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Mobile loyalty programs that work hard for your business

April 14, 2016

Generally, each January, there are a lot of people rushing out to the gym to get memberships. Have you ever been one of those New Year’s resolution-eers who start the year with the best of intentions, only to never end up using your membership?

Making a mobile loyalty program work for your business is a lot less work than hitting the gym, but in both cases, it’s impossible to achieve results if you don’t actually use it.

No loyalty program, no matter how good it is, will show significant results unless the merchant uses it consistently and correctly.

For both merchants and customers, most mobile loyalty programs are a breeze to use, but it only works if you work it.

Here are five steps to ensure success with your mobile loyalty program:

1. Try to observe if a newly arriving customer already has your loyalty program installed. With a loyalty program, generally you’ll know when a customer is already using a loyalty app, because they will “check in” via the consumer app on their mobile phone upon entering. But if they don’t check in, or give any other indicators of participating in your shop’s mobile loyalty program, this is a good time to ask, “would you like to receive rewards for shopping here?”

I highly recommend that your clerk use this exact phrasing because when put this way, customers will almost always say yes. Once the customer agrees, your clerk should reply, “great, let’s get you started.”

If the customer has any problems downloading the mobile loyalty app, the clerk should help out or find someone who can. It only takes a minute and now the merchant has “captured” another potential loyal customer. Alternatively, you can do all this at the time of payment.

2. Make whatever you use to validate program users very accessible.Depending on which mobile loyalty program you use, how you validate customers may vary, but regardless, make that validation process easy for employees. Having the validator near employees, or built into the POS, shows them the customer’s name and face as soon as they check in allowing the clerk to greet the customer by name effortlessly.

One barista told us that he never greeted customers by name because the validation screen was behind him. I’ve heard of many businesses have making the same oversight by placing the validator screen outside the clerk’s natural line of sight. Without this visual cue, the opportunity to greet the customer by name is lost.

3. Greet customers and shoppers by name. It is one of your most powerful loyalty-building actions. The sweetest sound to the human ear is the sound of our own name spoken by another, so take advantage of this powerful tool if your mobile loyalty program allows it. As soon as your customer checks in with their mobile loyalty app, their name and (if uploaded) their picture shows up on the validation screen, enabling the clerk to greet them by name.

Make sure that your clerk actually does greet each and every customer by name if your loyalty program allows it, and does so in a friendly, natural manner, without fail.

The personal recognition established when greeting the customer by name is the “open sesame” of customer loyalty, which translates to customer retention and regular visits.

4. Make the giving of rewards a happy and seamless experience. Make sure to have the customer rewards (whatever “prizes” you are offering for purchase behavior), readily on-hand, making it easy for your clerk to retrieve rewards to give to your customer. Making the experience easy to deliver and seamless to implement will not only make your employee more likely to deliver the optimal loyalty program experience,  but it will also make the visit a positive and more memorable experience for you customer.

5. Use a secret shopper. As the business owner or general manager, you absolutely should send in a “secret shopper” to verify that your mobile loyalty program training is being followed.  Do this randomly at least a few times per year to ensure your loyalty program’s success. It’s your business; it’s up to you to protect it.  Doing so could spell the difference between your loyalty program becoming a thriving success–or a disappointing failure.