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Why your loyalty program is failing and how to fix it (Part 2)

In our initial blog, we introduced the idea that loyalty programs in the fast casual sector have fallen far behind the programs seen in other sectors and that mobile technology has the ability to change things for operators.

Over the course of the next two blogs, we will look at 10 lessons for improving loyalty:

1. Getting the tech right
The evolution from coldly efficient workforce tech to powerful, guest-facing solutions

The biggest failing of many operators trying to release themselves from the grip of basic stamp card loyalty programs is that the tech they’ve turned to just isn’t right for their business. Many operators have tried to stick a POS peg in a loyalty hole and discovered that it’s not the right fit.

Over the past 10 years, the industry has experienced an evolution of guest service enhancements as operators attempt to get closer to their customers.

Instead of the 1-to-many interaction of yesteryear, businesses have realized the benefit of capitalizing on the 1-to-1 customer interaction that mobile now affords. In fact, 97% of U.S. corporate executives say customers want a fast, cost-effective and personalized level of experience. Mobile successfully delivers on all levels.

Finally, operators can work with the POS tide rather than against it by using customers’ mobile devices and the Cloud to seamlessly pass information to and from the POS system back-end databases and loyalty applications. This allows them to create frictionless, convenient and lightning fast systems for interacting and transacting with digital consumers.

2. Ordering: the key ingredient to your loyalty pie
The secret to understanding your customers and what they’re hungry for

Figure 1: Image courtesy of Wisely

Despite attempts to lure guests into digital interactions by deploying costly tablets or bulky in-store kiosks, mobile ordering is by far the most efficient way to capture specific customer preferences. Whether it’s their buying behavior, customized orders or payment preferences, you can gather and use this invaluable information to power some seriously effective loyalty schemes.

Consider the Wisely mobile app. When a guest using the app arrives at the restaurant, it triggers a push notification alerting staff. Information including how many times they’ve dined at the restaurant, customer feedback, preferences, and other relevant tips, is automatically shared, allowing staff to treat the loyalty member on a more personal level.

By combining captured customer data from the ordering process with knowledge of their specific location via the app, operators can encourage loyalty by allowing guests to unlock premier status during their visit. This could include enjoying an extended happy hour, tasting menus, priority seating and more.

3. Up close and personal
Squeezing customer data for juicy preference-based loyalty

Figure 2: Image courtesy of Tesco

Now you’ve captured the data, what do you do to get the most out of it?

Powerful preference-based data is the key to unlocking long lasting loyalty. And when research shows that 65% of diners would share personal information in exchange for loyalty points, it provides a recipe for some genuinely smart loyalty activity.

Picture a regular guest, John – a tireless business traveler who stays at your hotel at least twice a month and routinely orders the same three things from your menu most evenings.

After a late check-in one day, John receives a text saying: “It’s late. You must be tired. There’s a hot tomato soup, warm, freshly baked bread and a double chocolate brownie on its way to your room. On us. Goodnight.”

By knowing what John likes based on his past behavior, you can easily turn an average experience into a great experience by exceeding John’s expectations, which in turn makes it more likely he’ll choose to stay with you again in the future.

One brand that has excelled at the personal touch is UK supermarket giant, Tesco. Tesco’s “Clubcard” loyalty program tailors offers based on the types of items you’ve bought in the past. If you buy a lot of baby food, wet wipes and nappies, you’ll receive discounts and vouchers for baby-related products as well as other items you buy on a regular basis like fruit and veg. The more you shop, the more likely you are to receive money off coupons, extra Clubcard points and competition vouchers.

4. Navigating your way to loyalty success
Putting location-based loyalty on the mobile map

By spicing up your customer insights with a little location-based seasoning, you can lift loyalty to a whole new level. In a recent study by Microsoft, 60% of respondents said they prefer offers that are targeted to where they are. Knowing where your customers are in real-time lets you provide new value to your relationship with them. For example, in a sprawling stadium or resort, you can attend to customers who linger in specific areas or locate guests to encourage them to visit your stores by sending timely, relevant offers made tantalizingly more tempting because of their close proximity.

The Golden State Warriors basketball team, for example, sends welcome messages, promotions, upgrade offers for better seats, special concession deals and promotions for the team store based on the fan’s location around the arena.

With a bit of personalization, offering promotions based on location can earn you your own loyalty brownie points. For example, a frequent customer, Will, is casually walking down the street when he receives a text message:

“Happy Birthday Will! You’re pretty close to our store, why not pop in for a birthday brownie? Our gift to you on your special day!”

Your offer suddenly becomes much more attractive and likely to be redeemed because your guest knows they’re just meters away from your store.

5. Events: turn up the heat on treats for those special days
Return the love of your most valuable customers

Launching a new store? Celebrating of your company’s birthday? Or hosting an exclusive event? Now is the time to give back to your most loyal customers by showing them how much you value them. Get them involved in your event and immerse them in a five-star digital VIP experience they’ll never forget.

Get smart with smartphones and play straight into your tech savvy customers’ sweet spot by mobilizing your events:

● Send a digital invite via your app to your most loyal customers.
● Stay in touch with reminder alerts, helpful location information or real-time navigation to the event.
● Build excitement by letting your guests grab an exclusive preview of your new menu, allowing them to pre-order their food and drinks through their mobile.
● Upsell and cross-sell additional sides and after-dinner drinks with tempting photos.
● Encourage customers to share photos of the event and show off their VIP status through their social channels to earn more rewards or loyalty points.

Join us next time for the conclusion of our loyalty blog series!

Author: Gillian Jones heads up business development for QikServe, the mobile ordering and payment specialist. QikServe’s app allows customers to order and pay straight from their mobile phone.

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