. A brand like AutoZone can support employee hobbies outside of work, or help alleviate the cost of critical supplies for a family vehicle. AutoZone gift cards make a great addition to any gift card driven employee or customer engagement program by driving value and creating a memorable reward experience as a key component of the engagement program.

4. Improve Customer Support Experience

Having to call customer support for any product or service comes with a negative connotation. Long hold times, ill equipped service reps and unresolved issues often abound. Adding gift cards into business strategies for customer support interactions is a way to reinvent how customers view support.

Adding gift card incentives to customer support interactions can:  

  • Make customers feel like you’re valuing their time
  • Be offered as a thank you for providing feedback through surveys or NPS measurements
  • Help smooth over interactions that end with unresolved customer issues

Customer support is a critical part of any business and ensuring that customers walk away from those interactions happy, feeling positive and loyal to your brand is critical to customer retention and engagement efforts. Adding a gift card can change a whole customer support experience for the better.

5. Customer Thank Yous

When customers engage with your business by participating in public advocacy, providing a public or private reference, or go above and beyond to help your organization’s success, it’s critical to thank them in a meaningful way. ICON International uses GiftCard Partners’ programs to fulfill customer thank yous for references, referrals and retention.

  • Using gift cards to fulfill this critical need can be powerful for the customer and your company because gift card thank you programs:
  • Provide flexibility in the brand of the card that’s delivered to ensure value to your audience
  • Are scalable, allowing different card denominations for different levels of “thank you” worthy actions
  • Include streamlined delivery of physical cards for in-person interactions or instantly delivered e-gift cards if sending online

When providing thank yous to customers it’s equally critical to provide value to the recipient as when you’re using gift cards for other purposes like motivating your workforce. Providing Engage2Reward Choice Cards allows the recipient to choose where to assign the value from over 200 brands, almost guaranteeing they will be able to create a gift card experience tailored to their interests and valuable to them.


Engagement is a leading indicator of retention, whether that means retaining customers or employees. Driving engagement through gift card reward programs enables your company to build rapport, positive association and consistent value with the two most valuable assets to any business, employees and customers.

Learn more about how gift cards including AutoZone, the Engage2Reward Choice Card, and more can support your engagement incentive and reward programs today!

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Employee Engagement

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