Loyalty is no longer about a frequency card or a free item for many purchases. Customer loyalty programs for restaurants are about understanding online and offline consumer activity from a demographic, psychographic and behavioral point of view and how these connect. Consumers expect customization from their sandwiches, salads or entrées to their loyalty rewards and programs. Rewards of choice are becoming more popular than a free entrée. A recent study by Loyalogy reported that 73 percent of respondents agreed they would like to have one rewards program membership that was honored at multiple restaurant chains. It’s no longer just about the restaurant or operation; it’s about the customer and choice.
Be relevant, be timely and be respectful of voice and choice – it’s a winning combination. Customers should no longer bear the heavy lifting within customer loyalty programs for restaurants. Make it seamless and easy for your customers to earn by listening to their needs:
- Less hassle. No cards, check-ins, posting or swiping to receive rewards.
- Personalize it. Make it relevant to me and allow me to choose my rewards.
- Simplify the process. “Liking” your business’s social media platforms can deliver instant gratification for both parties, but it lacks a consistent motivational force.
- Value my loyalty. I understand your hospitality towards new customers, but it shouldn’t overshadow your appreciation for existing members. When I see new customers receiving special discounts beyond my own, my loyalty feels overlooked.
- Let me get involved. Give me the opportunity to provide feedback. I really do care and want to thank you or explain a challenge that I experienced.
It is becoming more imperative that we understand the individual, provide them with a reward that is meaningful to them and engage them when and where they are: email, smart phone, tablet or in person.
The digital world has changed the value system and definition of “engagement” and has permanently reformed the way we communicate. It has provided an instant billboard for mass communication and opinions. Watch, listen and most importantly, respond to your customers. They can be friends for life.