The Customer Loyalty Lifecycle: What You Need to Know

By: Melissa Canellis


While we have 2020 in the rearview mirror, the new normal is here to stay and with it many remaining challenges for brands. As so many guests pivoted to digital channels for contactless ordering, payment, and pick up, restaurants have had to shift their focus from traditional marketing communications to new ways of connecting with their audiences. 

It’s no longer enough to send a mass email or text message. Consumers expect a brand to earn their trust by knowing who they are and what they want and tailoring online ordering, offers, and marketing communications to suit their personal preferences and buying histories.

To help brands learn how to deliver on customers’ new expectations, we recently held an interactive webinar with industry leaders from Bloomberg LP, Global Franchise Group, El Pollo Loco & Punchh. Watch on-demand now.

What are customer expectations in 2021?

After almost a year of dealing with pandemic conditions, consumers are prioritizing convenience and safety for on-premise and off-premise restaurant operations. Now, more than ever, they’re also looking for brands to deliver personalized experiences that provide even greater value. And they want the experiences to be consistent, whether they’re in-store or online. 

Where should brands place their focus?

Overall, to deliver on these expectations, brands need to create customer-centric experiences that build loyalty. Initially, brands need to identify a consumer who is making a purchase in-person or online. This is very important yet hard for brands to do. They need to know (in real-time) who is going through the drive-thru, getting curbside pick-up, or coming into the restaurant. Then, brands need to understand that customer’s purchasing behaviors and preferences. This requires integration with all the touchpoints in-store, including POS, payment processors, kiosks, WiFi providers, etc., as well as all digital channels. With those integrations, a brand has real-time connections that generate actionable data on the customer.

With actionable data, brands can focus on retention. Brands must look at the retention math to believe in the power of loyalty. Check out these powerful stats: 

  • The Pareto Principle shows 80% of your profits come from just 20% of customers
  • In most B2C companies,15-35% of consumers drive 45-65% of its revenue.
  • Increasing customer retention by just 5% boosts profits by 25% to 95%.

How do brands deliver the new customer experience?

Loyalty is the key to keeping customers front and center instead of focusing on transactions. To evolve loyalty beyond a static program, restaurants must define where a customer is on their brand journey and how they’re going to market specifically to that customer. However, many marketers remain challenged to define customer loyalty beyond mere transactions.

The key is to create a loyalty solution alongside transaction-based software like POS systems, payment providers, and even mobile ordering. Brands then have the flexibility to meet today’s consumers’ expectations for safety, value, and personalized experiences across all channels — earning transaction volume as a result.

What is customer lifecycle loyalty?

Customer lifecycle loyalty is the key to building rewarding relationships with guests as they move along on the journey from anonymous buyers to loyal superfans. To address their varying needs, marketers need to deliver dynamic offers and marketing campaigns that drive omnichannel engagement across the lifecycle.  

Customer lifecycle loyalty helps restaurants do just that. As you encounter anonymous buyers who are starting their initial journey with your brand, you need a platform that collects data at every consumer touchpoint to provide identity resolution and behavioral preferences. As customers travel through the loyalty lifecycle, you’ll travel with them–with the kind of personalized marketing messaging and tailored engagement that converts them to repeat buyers and, eventually, valuable brand loyalists. 

Through a data-driven approach, customers are nurtured and receive personalized communications and experiences that make them feel more important than simply being targeted via a mass campaign that doesn’t speak to their specific wants, desires, or pain points. Marketers build value into their brand through personalization that enhances a customer’s perception and increases their engagement.

Why customer lifecycle loyalty is important for successful omnichannel engagement

Lastly, because consumers have made the move into the digital space for mobile ordering, contactless payment and pickup/delivery, they’re expecting consistent omnichannel interactions with their brands. 

Outdated technology that makes an in-person or online experience frustrating for customers may stall the engagement process. Marketers need the right customer data management and analytic tools to connect with guests over their preferred channels to deliver a digital loyalty program that creates meaningful omnichannel touchpoints throughout their journeys.

An integrated loyalty platform helps marketers fit data together in real-time to create individual customer profiles that “show” how and when to engage customers. Additionally, it signals to the marketer the right personalized offer and experience that will likely impact a customer’s perception of the brand, drive sales and increase lifetime value. 

The Punchh Loyalty, Offers & Engagement Platform provides brands a scalable solution to create personalized incentives executed through automated marketing campaigns and delivered over customers’ preferred channels at the right time. Learn more about our Platform today.  


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