Thursday , April 19, 2018

COMMENTARY: Five Tips To Help Your Merchants Master Their Loyalty Programs

Swipe, confirm sale, and sign. Swipe, confirm sale, and sign. Checkout on a point-of-sale system is a routine engagement for today’s consumers, and as such, many businesses overlook the opportunities that a POS system can provide. As an advisor to these businesses, you can inform them that POS is no longer just for payments. A POS system can be a versatile, multipurpose tool with the potential to foster customer engagement, especially where loyalty is concerned.

A restaurant loyalty program can be directly integrated into the POS system. Think about it. In the restaurant industry, checkout is one of the few moments in the dining experience where the customer is required to engage with the business. Diners have just enjoyed a meal, they are likely evaluating the customer service, and, we hope, they intend to return soon. Now they are actively engaged with the brand—what better opportunity to appeal to their loyalty?

Kime: “Restaurateurs who have a loyalty program in place know that success is largely based on their ability to sign up guests.” (Image credit: Upserve)

Restaurateurs who have a loyalty program in place know that success is largely based on their ability to sign up guests. And a well-executed loyalty program is a powerful tool for increasing guest frequency and average spend, both of which lead to increased revenue. By knowing the crucial tips for integrating a restaurant POS system with its loyalty program, POS specialists can exemplify exceptional support for the restaurant’s business and its financial and reputational success.

Here are a few simple ways to increase the rate of sign-up for restaurant loyalty programs at the POS:

  1. Make it swipe, sign up, confirm sale, and sign.

The loyalty program sign-up page should focus on acquiring the most basic information required to onboard the guest. The faster and easier it is for the customer, the more likely she is to sign up. Instead of asking for a lot of details (e.g. name, home address, birthday, etc.) simply ask the customer for an email address.

There will be opportunity later to capture additional information about the guest. For example, offering bonus points for completing registration is an effective way to get more details. Restaurants can utilize mobile technology, like SMS text messaging, to make signup as easy as texting an email address to a phone number. Reducing complexity in the signup process as much as possible will help to maximize enrollment.

  1. Place restaurant marketing collateral strategically.

Encourage your restaurant clients to focus marketing efforts where guests have the highest likelihood of reading the material and taking action. For restaurants, the check presenter is a great place to include information on the restaurant loyalty program. The customer has just finished a great dining experience and his attention is focused on the brand. Between the time the server drops off the check and returns it with the receipt for signature, the program would be a great topic to promote and close out the diner’s meal.

  1. Train restaurant staff.

Staff is the restaurant’s most valuable marketing asset. They are the ones interfacing with the guests and it’s imperative that they are up-to-speed on all the customer-loyalty program details, the value of loyalty to the business, and answers to customers’ frequently asked questions.

  1. Reward staff on signups.

Let’s face it. Most employees are highly motivated by money. Friendly competition between employees also goes a long way in focusing staff on signing up guests.

You can advise your restaurant clients to offer a prize to the staff member who signs up the most guests in any given month. A staff leaderboard in the back office will help keep the contest top-of-mind. A gift card or nice bottle of wine is a small price to pay to have the entire staff focused on building a lasting relationship with the guests.

  1. Give an incentive to the customer for signing up.

If the guests see an immediate benefit to enrolling in the restaurant’s rewards program, they will be more likely to sign up. Offer a coupon towards their next visit if they sign up, or offer points on their current visit to create an additional reason and sense of urgency for signing up.

The POS system is a multipurpose tool, but not all restaurateurs know it. Encourage your restaurant merchants to integrate their POS with their loyalty program. And provide these extra tips to show concern for their business and maximize your impact on its success.

—Brad Kime is senior vice president of channel and alliances at Upserve Inc., Providence, R.I.

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