Thursday, June 11, 2015
8 Ways to Keep Customers Loyal
Let’s look at some of the most important steps in running a successful loyalty program, and why you’ll need to implement them if you want to build a bevy of happy members. If at the end you decide that you aren’t ready to begin a loyalty program, many of these same tips can still assist in getting you in the right mindset for other customer engagement projects that will prepare your customers for a loyalty program down the line.
1. Check Your Budget
Loyalty programs can be one of the best ways to build brand awareness and customer loyalty, but figure in the costs of setup, product rewards, accounting fees, possible software or computer upgrades and any additional staff you may need to hire. Most importantly, figure in the time output it will take to market and promote the program properly (i.e., regularly).
2. Give Them What They Want
Many retailers neglect to ask what customers actually want from a reward program. Do they favor discounts? Free delivery? Exclusive invites to store events? The short answer is that they want relevant rewards that are tailored to them. The only way you’ll know for sure, however, is by asking them—either during the sign-up process or through email and social marketing polls.
3. Put it In Writing—and Make it Easy!
No one wants to read five pages of small print to figure out how many points they just earned from the pizza they purchased; they also don’t want to spend a year gathering points that go toward a mysterious goal or possibly nothing at all. Find a happy medium by laying it out for customers from the beginning.
4. Know Your Members
One of the reasons so many stores have transitioned away from punch cards over the years is because you will never know anything about a customer who carries a punch card. The technology available to you today gives you the ability to gather important information about your customers upfront and on an ongoing basis that will help you with future sales, promotions—even ordering. The knowledge gleaned from being able to monitor customer purchases through a software-based loyalty program lens is priceless.
5. Keep the Lines of Communication Open
All too often, loyalty cards end up in a desk drawer or at the bottom of an old purse. In order for a loyalty program to succeed, it’s imperative to follow up with your members. Whether that means through periodic emails, mobile alerts or a note dropped in the mailbox, your customers need to be reminded why they are being loyal to you and not the store down the street.
6. Keep the Perks Coming
If you want people to eat at your pizzeria, offer regular bonuses and perks to your VIP customers. Have a new menu debuting in a couple of weeks? Reveal it to loyalty members before everyone else. They’ll love the exclusivity of their preview.
7. Take it Mobile
The ability to tie a loyalty membership number to a mobile phone not only dramatically increases consumer participation in a loyalty program, it also enhances the data that is collected about the consumer. A mobile phone allows you to gather extra data in addition to information about what the consumer does at the register. With a loyalty program that’s tied into a mobile phone, the consumer also has constant access to the loyalty program, benefiting you and them.
8. Stand Out!
With billions of loyalty memberships in the U.S., how will yours stand out from the competition? Will you reveal secret specials to members or invite them to share what they’ve earned through social media for the chance to earn more rewards? Making members feel special and valued will show them that loyalty is a two-way street at your pizzeria—one that they’ll want to return to again and again.
Do you offer a loyalty program at your pizzeria? What types of perks do you provide? Tell me in the comments below.
Labels: keep customers loyal, liz barrett, loyalty programs, pizza insider, pizza loyalty programs, pizzeria loyalty programs, restaurant loyalty, store loyalty
My goal at The Pizza Insider is to give you the inside scoop on the latest trends, marketing tactics and technology so that you're always one step ahead of the competition! I've been a part of the pizza industry since 2007, first as the editor-in-chief, and now as the editor-at-large at PMQ Pizza Magazine. My first pizza book, Pizza: A Slice of American History, was just released; find out more here.