Hard Rock Finds More Ways To Keep Customers Happy - InformationWeek

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Hard Rock Finds More Ways To Keep Customers Happy

Marketing and customer-service software from E.piphany improve customer loyalty.

In November 2000, diners and shoppers at the Hard Rock Cafe's restaurants or rock 'n' roll memorabilia centers were no more than passing customers to the marketers overseeing the restaurant chain. The 30-year-old Orlando, Fla., chain didn't know its customers, how often they visited the company's restaurants--43 in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean and 12 in Europe--or what they bought from the stores. But by January, Hard Rock was running marketing and customer-service software that had transformed those visitors into loyal, understood customers.

Today, Hard Rock has regular contact with its 5,500 most loyal customers, called Pin Collectors, while acquiring and building relationships with less frequent visitors, called All Access Members. All were recruited from restaurant promotions or online. Hard Rock uses E.piphany Inc. marketing and customer-service applications to analyze and understand the behavior of members, based on membership cards used in restaurants, in stores, or online.

Incentives range from preferred seating to discounts. All Access Members, for example, receive a $20 credit on their loyalty cards each time they spend $200; Pin Collectors get a 10% discount. Hard Rock delivers targeted E-mail promotions for use online and in the stores. From one E-mail campaign that cost $1,500 to run, Hard Rock sold $150,000 in merchandise. "Before, we never did this type of campaign, so we went from nothing to something big," says Todd Lindsey, senior VP of finance and IT.

The restaurant company also leverages customer visits. As diners leave, they're handed customer-satisfaction surveys that can be completed online. "In the past, once the guest left the restaurant with a bad experience, they were gone," Lindsey says. Guests filling out the form receive coupons for another meal, giving Hard Rock another chance to impress them.

Hard Rock had a nine-month payback on the software. But as the company learns more ways to use it, execs expect revenue and customer loyalty to continue to improve. "We're still in customer-acquisition mode," says Kelly Maddern, senior director of IT and online, "and looking at different ways to acquire customer information."

Generally, pricing for the marketing and customer-service applications starts at $250,000 each, depending on the scope of the project.

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