Why do you need a loyalty program? Two reasons:
- It’s cheaper to retain customers than to create new ones.
- Repeat customers spend 67% more on average than new customers.
You need a way to incentivize customers to return, and a loyalty program is crucial to this. Here are some questions to ask yourself when creating yours:
How should I structure my rewards program?
The best rewards programs are easy to sign up for. Go a step beyond that and use your restaurant POS software to automatically sign your customers up. When customers pay with their credit cards, your POS software will collect customer data – names, birthdays, emails, what they ordered, and time of order. If your customers pay in cash, simply ask them to join your rewards program and input their info.
As for the rewards system itself, points systems tend to be the easiest for both you and the customer. You can give your customers points based on how many times they visit, the amount they spend, filling out easy surveys, or even how many new people they refer to your rewards program.
Your customers should have a way to view how many points they have. Make this easy through your website, or better yet, your mobile app.
What rewards should I offer my customers?
Customers love discounts and free stuff! But your reward options don’t stop there. For example, you can allow loyal customers to receive exclusive merchandise and RSVP to special events, such as wine tastings, before the general public.
Utilize your POS software to its fullest, and give your customers convenience and individualization. Since you’ll have your customers’ names, contact info, and addresses in a database, customers will be able to place to-go orders much faster and without error. Additionally, you can create individualized offers based on your customers’ preferences. Talk about an incentive to return!
Not sure how your customers want to be rewarded? Survey them! Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, make it easy to poll a large audience.
Who should I reward?
Loyal customers want to feel recognized and elite. And you want to reward customers who will return, not give handouts to bargain-hoppers. Give small, occasional rewards to returning customers, but save your biggest rewards for your top 5-10% of customers.
How is this profitable?
It’s important that the monetary rewards are attainable and satisfying enough to keep your customers motivated and engaged, but not so frequent and excessive that you lose money. Use your POS software to analyze the effectiveness of your rewards. Do your reward-program customers return after earning rewards? How much longer do they stick around than non-reward customers?
How else can I create loyalty?
Humanize your restaurant. Learn your frequent customers’ names, ask them if they’re ordering “the usual”, engage in fun conversation, get to know them. Create an environment where returning customers feel acknowledged and appreciated, and they’ll become loyal.