Customer loyalty programs can be excellent vehicles for customer retention and increased sales, as well as customer satisfaction. But not every pizzeria and restaurant does them right. If you’re considering the launch of a customer loyalty program or if your current program is producing lackluster results, the following might help you approach customer loyalty programs the right way: with a focus on customer satisfaction.
Consider the customer
Start by looking at your loyalty program from the customer’s perspective. Does it offer a true incentive to keep buying from you? Is the reward good enough? Easily attainable? If not, you should revise your loyalty program. At Detroit Style Pizza Co., we’ve had good success with our VIP Member Program. Customers who sign up for the program get insider news and special discounts each month. For most customers, it’s exactly the right type of reward. And it’s easily attainable: all they have to do is subscribe to our email newsletter. Mention points system. We keep the content light to make for an easy, entertaining read, which help bring customers into our company culture (or our company into theirs, depending on how you look at it). By making our customer loyalty program easy to join and even easier to cash in on, we’re able to continually put our message in front of our customers. And, of course, each newsletter includes a nudge to order.
Another popular type of customer loyalty program is the rewards card. Essentially, customers make a set number of purchases in exchange for a free menu item. A recent study found that rewards card programs are twice as effective when you give customers a “head start.” Researchers distributed two types of rewards cards to customers: one had eight spots to fill, the other had ten spots to fill but came with two spots already marked. Thus, customers who were handed both cards had to make eight purchases to earn their reward. However, the ten-spot card with the two-mark head start twice as many follow-up visits. You might consider adopting a similar strategy for retaining more customers and boosting sales.
Another aspect of intelligent rewards is automation. You want your rewards system to be completely hands-off and to incorporate an automated system that triggers rewards on individual customers events such as birthdays, holidays, and the first day of school. You set it up once, and it runs on autopilot. Other great futures include surveys. Send a survey to your loyalty customer database and attach a point value to responses. The more feedback your customers give you, the more VIP offers they receive – it’s a win-win that generates repeat returns for both you and your customers.
Finally, it’s important to note that customers respond to elevated statuses. Members of our VIP Program want to maintain VIP status (we make it easy – all that have to do is not unsubscribe). They not only get special members-only discounts, they get access to insider information about our company. When we share our story, our passion, and our dedication, our members take ownership and genuinely want to see us succeed. And that is the ultimate goal.
When you create a customer loyalty program, don’t lose sight of the fact that you want to foster genuine enthusiasm for your pizzeria. Your customer loyalty program should be fun, easy, and valuable, but it should also work to bring your customers into the company fold. When you do that, you’ll have legions of customers who advocate your business and become an integral part of your overall growth strategy.