HOW TO BUILD CUSTOMER LOYALTY FOR YOUR BUSINESS…
1) Master Social Media
Surprising few businesses (whether restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, B&Bs, hairdressing salons etc) have really taken the time and trouble to master social media and few maximise the potential for improving their customer experience, building brand loyalty and boosting their turnover.
The reach is massive and the potential for positive (and negative) impact on your business is impressive… and worrying! Online reputation management is crucial… a bad review can threaten the survival of a business depending on the circumstances… good reviews can serve to engage and encourage existing and new clients.
Ensure you have an official presence in key platforms. Set up accounts with consistent branding, use an appropriate tone of voice and style, keep access to your accounts secure.
Personalise the customer experience, thank customers for comments, like their contribution, encourage photo sharing, create videos, invite reviews, celebrate positive recommendations and answer criticism in a fair and balanced way… and offer incentives and rewards to boost business in quite times.
Keep your online presence up to date and respond quickly to questions, stay current, credible, personable and relevant.
Promote your Social Media accounts as widely as possible… feature your Social Media accounts on advertising, on promotional materials, on your windows and loyalty cards and of course on the personalised chocolates you give to your customers to reward them for their loyalty! (A message on the chocolate wrapper can prompt them to pick-up their phone and ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ you immediately.)
2) Say ‘Thank You’ & Reward Your Customers
Say ‘thank you’ to your customers and make them feel special, rewarding them for choosing you over your competitors, by adding value, enhancing their experience.
If you are a restaurant, cafe, pub, hotel, B&B or caterer… give a chocolate, mint, biscuit or fortune cookie with coffee or tea, personalised with your restaurant branding and carrying brand messages which thank them for their custom and encourage them to review you online, to return for a future celebration, or to follow you and/or promote you via social media etc.
If you are a spa, beauty treatment or hairdressing salon or barbers, a lawyers or accountants, a car dealership or other business offering enriched services, offer refreshments to your customers together with an appropriately personalised chocolate, mint, biscuit or fortune cookie with a wrapper carrying your logo and brand messages.
Other rewards can include a free course, a free drink or perhaps a special gift such as a personalised mug or glass, pen or pad, fridge magnet or calendar. Customised merchandise carrying the business logo and website address, social media etc can make for a welcome gift appreciated by customers, as well as a long-term advertising promotion reminding them to return. (Delvaux is able to supply a wide range of gift ideas, explore this website or call us on 0800 371 428 or email us to discuss your needs.)
3) Invite Your Customers To Return
It is a surprisingly simple thing… but in the rush to serve staff can forget to properly thank customers for their business and to invite them to return. Always make time to thank your consumers and to invite them to return. Wish them well and tell them you look forward to seeing them again soon.
4) Personalise Your Customer’s Experience
Management and staff should work hard to get to know their customers and this goes beyond simply recognising them and remembering their name. No customer is the same… each customer will have their preferences.
The better a business is able to personalise a consumer’s experience them more likely a customer will return for more… choosing the business that knows them well over another business that doesn’t.
Some restaurants and hotels have trained their staff to collect information about the customer, to note their habits, their tastes, their likes and dislikes… this information is recorded in a database and accessed whenever the customer returns. Some businesses go further and Google new customers, researching them online as much as possible.
This can be especially important with corporate clients… many restaurants and hotels rely on corporate clients for the majority of their turnover, by remembering their corporate client’s preferences and providing the exact service they like each time, making them comfortable and relaxed and helping them to look good infront of their guests and to win business, ensures the corporate client will return again and again.
The same techniques can be applied to other businesses too, with particular products kept in stock for particular customers, favoured staff always allocated to regular clients, the same welcome process implemented each time the customer arrives etc.
5) Use Coupons & Special Offers
Research has shown that a frequent reason for considering switching to trial a new restaurant, hotel or other supplier is a coupon or discount.
Consider carefully how to use coupons and other incentives such as special offers or discounts to win new business while retaining the loyalty of your current customers.
(Don’t make the mistake of rewarding new customers over existing customers… do all you can to retain existing customers as you already have their attention and interest… don’t alienate them with ‘new customer only’ promotions.)
Take care to use selective targeting with appropriate offers and seek to add value wherever possible, avoiding undervaluing your services or products in the long-term.
Use your website, Social Media, online advertising, off-line advertising and in-business promotional opportunities (loyalty cards, discount cards, personalised gifts etc) to distribute special promotions and incentives… and make sure you track what works and what doesn’t! Learn as you go, review, refine and maximise your resources.
Have you any tips or techniques to share with other business owners? Please don’t hesitate to email us if you do, we would love to hear from you.
[If you have any questions please call us on UK freephone 0800 371 428 or International telephone +44 (0) 1932 571180, alternatively please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.]