Officials at El Pollo Loco, the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken chain, want to take their customer engagement level to new heights through a strategic partnership with Ansira.

Through the partnership, Ansira will support El Pollo Loco, including the latter’s Loco Rewards loyalty program, by leveraging ongoing data to improve customer insights, individual customer engagement, and ultimately drive increased profits.

Ansira uses big data to deliver market intelligence for its customers. Using aggregated data, the marketing agency develops performance-based marketing programs and also supports clients with CRM and loyalty programs, digital media buying and planning, web and creative development, and strategies and analytics. Ansira’s 150-plus customers span various industries, including world-class brands in the QSR industry.

El Pollo Loco has more than 470 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, and Utah.

Tory Marpe, SVP of Analytics at Ansira, told Loyalty360 that customer loyalty is no longer just about frequenting a brand to get points.

“Customers want a more immersive relationship in which brands provide elevated experiences that go beyond a basic discount, but rather anticipate their need state and provide options to solve for it,” Marpe explained.

Loyalty360 talked to El Pollo Loco CMO Ed Valle about the partnership.

What are El Pollo Loco’s goals for this partnership from a customer engagement/customer experience perspective?

Valle: The goal of this partnership is to drive increased profits by leveraging data to improve customer insights, engagement and loyalty. We are continuing to invest in our Loco Rewards loyalty program and we believe that integrating with Ansira will help us better acquire, retain, and engage customers which will ultimately help grow this program.

How will customer insights trigger enhanced engagement/brand loyalty?

Valle: We have always valued our relationship with our customers and Ansira will allow us to understand purchase behaviors and motivations that can create more meaningful and relevant engagement with our guests. This will help forge a better connection with our customers and lead to more brand loyalty and increased profits.

How do you define customer loyalty and has that definition evolved in recent years?

Valle: In my opinion, customer loyalty is having true fans that not only crave our product and keep coming back for more, but also act as brand ambassadors. We saw a great example of this at one of our restaurants in Texas. The restaurant had recently opened and our team was there eating lunch and visiting with the restaurant team. Upon leaving, a husband and wife came up to us to thank us for bringing El Pollo Loco to the area. They said they were originally from California and for years since moving they would often take an hour-long drive to the closest restaurant to get their ‘El Pollo Loco fix’ and were thrilled they no longer had to travel that far for their favorite fire-grilled chicken. Customer loyalty is building this type of emotional connection with the brand.

What are you most proud of at El Pollo Loco?

Valle: I am most proud of the incredible work of our El Pollo Loco family–from our restaurant level teams, to our Grill Masters, menu innovators, and all corporate employees. These people are committed to our mission of making real food accessible every day to the folks on main street. It’s what I like to call the ‘democratization of real food.’ For more than 30 years, El Pollo Loco has been delighting customers with our signature citrus-marinated, fire-grilled chicken and, while our rich heritage and authentic offerings are core to this brand, it’s our people that make it all possible.

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