Jun 9, 2017 | Customer Retention Strategies That Work

Choosing a Loyalty Program: How Home Run Inn found a perfect fit

Michelle Wohl — VP Marketing @ Thanx by  Michelle Wohl — VP Marketing @ Thanx

With so many different types of loyalty programs out there, how do you choose the right loyalty platform for your brand? Learn about how Home Run Inn made the decision to implement an automated, data-driven loyalty program through Thanx.


Thanx Hits a Loyalty Home Run

In the fall of 2016, Home Run Inn’s CEO, Dan Costello, and his management team began looking into loyalty solution providers. With a growing and passionate customer-base spread across nine locations in Chicago, they needed a way to know who was dining with them so they could effectively engage them when they weren’t on site to keep them coming back. 

When the search began, Costello initially turned to his POS vendor for a solution. He says, “I had it in my head that a sophisticated loyalty program needed to be integrated with my POS to be effective.” However, as he looked closely at the quickly changing restaurant technology landscape, he realized that his inclination might have been wrong. Given the rate of change in the industry, he wondered whether it was smart to tie all his technology to the POS, which didn’t seem to be evolving as quickly as other technology.             


The Case for Rich, Actionable Data

When Costello met with Thanx and saw the demo of the platform, he realized that POS integration wasn’t just unnecessary for a data-rich loyalty program, but it was overkill. He explains, “I love data but data for data’s sake doesn’t help me. Do I really need to know what someone ordered to know how important they are to my business? No. I need to know their lifetime value. I need to know how much they spend and how often they come in.” 

Customer Experience is Key

With Thanx, Home Run Inn’s customers simply download the Thanx app and link their credit and debit cards. Then, they simply pay as usual and immediately get credit towards rewards based on their spend. The merchant dashboard allows Home Run Inn staff to access customer data, understand who their best customers are, and create segmented campaigns, such as VIP or Win-Back, that drive frequency and spend while making customers feel special.


Feedback and NPS

Costello especially appreciates the feedback functionality in Thanx. After paying the check, customers are asked to provide feedback on their experience at Home Run Inn. Staff can respond to feedback in real time, from the dashboard or through the app, even adding rewards or compensation when needed to save a customer after a rare disappointing experience. Feedback is so important to Home Run Inn that any time staff is mentioned by name in a positive comment, they are rewarded with a gift card.

 In addition, Net Promoter Score data is presented in the Thanx dashboard in a way that allows the corporate team to uncover service trends at the different locations. Since NPS is a component of management bonuses, Costello turns to Thanx to understand which units are exceeding expectations and where more training might be necessary.


Unexpected Perks of a Cloud-Based Loyalty Program

Recently, Costello and a licensing partner opened a tenth location of Home Run Inn at Midway Airport. Although the outlet has a different POS than his other stores, it works seamlessly with Thanx since Thanx doesn’t require POS integration. Costello says, “The light bulb really went off after we opened at Midway. If I selected any other loyalty partner, adding a new location with a different POS would have been a total nightmare. But because Thanx is a card-linked program, there was zero integration hassle. It just worked.”


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