Gathering Customer Information with a Loyalty Program

Posted by Cathy Harms on Fri, May 03, 2013 @ 11:24 AM

Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging about how businesses attract customers.  Hopefully you will find this helpful no matter what type of consumer based business you operate.  My blogs will cover the following topics:

Post 1-  What new customers do you want to find you?  How do you gather information from your customers?
Post 2-  Value of a customer – how to define the “Ideal” customer through personas
Post 3-  Traditional marketing strategies and the personas they work for
Post 4-  New marketing tools and the personas they work for

Customer Loyalty Programs

First you need to ask yourself a couple of questions- what customers do you want to find you?  Who are your best customers and how can you get more of them?  Taking time to learn about your existing customers is worth the investment in many ways. 

  • You may find that the most frequent visitors are not your most profitable customers.
  • Identifying your best customers gives you the chance to thank them for their business which will keep them loyal.
  • Defining your “Ideal” customer will help you decide which of the many marketing strategies and tools will help you bring more “Ideal” customers in the door.
Let’s look at 2 different business types and how they learn more about their customers:
  1.  Consumer Service Businesses

This could be Mike’s Dry Cleaner, Gary’s Chiropractic, Mary’s Massage, Chuck’s Repair Service or any consumer service related business.  You have a great service that you provide to customers.  Most of the time you have names and probably phone numbers or email addresses for each of your customers because they are either making an appointment or leaving something for you to fix/clean.  What an advantage you have!  Are you using this advantage to help grow your business?

Begin by building a spreadsheet to track purchases, dates of visits, basic demographics including age, gender and how they interact with you.  You may have these capabilities on your POS or reservation system.  The key is utilizing a marketing tool or CRM that tracks this information so you can be effective with your marketing.  A loyalty marketing program captures member demographic information and tracks purchases along with offers that they respond to.  Since customers choose to join a loyalty program, you have their permission to communicate and track their behavior.   

Each time you communicate with a new customer, ask them to share key information with you.   If you offer something of value for their information customers will likely be willing to participate. 

  • If you gather birthdays then send a birthday offer each year. 
  • If you track purchases, send special offers that customers may find interesting. 
  • If you have email addresses, send reminders and thank you’s.  

 2.Quick Serve Restaurants and C-Stores

This could be Sam’s Sub shop, Dick’s Quick Stop, Isabelle’s Ice Cream Shop, or any consumer based business that has a high volume of customers and very limited customer information.  When customers walk into a sandwich shop or a C-Store, no one is asking their name.  Customers make their purchase and get out as quick as possible.   Your business is successful because you deliver a great customer experience and you deliver it quickly.  If Dick’s Quick Stop can deliver both of those, they will have happy customers.   If the line is slow, your customers are not happy.  How does your business gather customer information without upsetting customers?  

Make sure you are offering value for collecting the customer’s information like implementing a loyalty marketing program.  Once you have implemented a loyalty program communicating the value is key.   Raise awareness of the new loyalty program with in-store signage and well-trained employees who always ask if the customer is a member.  When customers see that you have a loyalty marketing program and understand the benefits, those that want to join will be ready to sign-up either in-store or online.   Make enrollment as quick and easy as possible.  What are the options?

  • Online – tell your customers to visit your website and join.  The challenge is that most people forget about going online after they have left your store.
  •  In-store
    • Paper-based may work if customers are typically in line as their subs are being made.  You could hand them a form to complete while they go through the process.
    • Paper-based form that they can mail back to you.
    • Use a terminal to swipe the driver’s license and enter their phone number and/or email address.  This takes about 30 seconds.
    • Enter all their data into your PC at the point of sale, but this will slow up your line. 
  • Mobile – text to join numbers are the quickest way to join but you typically don’t have any information about the person who joined other than their phone number.
Now you know how to start gathering customer information so you can figure out the “Ideal” customer for your business.  Next week I will be discussing the value of your “Ideal” customer and sharing stats from different businesses.  I will also discuss personas that will help you decide the right marketing strategies in posts 3 and 4.

Tags: Loyalty Marketing, Customer Experience