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How to build a customer loyalty program

Jen A. Miller | March 26, 2014
Boston-based restaurant chain b.good started its customer loyalty program with email 12 years ago because, well, it couldn't afford much else. As the chain has grown, so has its rewards program, which now has 53,000 'Family' members using keycards and smartphone apps to connect with b.good.

Harnessing data about those promotions, and who are a company's best customers, is an important part of promoting a brand, says Wardley. "Creating a good customer experience for everyone is meaningful - but within that customer base, your best customers turn into your advocates."

B.good hired CaptureCode to build from scratch a system to do two things: See who was buying what, and when, and help b.good employees interact with customers on a personal level.

The answer was a keycard. When customers scan their keycards, several bits of information appear: First and last name, number of visits, promotions available to use (if any) and a "fun fact," which can be anything from a peanut allergy to the name of their dog. That information is flashed to the cashier, but it's also printed on the customer's order ticket so anyone handling that food can see it.

Aside from letting employees know about customers' food allergies, it also helps owners understand their key customers. This lets them target promotions and giveaways to those customers, rather than set a wide range and hope to hit them by accident.

"We wanted to be able to send gifts to people in a way that was personal," Olinto says. The system is so specific, Olinto adds, that he can go in and personally "gift" someone a food item after having a conversation right in a store.

'Family' App Lets b.good Customers See Gifts, Pay for Food Fast

Not wanting to discriminate against customers who don't have a smartphone, b.good started its Family program with a key card. Two months ago, it launched the b.good Family app for both iOS and Android platforms.

The app does a few things. First, it performs the same functions as the keycard. Second, it makes getting and sharing gifts much easier. Not only can a customer use a coupon for a free gift right from the app, but he or she can also gift it to another person - and even change the name on the promotion while doing so.

B.good also started a program that lets customers "gift" the food to charity. Right now, those donations go to an elementary school in Boston, but Olinto hopes to expand the program so donations go to organizations more relevant to where customers are located.

Third, customers can pay for their food through their b.good Family app. The first time a customer uses the app and pays with a credit card, the cashier can add the credit card information into the app, allowing the customer to pay that way next time. (This functionality isn't available on the keycard).

Of course, customers can still use keycards. When they sign up in store or at events outside the restaurant, those keycards are activated through iPhones or iPads.


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