Keep Them Coming…Customer Loyalty Programs

By 3.8 min readPublished On: December 22, 2017

There’s a big difference between a loyal customer, and a happy customer, and that difference is satisfaction.  Loyalty programs spread from airlines to grocery stores to retail venues to food service because they have redeeming qualities, and offer incentives for your customer to return. The right loyalty program not only rewards your customers, but also your bottom line, while also utilizing cutting-edge technology to do so.
The results you want from a loyalty program are: an increase in the frequency of visits from regular customers, an increase in your average transaction price, an incentive for new customers to choose your business, and engagement with your customers that makes them want to tell their network. Engagement with customers is key, and it is why you should stop using punch cards, and start utilizing more sophisticated technology that can gather the essential data that you need to learn more about your customer.
Customer loyalty is the most powerful sales and marketing tool that a restaurant can own, and you can leverage it to produce a loyal customer base that keeps coming back for more.  According to a Deloitte retail survey, companies with a customer loyalty program are 88% more profitable than their competitors.  So, we thought you’d like to be let in on some secrets to creating a profitable loyalty program.
There are so many loyalty programs out there today, that you need to make sure that your’s is one of a kind.  Make sure your customer loyalty program is unique, and aligns with your brand identity and culture.  Get creative, and keep your customers interested with fun ways to earn and spend points.
This strategy requires a bit more time and leg work from you, but it will definitely get your loyal customers to return (while maintaining your costs down).  Your POS system tracks and monitors sales and inventory, but did you know that it can also monitor what customers are buying?   You can take this data about what your customers are buying, and mark that information within their profile in your POS.  Why is this important? Let’s say you have a customer who purchases the exact same wine every time she comes. Now you can offer a reduction on that wine to her. Even if she wasn’t going to have it this time, now she will.  It’s all in the details, and everyone loves feeling special.
Give your customers a reason to sign up by offering a free or discounted meal immediately. If you simply believe  that the “build it and they will come” approach will work, you’re merely mistaken.
Make sure that you meet customer needs and reward big spenders with your loyalty scheme. Create different levels to your membership club with new members starting off on the bottom tier, having to perform certain actions to reach the next tier and move up. Each tier has a different reward, and you should offer accelerated rewards for customers who reach the higher tiers, urging them to return more often and spend more to earn these rewards. In addition, the exclusive status higher tiers offer will make your customers feel valued.
Punch cards are old news. Don’t expect your customers to carry them around. You’re supposed to be making their lives easier, not more complicated. The best way of doing this is to create a card-less loyalty program that links to a mobile device and your POS.
While most people agree that they would alter how and where they spend their money to reach enough points to get rewards, you need to ensure that your establishment offers excellent service and has the right equipment, such as a point of sale solution, that helps increase efficiency to ensure customers want to return.  Point of sale systems are easy to use and will help streamline both front of house and back of house processes, so you can focus on building your customer loyalty.
Hopefully your loyalty program will utilize the available technology to enhance your customers’ experience and keep them coming back for more.
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