Ideas and inspiration covering creative processes, collaboration and stand out campaigns from Finlay Hogg (aka Definitive Studio)

‘Appy’ Customers - A First Hand Loyalty Platform Experience

Customer’s expectations of products and services has never been more demanding than in the current market. Offered at a fair price, and using reliable platforms that are user friendly, is just the start of the process.

If the customer needs aren’t met, switching to another brand has never been easier!

It’s widely known that the cost of keeping existing customers is around ten times less than acquiring new ones - so it’s no surprise that many companies are investing heavily in customer retention initiatives.

You’ll no doubt have signed up to at least one or two of these. Just glance at your phone; I alone have the Vitality, Tastecard and Meerkat Movies icons scattered across my screen. I’m sure I’ve signed up to a few more that i’ve forgotten about - which is often the case unless the content keeps you engaged.

It got me thinking about a recent trip to Gourmet Burger kitchen. One of their employees asked me if I'd like to download the ‘GBK app’ while ordering. I was about to brush it off, as you do when something feels like extra hassle, when they said I could get one of the burgers I was about to order for free. Now this to me seemed like a fair exchange - my details for a saving of just over £12. The member of staff was friendly and I felt like they were doing me a favour, so I quickly downloaded the app and got my offer.

My whole experience from ordering to having the meal was exactly what I expected, plus it felt good that I’d saved money.

When I got home I explored the app and found I had already earned a free side order with my next meal. There was a point system in place which had already rewarded me with a stamp for spending over £7 on my last visit.

There were also some ‘geolocation challenges’ and ‘refer a friend’ which unlocked some big discounts. The next layer of functionality was designed to enhance the customer journey with a ‘find a location’, ‘order for collection’ and ‘order from your table’ which felt like a nice feature, as you order at the till in these restaurants.

The interface was on brand, easy to use and I had already been rewarded for doing very little. It was safe to say, the GBK app made the cut and was going to be allowed to take up valuable space on my phone.

The great thing about this journey, is it started with a human interaction. The staff member I spoke to had been well briefed and this was a vital step in the brand tool finding its way onto my phone. ‘Download the app’ was well signposted in-store, as it is online, but there are so many adverts like this, that, without the human interaction, I would simply have ignored it.

The GBK app is a great example of a retention platform which provides valuable offers and discounts on existing products. It’s easy to use interface provides some fun functionality but crucially, it doesn’t get in the way of it’s primary function.

Having a quality app or responsive website at the heart of a loyalty programme is vital for customers to quickly access relevant offers, at the right time, and in a clear and focused way.

However, they’re only part of a successful programme.

Since signing up to the GBK app, I’ve not heard anything from them. There’s been no follow up emails to let me know what amazing offers there are, or a reminder about my free side waiting to be claimed. This could be because there is no contact strategy in place, or it could be a conscious decision. After all, pushing freebies and discounts doesn't feel all that exciting or personalised.

The key to making these loyalty programmes work is to deliver consistent and timely content through every interaction. So while the GBK app has clearly had significant investment, the lack of regular communication puts this app in danger of falling into the same category as those one’s i’ve already forgotten about.

It would be great to see GBK partner with complementary brands to provide fresh offers and experiences based on my likes and interests. Or develop relationships with brands in close proximity to their restaurants to give people things to do after their meal - like the cinema, bowling or karaoke.

Creating tailored and relevant experiences that feel more personalised than mass offers and discounts, is much more likely to make a customer feel valued. By creating and then building on this emotional attachment, a deeper level of brand loyalty will be achieved, inspiring the customer to use the service again.

Finlay Hogg