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Why We Do What We Do at Tango Card

Amazing people …. completely unsupported

Seven years ago, I met and spent a bunch of time with one of Tango Card’s first customers – I’ll call her Stacey to preserve anonymity. Stacey was responsible for sending gift cards to her company’s customers both to thank them for their business and to encourage referral business – their most important source of future customers. Stacey knew the importance of sending these gift cards, but it was her least favorite thing to do at work. Literally, her least favorite thing. Why? For her, sending physical gift cards took too long. Buying the cards took a long time, mailing them took a long time, and tracking them was essentially impossible. Not too long after meeting Stacey, I met another early Tango Card customer – I’ll call him Chris, not his real name. Chris had employees in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. Chris prided himself on creating an awesome experience for his employees regardless of where they were located. He was based in the US, and he did not want employees in other geographies to feel like second-class citizens. But that’s exactly what was happening. He was trying to send a reward to an employee in Germany, and the only product his reward partner at the time offered would have been more insulting than motivating. So he sent nothing.

Legacy incumbents …. predictable motivations

During the first few years building Tango Card, I spoke with dozens of companies that operated in the industry – companies that could have been partners or suppliers to Tango Card. Each of these companies was much larger, better funded, and more experienced than Tango Card. I was in the earliest, foundational days of the company, and I was working very hard to find others that could help us get off the ground. Every conversation followed a predictable pattern, so much so that I called it “the script” and would point to the script anytime someone from my team would join a call. The script apparently required the person reading the script to listen to whatever I had to say and then ask these questions in this order:

  1. How much will you buy from us in the next 12 months?
  2. Will you sign an exclusive agreement in order to buy that amount?
  3. Will you accept this price sheet?

My typical response to these questions was 1: I have no idea, I’m literally founding a company out of thin air 2: No, I can’t do that. I have to be in a position to make my customers successful whatever that takes and 3: Um, why are we talking about this. Do you even know what Tango Card does and whether you are in a position to help us?

Easy to send, awesome to receive. Achieve your goal!

People do incredible things today to earn rewards and take advantage of incentives. Some participate in Wellness Challenges and walk the equivalent of Johannesburg to New York. Some complete detailed surveys to help make products and services better. Some influence dozens or hundreds of other buyers. And some make a majority of their purchases from a single retailer to demonstrate and benefit from loyalty. In these and other cases, the person receiving what they earned should be super happy. What they have earned should show up right away. When it shows up, it should have a positive impact. And their experience taking advantage of that rewards should be seamless and easy. And for the businesses that send them – for Stacey, for Chris, and for the millions of other reward and incentive senders, the available rewards should be easy to find, easy to understand, easy to send, easy to track, easy … well you get the picture, it should be easy and it should help deliver and reinforce the desired business result.

And that is why we do what we do. We make rewards easy to send for all of the amazing senders out there. Sending should enhance someone’s job, not bring them down. And we make incentives awesome to receive. If you have earned something, that something should be special. So we spend our time and investment dollars here – constantly building the best digital rewards catalog in the world, consistently building and improving the best technology to deliver these rewards, and investing in the best support team in the business bar none … because this combination of content, technology, and service is exactly what it takes to deliver on our “why.”

Written by David Leeds – Founder and CEO of Tango Card

David has great experience starting, scaling, and managing large enterprise businesses. He was co-founder and Senior Vice President of Strategy, Sales, and Marketing at FiberTower. He has an MBA from Stanford and an undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont. He generally leaves his Baja hoodie at home.

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