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Designing a Successful Customer Loyalty Program Like Starbucks, Kohl’s, Chick-fil-A in 2020


Want to improve your customer loyalty program? Then you’ve come to the right spot! Previously, we talked about how to create and design a customer loyalty app (and how to choose between two existing types of loyalty apps). But what if you want to add some bells and whistles to your loyalty-building strategy?


We’ll focus on three profitable companies that have long held the position of loyalty leaders. Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, and Kohl’s have taken some steps to develop successful loyalty programs by improving their customer service. 


In this article, we won’t overwhelm you with details of these powerful companies’ loyalty programs, such as how many points customers must earn in order to receive a particular reward. This information is widely available on the web. A better way than giving you such information is to acquaint you with the five things any company should do to create a customer loyalty program:


Listen to your customers.Provide personalized services and offers.Let customers control their digital rewards and purchases.Make customers feel engaged without feeling that their privacy is being invaded.Provide added value and exceed customers’ expectations.


Let’s see how you can achieve these business goals. 


1. Listen to your customers 


Listening to customers’ feedback informs your understanding of how to optimize your service. Starbucks launched My Starbucks Idea back in 2008. In that year alone, according to Waterloo, the company received more than 70,000 ideas from customers; by 2015, they had received over 190,000. 


The technology used by Starbucks for collecting and analyzing feedback has developed since 2008. Now, the company uses machine learning, which allows their system to make decisions based on customer feedback. 


This ensures a more personalized experience for users of the Starbucks mobile application: Starbucks gets ideas from customers and responds by making constant improvements to the app. 


Chick-fil-A has been collecting customer insights by means of two key sources: social media and surveys. Currently, the company has 1.1 million followers on Twitter, 1.5 million followers on Instagram, and over eight million followers on Facebook. A scroll through the Chick-fil-A Facebook page shows that the brand is responding to comments and taking customers’ feedback into account. 


Chick-fil-A also conducts focused online surveys. Their questions concentrate on all factors influencing fast-food loyalty, including speed and quality of service.


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2. Provide personalized offers

After you’ve gathered customer data, you’ll be able to provide a personalized approach to all of your customers. Why do that? According to a RedPoint Global survey, 63 percent of consumers expect personalization. These respondents also say they feel recognized by a brand as an individual when they receive personalized offers.

In the past two years, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, and Kohl’s have added personalization components to their apps.


Customization and special offers for members

Keep in mind that customers should be motivated to spend money on offers, which means those offers have to be relevant. But each person has their own tastes. How can you satisfy them? The answer is customization. 


Starbucks provides users with options such as a free drink on their birthday and personalized suggestions based on previous orders. If a customer often orders dairy-free drinks, for example, the system recognizes this preference and recommends dairy-free products. In addition, the Starbucks app enables users to save their favorite orders and recommends things to add to an order. 


The Chick-fil-A One app allows users to customize items and occasionally offers users their favorites for free. By tapping on a menu item in the app, you can see a list of special ingredients to add, from standard stuffing to less common extras that a cashier might forget to ask about. You can be creative and make your order look and taste exactly as you want. 


Chick-fil-A has also included a nice tool for those who have allergies or are on a diet. The Allergens filter shows you a menu that only includes ingredients you can eat. After you’ve eaten, you can add menu items to your favorites list. You can then customize future orders by dragging and dropping your favorites from the list. 


Location-tailored experience

Making your loyalty app location-aware will add more personalization to your loyalty tactic. Location functionality allows Starbucks customers to set a location to pick up their order. Moreover, they can find the nearest Starbucks and check the available amenities. 


Chick-fil-A One allows users to explore special offers and menu items recommended by local restaurants. The Kohl’s My Store feature helps customers purchase in the app and pick up items in the store of their choice.


3. Put customers in charge of their rewards, orders, and purchases


Providing customers with access to all their points and past purchases can help them track their spending and plan further orders. The ability to order and pay beforehand will save time when it comes to picking up orders. 

Dashboard with a rewards counter and history menu

Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, and Kohl’s ensure that none of your perks will be lost thanks to their clear and informative rewards dashboards. The Starbucks dashboard, for example, displays your star balance, rewards options, and number of points until your next reward/status upgrade. The Starbucks mobile app replaces all paper receipts, so you always have access to your past transactions (in the History menu) but don’t get slips of paper to toss in the trash. 

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