Loyalty: Points? Spend? Visits? Check-ins? What does it really mean to have a loyal customer, and how can you best reward loyalty without creating an entitlement program? Is loyalty something you surface the rules on, or do you "Surprise and Delight" your guests on semi-random events? Through our years we've overseen multiple loyalty plays. Some successful, some a total flop. We've seen programs that absolutely rocked from a data perspective, that through failed promotions created messes that took years to clean up.
Overall, what we learned was that each concept's success in loyalty depended on that concept and also on the commitment of operators and marketers. Having buy-in from all departments as to the definition of loyalty and the measurement of success is critical. What amazes us is all of the loyalty programs we see in locations that don't have enough data behind them to tell whether or not they are actually working.
Then there is the security around those programs. How many points does your server's friend have? How many "points transactions" are actually logged to a guest, and how many redemptions are actual customers and not employees? Does the program have holes in it that are ripe to be exploited?
There are huge bonuses to full-featured programs, such as the ability to link up gift card balances to loyalty accounts, giving even more ways to reward guests seamlessly. Full-featured loyalty also gives restaurants the ability to get a good feel for new menu items by communicating specials to their loyal fans, and rewarding them for their feedback on those new items. The other advantage of a full-featured program is the ability to incentivize purchases on specific items or categories, and be able to control/track those redemptions with no user input.
The biggest reward of a solid, integrated loyalty program is the true benefit to the customer. People love to feel included, whether through communication, reward or just plain acknowledgement for being a friend and customer. The customer that can socialize his or her incredible experiences to their friends, fans and family is one that everyone wants to take care of!
If you're considering a full-featured platform, contact us. Everything we do links to our guests, giving the platform the ability to track loyalty transactions, attribute marketing, measure effectiveness of campaigns, measure recurring guest counts and distribute smart offers that drive sales. Our team can help you get what you are looking for out of your data.