Loyalty Programs Foster Repeat Business, Community Engagement and Trust
QUESTION: How have customer loyalty programs best benefited your locations?
HORAN: “The Sandwich Society Loyalty Program is a win-win for Erbert & Gerbert’s. Not only are we rewarding our most loyal customers, in return they are visiting our locations more often and spending a little more on our great product. We see a stronger check average from society members than we do from non-members at all six of my locations. During our Sandwich Society Showdown in April and May, our sales increased by 19 percent.
“It’s great having something like a loyalty program where customers can go to any of my area locations and reap the same benefits. I believe having a program like this can make a big difference in being a successful business. The loyalty program gives people another reason to walk through our doors and enjoy our “Flavornation.”
“While we’ve offered a loyalty program for more than two years, I consider this a new program for us. What excites me the most are all the technological developments that will make this an even more robust promotional tool. In today’s society, it’s all about customer interaction and appreciation, which is why loyalty programs like ours pay off so well.”
Ted Horan is a franchise owner of six Erbert & Gerberts locations: three in Fargo, one in Grand Fork and one in Bismarck, N.D. and one in Moorhead, Minn. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org via the directory.
PATEL: “A customer loyalty program significantly helps to localize the Salsarita’s chain. My guests know that they can eat at any of my eight Knoxville-area locations and receive the benefits. I think it makes them feel like we have a presence within the community and that we’re part of what makes Knoxville special.
“Salsarita’s customers understand their value to our business. They want to feel a connection and want to be rewarded for their frequency and loyalty. The Salsarita’s Cantina Club was created to encapsulate that relationship. The days of paper punch cards are gone. Swipe card and bar codes are the norm now. I think they too will give way to mobile and social media. The technology behind the loyalty programs has to be aimed at efficiency and simplicity for the guest and our staff. If it’s too much work for either, neither wants to bother.
“The information we receive from our loyalty program members is great. They are our heaviest users, so their opinions really count. They are the first to receive surveys about their experiences and the first to know about new promotions. Being on the ‘inside’ is what being part of the Cantina Club is all about.”
HP Patel is the owner of eight Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Cantina locations in the Knoxville, Tenn. area. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org via the directory.
SWEIGARD: “As a small-business owner, I am very focused on developing a strategic plan to grow my business consistently each year. For me, that edge is a special loyalty program that drives profitable business while enhancing the customer experience. Wild Birds Unlimited is a small niche nature store that specializes in the hobby of backyard bird feeding. Our customers are very passionate about the hobby and enjoy a close connection with the staff to discuss their experiences with bird sightings and feeding needs.
“Our loyalty program, called our Daily Savings Club, provides us with the key to expanding our customer base and helps our best customers to maximize their experience in each visit to our stores. As a multi-unit owner, a loyalty program is the best avenue to create a system that makes you the local expert and encourages your staff to develop close relationships with your best customers. Owning stores in different states means my employees are the key to local relationship building and the program. A substantial amount of our sales come from our bird food products and feeders, but our success is derived from developing a close relationship to our customers.
“Trust in a business is a culture developed over time and when you have a loyalty program that encourages your staff to do the right thing for you customers, you generate trust you can stand behind. Our loyal customers visit the store twice as often as our casual customers because they see us as much more than just a seed store. They view us as a friend that brings nature to their backyard. Our Daily Savings Club allows us to focus on programs that attract new customers and incentives that create year-round excitement for our loyal customers, which places us as a valued part of each community.”
Dan Sweigard, who has 30 years of franchising experience, owns three Wild Bird Unlimited franchise locations in Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as Lexington and Florence, Ky. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org via the directory.