When you’re looking for ways to attract and keep customers while increasing your revenue, the best place to start is implementing a customer loyalty and rewards program. Consumers want to feel a sense of personal connection with their favorite businesses and brands, and loyalty programs foster this relationship. Here are some tips for creating the most effective loyalty and rewards program for your restaurant:
1. Be aware of loyalty reducers.
Before you can give customers what they want, you need to know what they don’t want. Avoiding these pitfalls will help increase the number of program members that remain active after signing up. According to the 2017 COLOQUY Loyalty Census, the top reasons people abandon loyalty programs are:
- It took too long to accumulate points or earn rewards. Customers need to feel that goals are attainable and need to see progress, or they will lose interest fast.
- Program sent too many communications, or communications that were not relevant. When customers provide their contact information, they are trusting you not to abuse it by blowing up their inboxes with daily messages. To solve this, you can use the data from your point of sale (POS) system to create communications that are targeted to those who will be most interested. For example, send that discount on your newest appetizers to customers who have ordered appetizers frequently on prior visits.
- Program did not offer rewards the customer was interested in. The best programs offer a variety of rewards and experiences, which leads to the next tip.
2. Know the types of loyalty and rewards programs customers prefer.
Points and discounts are the most popular reward types. Points can be earned based on dollars spent (the most preferred method), number of visits, purchase of specific items, or for engaging in other related activities such as signing up, or referring friends. Don’t be afraid to think beyond points and discounts to create other types of perks for members.
Some examples might be:
- Free delivery
- Invitations to exclusive events such as a tasting party for new menu items
- Members-only dinners
- Members-only reservation window for popular dates like Valentine’s Day.
Give them unique experiences and they’ll want to come back.
3. Ensure you’ve checked off these success factors.
COLLOQUY has identified the top three reasons that loyalty and rewards programs are successful:
- It’s easy to use
- It’s easy to understand
- It gives great discounts
Earning and redeeming points should be as convenient as possible. Redemption can be integrated into the checkout process, where it can help reduce cart abandonment and increase average order value. Providing a mobile app or website feature that allows members to check their point balances easily can also encourage them to keep progressing to the next goal. Keep the program operation as simple as possible; don’t frustrate customers with a lot of rules and exemptions for when and how they can use their points.
4. Build a community around your program.
Engage with your loyalty and rewards program members on a variety of platforms. Use social media to strengthen your connections with them and give them ways to earn points other than sales transactions. Give points for sharing your Facebook posts, following your page, re-tweeting you, posting their own photos and stories about their experiences with your restaurant, or writing reviews. Let your loyal customers be brand ambassadors by giving them points for referring their friends (and reward the referred folks as well).
Finally, your loyalty and rewards program will work best when it is integrated with your POS system. Contact Focus POS for more information on finding the best POS for your individual needs.