COMMENTARY

How to achieve success with a customer loyalty app

How to achieve success with a customer loyalty app

Image courtesy of iStock

Hilary Wainwright is content creator at Lavu Inc., a provider of foodservice technology platforms.

by Hilary Wainwright

The main things you as a food truck operator want from a loyalty program are an increase in the frequency of visits from your regular customers, an increase in your average transaction price, an incentive for new customers to choose you, and dynamic engagement with your customers that makes them want to talk about their experience. A customer loyalty app is an excellent way to help you achieve all those things.

So, now that you know you want a loyalty app, let's talk about how to ensure you are successful when you roll it out. The success of a loyalty app is dependent on many of the same factors that determine the success of any basic loyalty program. But the ability to generate success is much easier with an app.

Important factors for success are:

  • Motivate the customer. You need customers to want to use the app. So you've got to come up with an enticing reason for them to begin using it in the first place.
  • Make it easy. Point out the ease-of-use to the customer compared to whatever previous loyalty program you had, after all, all they need to reap the rewards is the smartphone they always have with them anyway. 
  • Trigger use. A trigger nudges a customer back to the app, reminding them why they are using it and what is motivating them. Triggers include marketing tactics such as push notifications and on-site advertising. With a best-in-class app, you should find motivating customers, making the program easy, and triggering customer action to be simple and rewarding.

Motivate the customer

An example of a successful approach to motivating customer is to give a high number of points or rewards on initial sign up. For example, if it takes 10 points to get a free coffee, give six points on sign up. The customer will then feel so close to the reward that they are motivated to keep going and reach the goal. Giving one reward point and leaving them with nine to go is not a motivational way of starting the reward cycle.

Another benefit of starting with a high number of points is it allows you to reward the customer early in the loyalty relationship, giving the customer a high expectancy of reward and a desire to continue after they receive the reward.

Don't limit the high reward to first-time users of your loyalty program. If you have faithful customers who have been on your loyalty program for years, encourage them to switch to your new app by offering the same high number of points when they make the move.

Make it easy

Have some fun with customers as you point out the ease of use. Remind them that punch cards kill the environment and get lost, or come up with some funny promotions around ripping up the old card. Talk about the fact that this new program lives on their phone, where they spend most of their time and something they never leave home without.

Most of us are willing to admit our addiction to our phones and are excited to try a new app, so make the most of this aspect of today's digital society.

How to trigger use

A few types of triggers you can use to push people into action are:

1) Push notifications. These are great ways to announce something new. If Pumpkin Spice latte is back for the season, send a push notification to loyalty members letting them know and offering a rewards points boost when they come in to enjoy one.

2) Refresh content regularly. If your app content is stale, you will lose peoples' interest quickly. By providing new perks, new banners and special event notifications on a frequent basis, you continue triggering interaction between the customer and the app.

3) Promotional strategies. In addition to triggering existing loyalty members to use the app, you want to continue triggering new members via  signage, email blasts, social media, staff suggestions and any other means you find to tell your customers about your app and its benefits.

Remember to check the performance of your app. Don't set it and forget it; measure your success by analyzing the data at your fingertips. If you feel like your app needs a boost, switch things up once in a while. Consider larger rewards on a less frequent basis or bigger prizes through a drawing.


Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Customer Service / Experience, Marketing / Branding / Promotion, Online / Mobile / Social, Systems / Technology


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