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TGI Fridays has a successful customer loyalty program, “Give Me More Stripes,” which was recently honored by the 2015 Bond Brand Loyalty Report as the top program in the casual dining category.
Michelle Malish, Senior Director, CRM & Loyalty, TGI Fridays participated in an intriguing interview with Loyalty360 to discuss the loyalty program’s success.
How long has the program been around and how many members do you have?
Give Me More Stripes® was one of the first loyalty programs in the casual dining category and has been a leader in recognizing and rewarding members for their engagement with the brand since 2008. Give Me More Stripes has millions of members who enjoy first-to-know news and promotions, menu sneak peeks, access to events and private invitations, and special offers via digital, mobile, and social channels.
To what do you attribute the success of the “Give Me More Stripes” customer loyalty program and why has it resonated so well with your customers?
The success of Give Me More Stripes is based on building a trusting relationship with members and treating them like good friends. The trust Fridays has built with its guests is not tied to a single visit or a specific membership perk, but has been achieved over time by a number of actions and occurrences that are measured.
Today’s customers know they are being advertised to and why they are being rewarded. We try to keep it real by engaging our guests with relevant exchanges and content – through rating their recent Fridays visits, managing their accounts from their mobile devices and even asking members to share helpful holiday tips with each other on the Fridays Tumblr site – all the while building trust and showing our appreciation in ways true to our brand. Our most loyal guests are very interested in tangible, immediate benefits and experiences that recognize “who they are,” and let them know that we are listening to them.
Since the program launch, what sort of customer behavioral changes have you seen?
The program has seen many changes through the past seven years, focused on member flexibility, control, and choice primarily driven by guest insights. Today, the main goal is to deliver memorable guest dining experiences, reward members for their loyalty, inspire social sharing, and create brand fans
Give Me More Stripes enables Fridays to learn more about guests and what they want from their dining experience – through their restaurant visits, rating and reviews, social sentiment, member panels, channel interactions, and feedback via guest relations and operators. These insights enable Fridays to engage with customer segments differently and help form a mix of emotional and behavioral recognition and reward offerings so that Give Me More Stripes members continue to be passionate about the program and loyal to the Fridays brand.
How do you define customer loyalty and has that definition changed in recent years since customers have become so empowered?
Customer loyalty is based on interest, engagement, and trust in the Fridays brand. Relationships are cultivated in our restaurants through the guests’ experiences with their favorite bartenders, servers, or managers. One of the areas of the program that has evolved most in recent years is extending relationships with members outside of the restaurants to email, mobile, digital, and social conversations and activations. This has resulted in more happy guests sharing their love of Fridays through brand advocacy in their online and offline communities.
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