The adage “build it and they will come” might apply to many things, but rarely to loyalty programs. Based on the findings of the latest Oracle survey, QSR operators should follow 6 specific strategies to create a loyalty program that will attract customers and keep them engaged for years to come.
1. Encourage consumers to visit more frequently
QSR brands that want their loyalty programs to succeed must think of ways to drive more store visits. The Oracle survey found that 57% of Australian consumers do not visit the same places enough to justify joining a loyalty program. Creating promotions and offers that compel consumers to visit more frequently will increase the appeal of a QSR loyalty program. Another insight for operators: Casual diners that visit once a month are less likely to join a loyalty program than those that visit once a week or once a day, so focus your loyalty program push towards the latter groups.
2. Reduce personal information requested during sign-up
Sure, you want to gather customer information, but asking for too much during the sign-up process will turn away customers quickly. The survey reveals 36% of Australians believe too much personal information is required when they register for a loyalty program, which discourages them from signing up. “It’s important to only ask for the information that you need,” says Christopher Adams, vice president, food and beverage, APAC at Oracle Hospitality.
3. Make the sign-up process faster and simpler
You may have reduced the amount of personal information you ask during the sign-up process, but if it takes ages to complete and is confusing for the average consumer, then your loyalty program will struggle to find members.
Around 28% of Australians say they are put off from joining loyalty programs because sign-ups are time consuming or difficult to understand. “Keep it simple,” says Adams, advising QSR operators to avoid registration processes that are too long-winded or complex.
4. Make rewards relevant and redeemable for a longer time
At the heart of each loyalty program are its rewards, so customers will not back loyalty programs with unappealing rewards or those with rewards that expire fast. Nearly a third or 30% of Australians say they would not join a loyalty program if the rewards were not attractive or relevant to them, so QSR brands should re-think their ways. “It’s important to strike a balance between value to the customer and business profitability,” says Adams.
Also, 47% say that rewards expiring too quickly makes them leave a loyalty program. “If a guest visits a pizza restaurant every Friday night and is offered a reward to stop by on a weekday lunchtime for a free meal – but the reward expires next week, that’s likely to frustrate the guest,” Adams explains.
5. Lower the earning requirements for rewards
If members are leaving your loyalty program in droves, then QSR operators must check if the rewards are too hard to get. 44% of Australians cited difficulty in earning the rewards, so they leave the program. “If you need to buy 20 different flavors of coffee to get a free one, that might not be deemed as worthwhile to the guest,” says Adams.
6. Make claiming rewards a pleasant experience
Imagine a customer that jumped through all the hoops to earn a loyalty program reward, but then you make it hard for the customer to claim the reward. How do you think the customer will feel? 41% of Australians will not put up with that scenario, saying that rewards being too difficult to claim would encourage them to quit a loyalty program. Some examples of frustrating claiming policies include asking customers to redeem rewards at certain times of the day and requiring many prerequisites to be satisfied to redeem rewards. This has led providers like Oracle to create cloud-based platforms that allow guests to redeem rewards at the point of sale to keep them loyal to your brand.
“The top three reasons for leaving a loyalty program are all related to the rewards that are offered,” says Adams. “If customers have doubts about the accessibility and quality of a restaurant operator's loyalty rewards, they will potentially stop using the program.”
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
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