As food costs rise, so do customers’ expectations for restaurants to deliver higher value and a better experience across channels. That’s not the only challenge restaurants face, however. They’re also dealing with responding to mobile orders quickly and seamlessly, managing an overwhelming number of systems and tech stacks and motivating guests to identify themselves in transactions. How can restaurants overcome these obstacles? We’ve outlined four tips to help put restaurants on the path to cultivating more loyal and profitable relationships.
Loyalty programs are the best way to establish a direct relationship with a customer and for making an unknown customer known, while providing a reason for customers to consistently visit and purchase from a restaurant.
For a loyalty program to be successful, however, it must follow a defined strategy. Diners view generic, one-size-fits-all programs as a commodity, and they lose diners’ attention. Many restaurants have trained their customers to wait for recurring offers, but a discount-centric approach to loyalty incentivizes the wrong behavior and fails to deepen customer relationships. On the other hand, proactive events that are triggered by a customer’s profitable action can lead to other profitable actions. An offer is redeemed; a product is shared on social; an achievement was reached, etc. When a customer buys a burger and fries, why not suggest a soda to go with it? A guest has spent $50? Send them an offer that if they spend ten more dollars, then they get exclusive perks like no delivery charge on their next order. These types of incentives are tailored to the specific customer action and are only triggered by each customer individually.
For restaurants to be successful they must focus on increasing the frequency of customer visits and the size of each check. Encourage customers to perform specific, high-value behaviors using targeted campaigns and offers. Restaurants need the ability to create rich segments of customers using demographic and behavioral data, as well as calculated metrics such as customer lifetime value and propensity to churn. These segments can be used to fuel different types of campaigns. For example, message customers with a high propensity to churn to entice them to make a purchase or thank customers who made five purchases over the last thirty days.
Restaurants should integrate loyalty programs directly with point-of-sale systems to enable customer-facing staff to incentivize larger and more frequent purchases. Give employees the ability to look up a customer at the register via phone number, email address or loyalty card number. This provides them with the critical information needed to deliver a personalized experience: the customer’s name, loyalty points balance and available offers. This information also helps employees upsell at moments of impact with specific product recommendations for each customer or by providing guests with an offer on their next purchase to entice another visit.
To deliver the next generation of loyalty and customer engagement, restaurants have a lot of technology choices to make. The brands that have successfully transitioned to the new generation have not deployed tech just for the sake of it, but rather, they deployed tech that achieves business goals. Find a solution that is economical, quick to deploy, offers a transparent, immediate path to positive ROI and will allow for a unified view of your customers across locations, channels, and databases to lay the foundation for omnichannel personalization and online & offline customer engagement.