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Tips for keeping faithful customers

Roger L. Brooks, author of “The Power of Loyalty,” offers these tips — in no particular order — for effective loyalty programs: 

Be different. “You have to stand out from your competition if you want people to talk about [you],” Brooks said. “If you do things that are different and get customers engaged, you get them to come back for themselves, and you get that viral, word-of-mouth social play.”

Reward customers based on spending history. “Offering a generic reward is not going to do it for most consumers as they get more savvy about these type of programs,” Brooks said. If the customer typically orders chicken and soup, that patron probably will not respond to an offer for fish or steak, he added. “It gets to that level so you can talk to them on a one-to-one basis.”

Make redemption items attractive and attainable. “They don’t have to stop with one reward,” Brooks said. “Some companies are going outside their industry, such as offering discounts on gas in working with partners.”

Mix it up. “I would encourage restaurants to keep promotions very fresh and new,” Brooks said. “If the same program sits out there for too long without any exciting promotions, sweepstakes or opportunities, people will get complacent. It’s important to keep it fresh.”

Train your staff. “They need to be engaged,” Brooks said. “They need to be excited about the program so they can, in turn, get your customers excited about it.”

TAGS: Marketing
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