Loyalty is about serving up elements of surprise
There’s the familiar adage, you can’t buy love. The same could be said for loyalty. It’s not simply a case of throwing points and offers at customers in the hope they will keep returning to your venue time and time again.
Today’s consumers are far more savvy and they want that personal touch, even an element of surprise that delights and makes them feel special.
I recently heard a great example of this from my colleague. She and her young son are frequent visitors to a well-known sandwich shop chain and on two occasions they were given sweet treats that made them smile. On the first occasion, her son was given a complimentary treat, and on the second when trying to choose between a cake and a biscuit they were given both but only charged for one.
This experience not only made her feel special and happy, but she is now an even bigger advocate of the brand and shares her experience with friends and family.
In this instance, loyalty isn’t about a formal membership scheme, although they do have a place, it’s about a brand having the confidence in its employees to serve up little acts of kindness at their discretion. Of course, there have to be guidelines and a limit on how much product employees can give away, but the reward for the brand can be priceless.
And, when it comes to loyalty schemes, it’s about knowing when and how often a customer visits and how much they spend, so you, the operator, can target your communications in a more concise manor, looking at bigger spenders, or lapsed customers for example.
Recent research by Zonal and CGA, shows that only 64% of consumers consider themselves to be loyal to at least one brand; if your customers feel valued then they are three times more likely to return time and again, which is better for the bottom line.
There is still a place for instant offers when signing up new loyalty club members, with 79% of those surveyed favouring this approach. But, thereafter, you need to court loyalty and build a genuine relationship through personalised campaigns, with 40% of consumers citing this as key to driving loyalty.
You also need to really understand your customers. To achieve an accurate view of your customer means bringing together all the data that you have about them, such as demographics, booking history, basket data and purchasing preferences into one single record. This rich data enables you to target your customers more effectively with timely, relevant messages that add value.
Whether you are a multiple operator or single site operator, through integrated technology you can learn more about your customers, their behaviour and purchasing preferences than ever before. This knowledge, used correctly, should empower you to dish up personalised treats and offers that inspire your customers to become your most powerful brand ambassadors.