What Can Tank a Loyalty Program? 10 Things to Avoid Just That…

What Can Tank a Loyalty Program? 10 Things to Avoid Just That...

Did you know the most important aspect of a successful loyalty program isn’t the rewards you give away? While deals, discounts and providing the right offers is crucial, the determining factor in the success or failure of your loyalty program is your staff.

Your employees are your loyalty program’s biggest promoters, troubleshooters, and driving forces. They’re responsible for signing up and checking in members, redeeming rewards, and personalizing the customer experience. Your employees also the first ones to notice an issue, receive questions, objections, and feedback about your program or promotions. Have you really prepared them?

Here are 10 things you need to do to fully educate your staff, and avoid a potential loyalty program tank:

1. Train employees on your loyalty program’s rewards structure 

Whether customers earn one point for every dollar, or every visit, your employees need to know the ins and outs of what rewards customers can earn and how to earn them. Print your reward structure and tiers, and post them somewhere employees at the register can easily access for reference.

If you make changes to your reward structure (which you should always test), keep your employees in-the-know.

Download our free retail customer loyalty success guide to learn how to drive customers back 2x more.

2. Teach staff about messaging, auto rewards and/or promotions

If you’re using automated rewards based on visitor behavior, make sure your employees know how the automation works, and what those additional rewards include.

Are you also sending promotions? Keep employees up-to-date on what your promotions say, and when they’re being sent. Your staff shouldn’t ever be confused when a customer comes in to redeem a reward or offer.

Are promotions or auto rewards being sent via email, text message, or mobile app push notification? Verse your staff on the kinds of messages customers receive, and how they can collect additional customer information to increase your reach.

3. Fully verse employees on using the app, software or tablet properly

Ensure employees know how to sign up customers, how to look up a customer in the system, and how to redeem a customer’s rewards. If your employees need to manually give customer points, or redeem rewards in your POS and loyalty system, make sure they know it isn’t automatic.

Some programs allow customers to type in their contact info on a touchscreen, and others require your employees to input the customer’s information. Whichever way makes the signup process easiest for your business, ensure that every current and new employee knows how to operate the program.

4. Give staff troubleshooting tips and customer support information

Is your loyalty program dependent on Wifi? Make sure your employees know this, and who to contact, or how to fix it if the Internet goes does.

If for any reason your program’s tablet or software isn’t working, make sure employees have your loyalty program’s customer support phone number on hand. Encourage them to call as soon as an issue arises; if your program is down, you can’t sign up new customers.

5. Create staff signup goals

Your business should have a goal to achieve a certain number of signups every day, week and/or month. We tell small businesses to thrive for at least 5 sign ups a day.

You may be checking your loyalty program statistics, or updates on your dashboard, but does your staff have access, or any idea how close or far away you are from your signup goal? Keep them informed often so they can help achieve that goal.

6. Put together a game plan for busy times

Adding new members to your program is a priority, and there are goals to hit, but what happens when your business is slammed? Is it cool for employees to bypass signups to move a line of customers along? Or do you want every customer to be asked, no matter what? Make sure you communicate these rules or game plans with your staff so they know exactly what to do and when.

7. Write, practice and implement signup “scripts” or pitches

To entice signups, give your employees a variety of pitches or “scripts” to use. In your scripts, have employees lead with an intriguing question, like, “Do you have any rewards to redeem today?” and highlight the rewards and benefits of the program.

Here are some effective employee script examples depending on your sign up incentives:

If you offer an immediate incentive for signing up

  • Employee: “Want a free soft drink with your purchase today?”
  • Customer: “That would be great.”
  • Employee: “Just enter your phone number on the keypad to join our reward program, and you’ll get your free soft drink today. Plus you’ll get a free appetizer for every $30 you spend, and other deals.”
  • Customer: “Awesome!”

If you offer new members an incentive on their next visit:

  • Employee: “Want a free soft drink the next time you visit?”
  • Customer: “That would be great.”
  • Employee: “Just enter your phone number on the keypad to join our reward program, and you’ll also earn a free appetizer for every $30 you spend.”
  • Customer: “Awesome!”

If you don’t offer a signup incentive: 
We highly recommend offering some sort of signup incentive, whether it’s immediate or on a customer’s next visit. Signup incentives encourage and excite customers to join, plus it proves you’re true to your word. If you choose not to go with an initial incentive, there’s still a script for you!

  • Employee: “Want a free soft drink after spending $15?”
  • Customer: “That would be great.”
  • Employee: “Just enter your phone number on the keypad. You’ll also earn a free appetizer for every $30 you spend.”
  • Customer: “Awesome!”

8. Role play signup objections with employees

In addition to suiting up your employees up with a variety of top-notch pitches, give them the tools to combat a signup objection. Put together a list of common objections and responses, and role play these with your staff. Here are some examples:

  • “Why do you need my phone number?” Your phone number is just your member ID. It’s easy to remember and look up, and it means you don’t need carry around a card. We promise it won’t be used for anything else, or given to anyone!
  • “Are you going to spam me?” We let you know when you have rewards available and when we have seasonal promotions, but you can opt out anytime.
  • “No thanks, I’m not interested.” It’s completely free – Are you sure you don’t want a free soft drink just for signing up?
  • “I don’t need another rewards card.” You don’t have to carry a card since it’s based on your phone number. You can also use your same account at tons of other businesses. (This is Fivestars-specific, but you can adjust based on your loyalty program.)

9. Type up and provide answers to frequently asked questions

What happens if a member doesn’t have his or her card on hand? Can a customer change his/her phone number? Can a customer save a reward to redeem next time? What happens if a customer forgets to check in? Put together a list of frequently asked questions and answers, and keep these accessible for employees to look up near the register.

10. Motivate, entice, and encourage employees

The more members you have in your loyalty program, the more repeat business you can drive back. This is why consistently signing up customers is crucial. But because this is reliant on your staff, you also want to make sure the process is fun for them. Encourage and motivate staff with your own rewards and incentives. Have employees keep signup tallies during their shifts, make a game of it, recognize and celebrate signup goal wins, dedicate “rally hours” where employees try to double down on signups and hand out prizes, and most importantly, let your staff know how important they are to your business’s success.

With these 10 employee training tips, your loyalty program should succeed swimmingly. Now that you know what your employees need, do you know what your customers really want out of a loyalty program? Find out here.

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