Key Features of a Successful Customer Loyalty Program

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Loyalty programs have evolved over the years from a simple card-based system to completely digital programs. Here we weigh up the benefits of each of these programs.
Card Based Systems
Conventionally, restaurants have offered reward program through card-based systems. Over time, several types of cards have been employed for this purpose. We have discussed three main types of cards here:
Receipts
In this very basic form of a loyalty program, the customers are provided with an offer on the receipts. They can redeem offers if they brought the receipt back on a subsequent visit or by entering the number provided on the receipt on the website.
Punch cards
In this system, each time a customer purchased an item above a certain minimum value, a hole is punched on the card. Once a customer accumulates a stipulated number of punches, they can receive a reward. Punch cards made it easier to offer rewards in-line with the customer’s However, the system is more suitable for stores whose average transaction value is low.
Loyalty card or membership card
The restaurant loyalty cards are a quick and easy option that has almost completely replaced punch cards. The loyalty card based programs can even be integrated with the restaurant’s point of sale (POS) systems to automatically track customers’ reward status. Card-based systems are easy to implement and comparatively cheaper. However, the downside with all card-based systems is that the customers usually lose the card or fail to carry it on their subsequent visits. The other pertinent issue with such a system is that they usually lack the support to record and maintain customer data.
Digital programs:
The latest trend in loyalty programs is completely digitised systems that are usually offered through a third party website or app. Once you integrate your Loyalty program with your Restaurant’s POS system, you will automatically be able to keep track of customers’ purchases, offer rewards, gifts and update points or redemptions. A web/app based loyalty program enables you to build a rich customer database, which can be used to offer a personalized consumer experience or send specials via SMS or email. A completely digital program means customers do not need to carry or swipe any cards. They can sign up using their mobile no.s or email ids. Subscribed members can easily access their account status or redeem offers by logging onto the website or the app. The Digital Loyalty programs are fairly new and customers may take some time to get used to it.
Key Features in a Successful Loyalty Program
Key Features of a Successful Customer Loyalty Program Before you adopt a loyalty program you must invest some time in finding out what will work best for your restaurant. You may have to employ some effort to attract and motivate customers to enrol for the program by offering an initial reward on sign-up, or on their first visit as a loyalty member.
Make it Easy: A loyalty program needs to be simple. If a loyalty program isn’t easy to understand and use, then your customers won’t use it. If your employees find it difficult to understand, they may not be able to get customers on board.
Create an innovative reward system that does not impinge on your margins. Looking for ideas? We have covered the various kinds of rewards you can offer in this article.
Engage with the customer: Think of creative ways to engage with your loyalty members. Invite your customers to leave comments and recommendations about your loyalty program via social media platforms or surveys.
Mobile Accessibility: 59 per cent of customers said they would be more likely to join a rewards program that offered a Smartphone app. Most third-party loyalty programs offer consumer-facing mobile apps. However, while adopting a mobile interface, remember that it should be easy to use.
Integrate your Loyalty program with your POS system: One of the main benefits of a customer loyalty program is that it enables restaurant owners to collect valuable customer data. It is best to integrate your loyalty program with a point-of-sale (POS) system. If you already have a point of sale system in place then adopt a loyalty program that can be integrated with it. This helps you in streamlining processes like the promotion of offers or redemptions of coupons.
The ultimate goal of any restaurant customer loyalty program is to create a loyal customer base by providing a happy Dining experience, if you plan and execute your loyalty program with this in mind, there is no reason your restaurants’ loyalty program wouldn’t be a success.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Seshu Madabushi Entrepreneur with passion for marketing & small businesses A serial entrepreneur with a focus on restaurant marketing.

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