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CRM vs. loyalty programs - Part II

What comes first, the CRM or the loyalty program?
When card-carrying customers visit a restaurant, they swipe their card past the front of the wall-mountable 'kiosk', which also has a built-in color display. As soon as they identify themselves, the restaurant's Maitre D' gets a small print-out bearing the customer's main profile details, and the personal service experience can begin.

Membership in the program is by invitation only from each restaurant's management - a privilege for top customers. When entering the program, each customer provides detailed profile information, which the restaurant is then able to use for purposes just identified. The restaurant wants increased patronage frequency and referral from these customers, and program advertisers want the unique exposure and impressions offered by the kiosk, so having the program in place creates wins for the restaurant, advertiser, and customer.

The most important benefit that diners will notice is the personal recognition they receive during their visit, along with an accordingly higher level of service and attention. Each restaurant will determine its own level and types of loyalty reward, and the program is flexible enough to be able to operate based either on percentage discounts, or on the number of loyalty points built up in their account.

Each program member will have their own on-line account control center where they can examine records of their activities and rewards balance. Note: While the kiosk is not in use by a customer, it will display a rolling sequence of ten advertisements, each around one minute in length. The advertising messages, which will be controlled centrally from IFY's data center, are aiming to be relevant to the restaurant's clientele, and are expected to include: up-scale alcoholic drinks, cars, watches, and other high-end goods. At the back end of the system, IFY supplies a standard PC compatible computer to manage the local functions, such as updating the advertisements and software used by the kiosk, and printing out the customer detail slips.

Clearly, this is an advanced loyalty program for the restaurant industry. It doesn't necessarily require that a participating restaurant already have an effective relationship management system in place; however, with such a system up and functioning, programs like this can be offered with much greater ease and can generate higher return. The restaurant is in a far better position to capitalize on the value created for good customers if it can provide continuous communication and enhancements. That's where a good CRM system can really optimize a loyalty program's effectiveness.

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