Whenever my boss wants to have a “working lunch” we’ll drive up the street to a little restaurant/bar called Sam’s Boat. At night this place is hopping but at lunch it is pretty quiet and they serve a decent hamburger. We’ve been there quite a few times and have amassed stamps on our frequent lunch card. After so many lunches, you get one free.
After our last visit, I pulled out my card to get a stamp and our server tells us they don’t use those any more. We’d have to sign up for a new program but can’t transfer any of our credits. Ouch!
Don’t End It!
If you’re considering dropping your customer loyalty incentive program, think again. Why would you do such a thing? At a minimum you should be upgrading your loyalty program. Offer your customers more benefits and thus encourage them to do more business with you.
When you change your loyalty program, offer a smooth transition from the old to the new. Give your customers plenty of time to make the transition. Make the process easy.
Subway restaurants updated their incentive program a while ago and taught three great lessons:
- Communicate the Change – Whenever I went for a sandwich I saw signs on the door and at the checkout telling me the loyalty program was changing.
- Communicate the Date – There was a clear date when the old program would no longer be supported. I first noticed these signs months ahead of that actual date.
- Account for existing loyalty credits – A little chart showed how you could cash in your existing credits for discounts on purchases.
Proceed with Caution
When changing your customer loyalty program you are messing with your best customers. Don’t screw this up! You need to make sure they don’t get lost in the transition and that all their previous purchases are still credited with the new program. Give them plenty of time to make the switch.
If, from a customer’s perspective, your new program isn’t any better than the old one: stay where you are!
When you proceed with the changes, remember the loyal customers you are affecting every step of the way.