4 ways Nudge can boost your customer loyalty program

4 ways Nudge can boost your customer loyalty program

I love customer loyalty programs. They’re in my blood. Before I co-founded Nudge, I worked with Loyalty One to develop a new line of business for Air Miles; years before that I was a frontline associate myself, responsible for creating that meaningful customer experience and building customer loyalty. 

And so I saw first-hand how effective incentive and loyalty programs can be. After all, customer loyalty programs are a no-brainer for many retail, hospitality, and foodservice organizations looking to tap into the benefits of customer and guest loyalty. Whether you’re offering up rewards, special deals, or a sense of status, loyalty programs are a fantastic way to increase revenue and return customers. In fact, one recent study on loyalty programs found that 70% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand with a good loyalty program, and 77% say that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with brands. 

There’s an additional benefit to organizations that implement a customer loyalty program: data. Using a program to monitor guest or consumer habits means organizations can make personalized offerings and fine-tune the customer experience like never before. And customers are on board; the same study found that 87% of loyalty program members want their behavior monitored in order to receive personalized engagement.

But here’s the thing: as effective as customer loyalty programs can be, I know from experience how inconsistent the in-store execution of these programs can be. Without a way to engage with your entire workforce, there’s no way to fine-tune how everyone is talking about the program – and identify what tactics work the best for boosting the program company-wide. 

That’s why it’s so exciting to me when I can show organizations how Nudge can take their customer and guest loyalty programs to exciting new places. When you have a direct line of communication with your workforce, you can drive activation and adoption to the next level. 

Here are four ways Nudge can boost your loyalty program:

1. Nudge gives your team the loyalty program info they need

Boosting customer loyalty programs with NudgeWhen it comes to getting customers and guests to join and interact with a loyalty program, it’s so much more than a sign at checkout.

Your employees need to live and breathe your loyalty program; they need to know it inside and out. If your team doesn’t know how to talk about the program, if they don’t know how to sign people up, if they don’t know what offers are most enticing to what customers, you’ve lost out on an incredibly valuable opportunity to improve conversion and gain a loyal customer.

But it can be a challenge to share information across an organization – how do you ensure all your frontline employees are all getting the same information that will empower them to really sell your program? How do you find that tactical consistency that’s going to scale up sign-ups and activation?

The answer, of course, is Nudge. With our digital communication platform, it’s easy to disseminate information to your entire workforce by leveraging their favourite device: their phones.

With Nudge, core information about your loyalty program can be kept in a central communication hub, and bite-sized targeted communications will keep your team in-the-know about program details, updates, and more. You can even use knowledge quizzes and surveys to make sure everyone has the info they need to sell your program. 

2. Nudge keeps loyalty program initiatives top-of-mind

Whether you’re enticing sign-ups or boosting participation, incentives and initiatives are a crucial component of any loyalty program. But for these initiatives to really take off, you need full buy-in from your employees.

It’s never been more important for your employees to be well-informed. Today, many loyalty programs are often paired with a rewards app to seamlessly bridge the gap between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores. Armed with this new technology, your guests and customers are coming into your business extremely well-informed about the program’s initiatives and incentives. And your employees need to be more informed. 

Imagine you’re a guest at a hotel. Your app has educated you about some extra rewards the loyalty program is offering to elite members this month. You walk into the hotel, and the first associate you encounter not only doesn’t recognize you as an elite member – they don’t even know what rewards you’re talking about. Suddenly, the experience is broken. This interaction damages the guest’s impression of the brand experience, and might impact their choice to return – even as a current loyalty program member. 

With Nudge, this disconnect doesn’t happen. You’re sharing crucial intel to your workforce in real time – but you’re also monitoring knowledge retention and engagement through our analytics to ensure that every employee at every location is armed with up-to-date knowledge about the program’s happenings. 

3. Nudge celebrates your program champions

Boosting customer loyalty programs through points with NudgeWhat’s the best part of any loyalty program? The points! That gamification of loyalty is what truly drives customers to desired behaviors. 

Guess what: the same is true of employee performance. Nudge leverages a gamified, points-based approach to communication that keeps employees engaged and using our app, every single day. Additional recognition points and pins provide motivation for your workforce, highlighting specific contributions, lifetime achievements, and other milestones. In other words: use our points program to get your employees to sell your points program.

There’s an additional benefit beyond that intrinsic motivation: Nudge’s gamified system helps organizations to identify the top-performing locations and individual employees that are really promoting your loyalty program. You can reward teams that deserve recognition – and also tap into those best practices that are bringing your program to life. More on that below…

4. Nudge identifies great ideas for boosting your loyalty program – and scales them

Ah, that incredible team that just seems to have a knack for signing customers up. That employee that always knows how to make elite guests feel special. Once you’ve identified those star performers, how do you tap into that magic, and scale it at an organizational level? What are they saying to guests? What three words seem to resonate with customers? When in the transaction are they bringing up the program? What rewards have guests really excited this month? What, in short, is working? 

With Nudge’s communication platform, great ideas don’t get lost. Top performers are identified and recognized – but you can also go that step further to tap into what it is they’re doing right. Topic-based forums and upward feedback channels let you crowdsource ideas and best practices from top-performing locations, and share them across the organization organically. 

Customer loyalty programs have a magical ability to make your customers feel like they have a unique and personal relationship with your brand. The lifetime value of that loyalty member is infinitely valuable. But to really tap into the power of your loyalty program, you have to first empower your employees with the knowledge and support they need to really shine. Nudge makes that happen. 

The secret to customer loyalty in fast casual? Your frontline staff

The secret to customer loyalty in fast casual? Your frontline staff

In food service, one of the categories to watch in recent years has been the fast casual chain. In fact, it’s actually been called the biggest food trend of the past decade by The Washington Post. As fast casual brands capture a growing share of the restaurant market, there’s a different kind of battle for customer loyalty taking place. The key to success for many fast casual chains as the Post points out has been the ability to put the diner in charge, with quality, customization and customer experience, all built into the business model.

The magic number in customer loyalty: 4 visits

Fast Casual declares four visits to be the “magic number” for sustained customer loyalty in this fast-growing segment. Attracting new customers is, of course, a key area of focus for chains establishing a foothold, but industry stats also reveal the following:

  • After the first customer visit, there’s a 50-50 chance they’ll return
  • Once a customer has visited twice, there’s a 70% chance of return
  • After a fourth visit, the repeat visit percentage jumps to 85%

The key driver in customer loyalty: your frontline staff

How can fast casual brands elevate customer experience during these critical first-to-fourth visit interactions? At Nudge, we believe strongly in empowering associates to bring the brand experience to life and driving customer loyalty. As fast casual offerings become more diversified and consumer expectations increasingly favor convenience, speed, and experience, the frontline associates are a key driver of these factors and will help determine whether or not first time customers will return for a second visit, let alone fourth.

Frontline staff who are engaged and inspired to deliver on the experience today’s “fast casual foodies” are seeking can be a strong differentiator in a highly competitive category. The foodservice brands who lead the pack understand the value of reaching and effectively communicating with their associates, empowering them to keep pace with evolving menu offerings, limited time offers, and drivers of consistent customer experience.

Foodservice safety: Five best practices for sustained knowledge retention

Foodservice safety: Five best practices for sustained knowledge retention

It’s fair to say that the foodservice industry has covered its bases when it comes to employee safety. Almost all businesses must be registered and are required to have some level of health, safety, and compliance program, usually a part of their new hire onboarding materials. These formal programs help employees identify hazards in the workplace, eliminate the potential for injuries and illness, and help limit financial losses from injured employees. From an employee standpoint, non-slip shoes have become a basic uniform requirement, safety orientations and quizzes must be completed before employees can start service, and pledges of safety are even included in most companies’ mission statements.

But let’s be real, workplace safety isn’t the most riveting topic for employees. Workplace safety might be covered off during the first three months of onboarding, but how can you tell if that information is being retained long after onboarding is completed? And in a cafe full of demanding tables, long lines, and countless promotions to remember, it’s easy to give that safety quiz a raincheck. In this post, we break down some of the most common mistakes foodservice companies are making and how our mobile solution can give your employees an advantage when it comes to retaining and drawing on that critical knowledge.

Safety isn’t the same across all roles

Generalizing workplace safety is the perfect recipe for an unprepared employee. Safety means something different for front of house employees than it does for back of house employees. A cashier is likely to be a master at keeping the cafe spotless, while a chef is a master at proper food storage. With multiple roles and responsibilities, employees become a safety expert of their own station and forget the safety standards (and potential hazards) of other workplace areas.

The solution? Targeted Nudges

Targeted Nudges are a great way to broaden employees’ existing knowledge base. A quick digestible Nudge around back of house safety best practice can go a long way for a front of house employee who finds themselves in an unsafe situation.

Your guests should feel safe, too

Guests can hear, taste and smell when the cafe’s standards are lacking. Driving a culture of safety is not only important for your associates, but for your guests as well. Often times, employees are prepared to keep their workplace safe but forget about the guest’s safety. An excellent safety culture equals great customer service, but creating a culture of safety is tricky.

The solution? Learn from your top performers.

Use Spark to understand which locations have a reputable safety culture in your organization. Gather the best tips and tricks from them and circulate to locations that perhaps need a safety culture boost.

Accidents don’t always happen in the backroom

Backroom bulletin boards can get crowded with marketing materials and schedules which means important safety numbers or corporate hotlines for emergencies can get lost. An employee can find themselves in an unsafe predicament, and without those numbers memorized they might feel helpless.

The solution? A Safety Buzz List.

Buzz lists are helpful for keeping important information top of mind. Use Buzz to host critical safety phone numbers so employees have them at their fingertips, no matter what comes their way.

Speaking up is hard

Managers have a lot on their plate and historically, it’s been their job to intervene when they see an employee behaving unsafe, leaving their staff disempowered to speak up when they see similar behavior. But when a Manager isn’t around and employees feel as though they can’t speak up, how can companies maintain a thriving culture of safety?

The solution? Empower employees with peer learning

Hand over the mic to employees and ask them how they would handle an unsafe workplace situation. Asking for their feedback through Spark proves you value their ideas, which ultimately builds up a strong safety culture.

It’s difficult for Managers to understand safety ROI

More often than not, Managers are prioritizing bundling initiatives or seasonal marketing promotions over fostering a culture of safety with their staff. The safety ROI is a bit more complex than the up-sell of a meal. And while keeping up with these initiatives is just as important, safety best practices can be overlooked and forgotten.

The solution? Sprinkle safety Nudges in your Nudge campaign.

Take some of the burdens off your Managers by sprinkling in safety Nudges during your next campaign. One safety Nudge a week as a simple reminder can go a long way, while also offloading some of the pressures Managers may feel when it comes to communicating safety.

This post is by Julia from our Customer Success team. Julia works with some of our largest foodservice clients and helps design employee programs that reinforce the most important company goals, while inspiring and engaging associates to deliver on the brand promise.

Nando’s staff: The key ingredient in a successful marketing strategy

Nando’s staff: The key ingredient in a successful marketing strategy

With 50 restaurants soon to be open across the country, Nando’s has gained respect and popularity amongst Canadian restaurant-goers. Globally, they have over 1,200 restaurants and an employee base of 45,000 people who are proud to be part of the Nando’s family. Nando’s was hatched in South Africa in 1987 and is changing the way the world thinks about chicken. Their restaurants can be found in cities such as London, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Cape Town, Sydney, and Toronto. In 1994, Nando’s opened its first Canadian restaurant, which is located in Richmond, BC.

We sat down with Krista McLay, Manager of Brand Communications Strategy at Nando’s Canada, to talk about marketing strategy, what makes campaigns successful, and the keys to engaging restaurant staff in activating those campaigns. We quickly discovered that their saying, “behind most things at Nando’s is an extraordinary story”, holds true – especially in terms of their approach to the employee experience and building a family-friendly culture. From the names of their restaurants (‘Casas’) and staff (‘Nandocas’) to the Nando’s guest journey, storytelling is a key component to Nando’s brand and global success.

To view the full interview, listen to the podcast below or read on!


People as a marketing strategy

If you’ve ever been to a Nando’s, you’d know PERi-PERi is at the heart and soul of their brand. However, it’s clear there is another ingredient in their secret recipe of success: their people. “We believe that the frontline – our Nandocas – are the most important people in our business. They are the ones who talk to guests as they walk in the door and determine if those guests will have a really great experience or not” said McLay.

While entertainment, design, and amenities are elements that may pull new guests into their restaurants, it’s the exceptional food and service that keep them coming back for more. Nando’s restaurant staff, from managers, to grillers and cashiers, are truly part of their brand identity. As McLay described it, “If you’ve worked at Nando’s and have been a Nandoca before, you’ll be a Nandoca for life. All of our employees are considered part of the global family.”

Of course, this type of workplace culture was designed with the guest experience in mind. When Nandocas come into work, they’re expected to treat the restaurant like their own home, hence the name ‘Casa’. As McLay explained, staff are encouraged to “make sure the food is cooked perfectly every time, like you would if you had a family member at your house”. The same goes for keeping the restaurant clean. Nandocas keep restaurants in tip-top shape like they would if they were hosting a party or get together.

There is a learning curve to creating this consistent guest experience and helping guests understand how to ‘do Nando’s’ properly. Nando’s has a unique fast-casual dining experience, which entails ordering at the counter and being served at the table. “Our first-time guests need more guidance, so we have certain steps that we train our Nandocas to walk them through”, said McLay. Every time a guest walks in the door, a staff member will ask if it’s their first time at Nando’s. If so, the guest will be guided through the Nando’s guest journey, which includes everything from how to place your order or encouraging them to eat with their hands. “Once you know how to ‘do Nando’s’, it’s an amazing experience. You don’t have to wait for a server – you can get up and leave when you’re done. You can eat as much sauce as you’d like. If you want something else, you can just get up and get it!”, adds McLay.


Successful campaigns rely on the frontline

While Nando’s has cracked the code on ensuring brand consistency, launching campaigns across their entire workforce is one activity that is a constant challenge. When it comes to a new campaign, effectively communicating with employees to ensure they’re educated and excited about the matter at hand can challenging. As McLay explained, “We’re in the people business. It’s always going to be a challenge to effectively communicate unless you are able to sit down with every single person, explain what we’re doing and what that means for them.”

Despite having a large, fragmented workforce, having face-to-face conversations with all team members is exactly what Nando’s tries to do. When rolling out new campaigns, McLay noted: “bringing everyone together and getting them excited about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it is really important. Doing this and allowing them to ask any questions before launching a campaign gives us the opportunity to succeed.” Nando’s continues this approach while campaigns are in-market, too. In discussing the importance of collecting feedback and acting on it, McLay added that “Nandocas are the ones in the field. They’re the ones seeing things in action and can share what is working well. Taking those learnings and sharing them with the entire team is important for us.”


Engaging the frontline: A continuous improvement process

While Nando’s takes a people-first approach to executing on their marketing campaigns, it’s the touchpoints between face-time and phone calls that can get lost. “Sometimes you write this beautiful training manual, send it out, and it just doesn’t get picked up. These things can end up falling to the wayside within the busy environment of a restaurant.” Regardless of whether you are about launch a new campaign or need to get out day-to-day operational information, effectively communicating to your entire employee base is hard. “[At Nando’s] we’re always learning. I don’t think we, or anyone in the industry, has the answer to the perfect way to communicate and engage with their team members,” observed McLay.

The key to the communication and performance gap facing foodservice brands may be found in leveraging technology. In discussing how to close these gaps and ensuring every team member stays updated, McLay noted that “communicating to staff in a way they wanted to be spoken to” could help improve their strategy, and ultimately execution on marketing initiatives. Implementing up-to-date technology, such as a mobile-first app or portal, is the next step for Nando’s. “It’s amazing how we embrace technology in so many ways in our personal lives – but internally, in the restaurant industry, we’ve been slow to adopt,” said McLay.

For Nando’s, leading a customer-centric organization starts and ends with engaging their frontline employees. McLay reiterated that Nando’s will always take a people-first approach, which includes designing marketing campaigns centered around staff participation and engagement with all levels of the organization. “Nobody wants to be just a transaction” she added.

Frontline staff play an integral role at Nando’s, from activating marketing campaigns to living the brand promise every day, providing valuable feedback, or simply engaging with guests in a meaningful way. As McLay summed it up, “If you have a really engaged team that believes in what you’re doing and what you’re trying to create, then you will definitely see that message flow through your organization – from headquarters to hourly staff.”

How Freshii has built a healthy brand in a high-growth environment

How Freshii has built a healthy brand in a high-growth environment

Freshii, a Canadian-based ‘health casual’ restaurant chain, was founded in 2005 with the simple mission of making it convenient for people to eat healthy food. Today, they’re bringing that mission to life across the globe, with over 300 locations in over 20 countries.

We had a chance to speak with Melissa Gallagher, their VP of Marketing, about how they have built a consistent brand and guest experience while going through explosive growth. How quickly have they grown? To put it in perspective, Freshii opened their first 200 restaurants faster than global brands like McDonald’s, Subway, and Domino’s – and they plan on continuing that momentum.

When we asked Gallagher the secret to their success, her answer was clear: “we’re executing faster than anyone. At Freshii we launch fast, we fail fast, then we iterate faster. I think that’s really important to the success of any high growth brand,” she added.

To view the full interview, listen to the podcast below or read on!


Establishing a brand full of energy

Since being founded, Freshii has grown from being a go-to spot for quick, healthy meals, to a truly wholesome health and wellness brand – extending far beyond the physical restaurant. Their brand has been built on serving fresh ingredients, offering great service, and helping guests build towards a healthier lifestyle. They’ve even taken to nutritionists, rather than chefs, to develop their menu offering around the world. “Rather than working with in-house chefs to develop menu items, our in-house nutritionist scours the globe to find health and wellness trends that we can bring to the market quickly and at an affordable price,” explained Gallagher.

In order to grow its offering and keep in line with consumer tastes and preferences, Freshii constantly works on staying on top of emerging health and wellness trends. As Gallagher put it, “We consider ourselves the Zara of the health casual restaurant industry. We’re able to take a trend and bring it to the market quite quickly, versus some of the other large players.” By offering bold, diverse, and customizable meals – from a Teriyaki Twist bowl to Spicy Lemongrass soup – they’ve been able to continuously entice and excite their customer base.

As Gallagher reflected on how they’ve built their brand, she noted that “We’re always inspired by the way in which our product resonates all over the globe.” Part of that success, she added, can be attributed to the passion of their employee base. ”We’ve got team members who started as frontline workers, who are now multi-unit owners of some of the highest volume locations in North America.”


Growing a strong franchise network

One of the keys to Freshii’s success has been building on their brand values and identity with the direct involvement of key stakeholders, such as guests, employees, and franchise partners. As they’ve grown their franchise network, they’ve made an effort to scale with like-minded individuals who are energized by their brand. As Gallagher put it, “a lot of people join the Freshii brand out of passion – for health and wellness, and for entrepreneurship.”

They’re really taking a fresh look at building franchise networksseeking out motivated entrepreneurs who will take ownership and pride of their restaurants. “We’re inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit, so being able to award citizens to help bring our mission to their regions has been something that’s driven our passion and helped us scale so quickly,” Gallagher added.

While some restaurant brands provide a lot of flexibility to their franchise partners in customizing the product and marketing strategy, Freshii is taking a more focused approach. As Gallagher explained, they focus on getting feedback from all internal stakeholders on the brand, their values, and menu items, then work hard at headquarters to produce products and campaigns that really resonate with their customer base.

By centralizing marketing and product development in-office, Freshii has been able to keep a truly consistent brand during its rapid growth. The key element they look for in franchise partners is a dedication to operational excellence and a passion for service. “We look for strong operations within our franchise partners, and then provide them with all of the resources they need to market and bring the brand to life within their region,” said Gallagher.


Working out future growth

While maintaining focus on brand consistency, building a solid franchise network and engaging employees will be critical to the future success of Freshii, Gallagher acknowledges the importance of ongoing innovation: “From my past experiences, I learned not to spend too long celebrating successes and to constantly look for ways to innovate and iterate.”

What’s next? Over the next couple of years, the company’s goal is to expand to 800 locations. Fulfilling their core brand mission also means looking at new ways to make healthy food more convenient, including making Freshii meals available on airline menus. As Gallagher concluded, “5 years ago, we were a salad chain bringing health and wellness to our guests in many different waysbut even a year ago we wouldn’t have imagined we’d be serving avocados in the air.”

Next up, avocados on the moon? Only time will tell.

3 things millennials want in the workplace

3 things millennials want in the workplace

Millennials are a hot topic right now. Why? Well, they’re now the largest generation in the workforce, making up one-third of employees, and are shaping the future of the workplace. They’re tech-savvy, innovative, and have ambitions and desires that some businesses may not be used to. When choosing their next role, millennials are looking for a few things in the workplace, and no, it’s not an office ping-pong table.


1. Purpose

women with hands up

Millennials crave purpose. They want to know their self-purposehow do I fit into this role? Is my work being noticed? How can I grow my career here? And they also desire a sense of purpose within the company – what is this company doing for the world? Are we really making a difference?

At most companies, senior-level management plays the role of the “decision-maker” while the lower level employees are responsible for making magic happen by executing on those decisions, but millennials crave a bit more than that. They want to do more than meet basic requirements and need to understand what impact they have on the business. Feeling significant and knowing their value at a company is imperative.

So, how can you help millennials feel that sense of purpose that they’re looking for? The best thing you can do is to be transparent. If millennials know their company’s mission and the impact that the business has on customers, they will show an incredible amount of passion and talent towards your business.

Truly invest time into understanding what your employees want out of their job. 80% of millennials said they would like to receive feedback in real-time and have more frequent check-ins to keep a pulse on their progress. If you can create shared value and a defined sense of purpose, millennials will stick around, because that’s something that truly matters to them.

2. Flexible schedules

birds eye view of women on laptopForget the 9 to 5millennials just aren’t interested. We’ve said it before, non-desk working is on the rise and millennials want the choice to work flexible hours, with the option of working from home.

Today, technology dominates millennials’ lives. Almost everything can happen with the click of a button – they can order food, taxis, and clothes, do their banking, speak with people across the world, book vacations, all in mere moments. Millennials tend to see their job in a similar way and want more flexibility and balance when it comes to their workday.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that millennials are looking to work less, in fact, millennials are checking in on work while at home, commuting to work, or grabbing their morning coffee more than ever before. To a millennial, time does not equal money, they are just looking to work differently than traditionally expectedflex hours and even taking working vacations are becoming the norm. And, it turns out that most millennials would rather communicate electronically than face-to-face.

The reality is, our world is powered by technology and it’s really starting to shift the ways that we communicate in the workplace. Being flexible and adaptable to your employees’ schedules will make a big difference to them.

3. Open communication

2 cowokers meeting The days of cubicle desks and annual reviews are overmillennials crave open communication and want to receive real-time feedback. To a millennial, it’s important to be able to reach out to their fellow employees and superiors when needed, whether that’s face-to-face or online.

In fact, open communication isn’t just something that millennials want, but most of your workforce probably wants. Think of it as the “open door policy”your employees want to feel encouraged and comfortable enough to express themselves in an honest way, and they expect the same in return. Without recognition and some critical feedback, it’s really difficult to know how you’re doing or if what you’re doing is truly making an impact on the success of the business. If you can give millennials immediate and honest feedback, they’ll be more focused and motivated to achieve great results.

So, how can you ensure you’re giving millennials what they need with communication? Annual reviews are valuable, but they need to happen more frequently than once a year. Checking in with your employees on a weekly or bi-weekly basis about their successes, their failures, and their goals will help build employee loyalty. Also, if you’re working in an office, having a more open floor plan will allow for quick and easy communication.

If you’re looking to win the war of millennial talent, then you should be developing a work environment where your employees feel a sense of purpose, have flexible schedules and are comfortable to communicate openly with their coworkers.

Proven ROI of 484%

Forrester Consulting's Total Economic Impact™ study found a 484% ROI with Nudge!*

*over three years.