The value of a loyalty scheme
Think of a loyalty scheme as a customer, and the benefits are obvious. Whether it’s a free meal or beverage for milestone numbers of purchases or building up loyalty points from purchases to spend on free meals, there’s a tangible benefit. But is there anything in it for the restaurant beyond repeat business? The answer may be more than you think.
Giving a customer a loyalty card enables you to start collecting data about who uses your restaurant. You can build a profile not just of that customer, but of all your customers. You won’t need to ask yourself what customers of a particular demographic might want, because you will know. A loyalty card scheme allows you to carry out restaurant analytics in a way nothing else can.
Use an app for your loyalty card scheme, and you can give customers the chance to share their experience via social media. They’ve had a great meal, they pay their bill, you give them their reward and in a glow of good feeling about you they share that experience with friends on Facebook, Twitter, or of course Instagram – complete with a photo of their meal. You could offer additional rewards for feedback or even reviews.
Once your restaurant has a place on their phone, you have additional opportunities for customer engagement. Let them know about your latest special offer, or when table reservations for special dates are getting low; how grateful would a customer be for a timely reminder to book for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, for example?
Use the app to gather whatever information you’d like from your customers. Some restaurants have given their customers the ability to rate menu options; the more questions that you ask of your customers, the more engaged they feel and the more value their data has for your business.
Physical, card based loyalty schemes have been working well for big chain restaurants for years. Now, with the advent of mobile technology, there is the opportunity for smaller, independent restaurants to offer the same benefit to their customers and to enjoy increased customer loyalty and valuable information too.