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Why your loyalty program is failing and how to fix it (Part 3)

By Gillian Jones, QikServe

Welcome to the final installment of our short blog series on loyalty in the restaurant sector. In our last blogs, we uncovered five key areas for loyalty improvement, and today we want to round things off by covering the final five points to help you make the most of your program.

1.  Make mobile matter: Reward customers who make the most of mobile.

Widespread adoption of your mobile application is the key to its success, so don’t leave it up to chance. Ttake control by actively encouraging your guests to go digital, but what incentives would make your customers start or continue using your mobile services?

Providing exclusive mobile-only services and offering more loyalty points to guests that choose mobile order and pay is a good place to begin. By providing an express pick-up lane for mobile orders only, customers can jump the morning rush-hour queue, perhaps picking up a free morning coffee with their usual bagel and gaining more points in the process. When customers order  with their smartphones, you now know their preferences. So if they haven’t visited your store for a while, you could entice them back with a mobile discount on their usual muffin and coffee.

2.  Social sharing: Freshly baked brand ambassadors

Give your customers something to shout about. The average number of friends people have on Facebook is 338. If only 150 of your customers share a photo of themselves about to tuck into a mouth-watering meal at your restaurant, that equates to a potential audience of 50,700.

Stock up on your social brand ambassadors by letting guests earn points or rewards by sharing promotions, brand news, photos and checking-in to your stores on their social media channels.

3.  The more the merrier: Cross brand and product loyalty

Ever thought about partnering for loyalty? By joining an alliance of non-competing brands, your customers get better value for money and your loyalty proposition starts looking a whole lot more attractive. You can put an end to wasted plastic loyalty cards languishing at the bottom of your customers’ bags and participate in a more flexible rewards scheme spread across brands your customers use regularly.

Last year, American Express launched Plenti, one of the first cross-brand loyalty programs, teaming up with the likes of Macy’s, AT&T and Exxon Mobil to offer a better value for consumers. These types of coalition loyalty programs have huge potential.

4.  A journey that’s smoother than butter:  Never lose a customer due to negative experience again.

As hospitality operators start to invest more in both guest-facing and workforce technology, the risk of ending up with a fragmented, disjointed solution that isn’t integrated and doesn’t provide a smooth experience is a real challenge.

When it comes to loyalty, providing a differentiated experience that goes beyond the expectations of your customers is essential. But it won’t happen if your various technologies aren’t speaking the same language. Your customers’ experience as they move between a physical loyalty card, digital loyalty card, app, web, POS and in-store interactions needs to be seamless for it to generate devotion to your brand.

5.  Turning to mobile for the whole shebang: Mobile ordering and payment is just the beginning.

Okay, so you’re going to digitize the order and payment process, offer eloyalty cards, personalize marketing offers and encourage the type of social interaction with your brand that the Kardashians would be envious of. But how do you do it in a unified, integrated way to provide the seamless experience your digital consumers demand?

The answer is mobile.

Thanks to the rapidly evolving features of smartphones today, you can turn to mobile to enable the whole enchilada. By giving your customers a comprehensive mobile application you can:

  • Let them browse your menu, order and pay for their food and drink in advance, whether for dine-in, pickup or delivery.
  • Guests can even modify orders, add to their check, leave a tip and split the bill for that extra touch of convenience.
  •  Help customers find their nearest store and pre-book a table, seat or place at a gaming table for example.
  •  Provide entertainment for grownups and children alike with games and puzzles.
  •  And exponentially increase brand exposure by encouraging guests to share their experience through their social media channels.

Turning the volume up on tech

To wrap things up, when it comes to driving diner devotion, the time for tech is now; 62 percent of millennials think that online content drives their loyalty to a brand. So dare to digitize and put the power in their hands. Literally.

By harnessing the power of smart loyalty and letting customers control their own experience, you’ll offer greater value through better-suited marketing offers, and you’ll develop stronger, deeper ties to your customers through more meaningful social interactions.

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