How do you build on a positive customer experience with a brand loyalty program? You can’t just throw things at the wall and see what sticks—that’s messy and time consuming.
To create loyal brand ambassadors and increase your sales with a loyalty or reward program, consider these tips:
1. Make it simple—your restaurant loyalty program must be easy to understand and access for both employees and customers. If it’s complicated or clumsy, your customer will likely abandon it and seek a reward by dining elsewhere.
2. Don’t let a reward program slow you down—if your speed of service is negatively affected by the implementation of a customer loyalty program, figure out what specifically is slowing down your service.
3. Shout it from the rooftops—what good is your amazing customer loyalty program if no one knows about it? Use social media and other channels to market your program.
4. Segment your customers—customer segmentation is a way of dividing and creating groups that have similarities like age, gender, what they buy and what they like. By using automated software to group your customers you can save a significant amount of time gaining good customer segmentation that you can then use to tailor the rewards you’ll offer each group.
5. Make it personal—by tracking customer data, you can tailor your customer loyalty program to their wants and needs. Personalizing a reward or offer can make your existing customer feel special, that you understand what they want (even beyond what you have to offer) and it will increase the likelihood of customer retention.
6. Create a mobile app—nearly all of your customers say they want to use their mobile devices to access your customer loyalty program (a study conducted by Rewards Network in 2017 demonstrated that 85% of their respondents said they want “digital loyalty programs via a mobile app” but only 25% said they had access to even one on their device). With a mobile app not only will you give them the ability to access and use your loyalty program, you’ll demonstrate that you really do know what your customers want—and that you’re prepared to give it to them.
7. Make it valuable—again, your customers have plenty of choices. Make them feel wanted by offering discounts, exclusive deals, merchandise and more so they don’t stray to your competitors.
8. Keep it in-house—you can find lots of third-party loyalty providers out there, but you’ll likely be better served by creating a customer loyalty program that you can integrate with your POS. With an integrated solution, your restaurant can track data, create email marketing campaigns and more.
9. Communicate—welcome your customers to your loyalty program when they join. Use social media or text messages to offer exclusive deals to members of your customer loyalty program. If your customer hasn’t made a purchase recently, send them a reminder of what they’re missing out on and how close they might be to redeeming a reward. Using your loyalty program as a channel for communication will create a positive customer experience that they will likely share with potential new customers.
10. Think bigger. Loyalty today is about transactions plus a customer’s experiential and behavioral activity, so when restaurant brands create marketing campaigns it’s more targeted to how recipients have behaved and interacted. Then you can continue to create an engagement program that’s hyper-targeted to your guests’ actual behavior and likely future ones.