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Paul van Vliet
Paul van Vliet | Applied Data Scientist, Civis Analytics

Wondering why your customer loyalty is lackluster? Struggling to achieve optimal ROI for your loyalty program? 

You’re not alone.

According to a recent report from Nation’s Restaurant News and Informa Engage, 70 percent of restaurants have loyalty programs, but only 30 percent find those programs effective.

The dissatisfaction many restaurants feel about their loyalty program results is not from a lack of customer data; they’ve likely got that pouring in from all directions. Rather, it’s that this data is riddled with inaccuracies and redundancies, presenting an incomplete and misleading portrait of the customers that matter most — and making it impossible to correctly analyze their behaviors and preferences for more personalized, impactful messaging.  

In this post, we share how identity resolution cleans up and consolidates messy customer data, and why it’s so critical to your quick-service restaurant operation.

Defining identity resolution

Identity resolution, or IDR, is the practice of connecting data (phone numbers, email addresses, etc.) from multiple sources, finding matches among the records they contain, and identifying duplicates to determine which sets of records correspond to the same individuals. This process creates a unique, stable identifier for each individual QSR loyalty program member, delivering a unified understanding of the brand’s most important customers. 

Illustration of behavioral and demographic data being added to a person's record

IDR allows stakeholders across your organization to access these comprehensive, 360-degree profiles to better serve each individual customer. Considering 79 percent of diners want personalized offers and recommendations, knowledge like this is priceless.

You need IDR if your data:

  • Is scattered across databases and stuck in siloes. 
  • Is duplicated within and across sources.
  • Varies in accuracy from source to source.
  • Has grown stale (e.g., people changing addresses, names, or phone numbers between engagements). 
  • Contains multiple different points of contact for the same individual (e.g., one database may have names, email addresses, and ZIP codes, while another might have names and full addresses). 

IDR use cases 

Some of the industry’s largest QSRs — think Starbucks and McDonald’s — have been using IDR to drive their thriving loyalty programs for quite some time now. But IDR isn’t just for the big dogs: whether you’ve got 10 units or 10,000, your brand can use and benefit from identity resolution. It’s the key to connecting all your customer data in one place to give you deep insights that open up a whole host of opportunities, such as:

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Improving database management. Literally, the foundation for all consumer-facing business decisions.

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Accessing real-time insights that enable you to reach customers with timely messages. For example, it’s ideal to send dine-in customers an offer to “Get 10 percent off your next online order” right after they’ve visited your restaurant, not a week later.

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Getting personal. Like the Cheers theme song reminds us, people “want to go where everybody knows your name.” IDR is key in customer-centric marketing as it delivers insights into customers’ individual likes/dislikes, when to reach them, and with what types of messages on which channels.

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Increasing marketing effectiveness. With the right people and processes in place, IDR can also make your marketing more effective and efficient. For example, you can send burger promotions to meat-eaters and avoid sending them to plant-based eaters — and you can do it with a few keystrokes.

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Improving data compliance. Ensure you’re following the most up-to-date regulations in how your data is organized, managed, and secured.

Organizations across the business landscape are recognizing the need for IDR to help them better understand and engage their audiences with relevant promotions and products. According to a Winterberry Group forecast, U.S. marketers are expected to spend $2.6 billion on identity resolution programs in 2022 — a 188 percent cumulative increase over a four-year period. 

A winning strategy

Today’s customers have more dining-out options than ever before. A strong, high-quality identity resolution program is critical to earning a larger share of stomach. It’s the foundation of your customer satisfaction strategy, the engine of your marketing — and with researchers anticipating that digital sales will account for 54 percent of quick-service and limited-service restaurant business by 2025, up 70 percent over pre-COVID estimates, it’s a must-have to remain competitive in the months and years ahead.

A family eating fast food together in a booth

Ready to start using identity resolution to get more complete customer profiles and insights that grow your QSR brand?

Civis Analytics can help you organize your messy, disconnected data and turn it into insights that drive action.

Connect to Our IDR Experts