Customer loyalty translates into Growing Business…
You have the perfect restaurant in town. The location and menu selection is top-notch. The stage is set for your restaurant business to grow. Now, comes the most important part- customer acquisition and customer retention. Successful restaurant and hospitality business owners know the secrets of customer loyalty. They exactly know how to retain and gain customer loyalty. They focus on customer acquisition but at the same time their chief marketing goal is retaining loyal customers.
Let’s look at some of the factors to consider-
– Depending on your marketing budget it can be about 10 times more costly to acquire a new customer than to retain existing customer. CPA (Cost per Acquisition) should be in-line with revenue goals. More returning customers the lower is CPA.
– An ideal business model is the one in which atleast 20% of customers represent 80% of a restaurant’s business.
– Returning and loyal customers can increase the profits by 30% to 60%. Word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing tool. Customers with loyalty cards are 70% more likely to refer the outlet to friends, family and business associates. They also tend to share great reviews on online and offline communities.
– Loyal customers give you an excellent opportunity for upselling. Loyal customers tend to be less price conscious and prefer your personalized service and quality food over cheap options at other outlets. They tend to order and spend more. It has been noted that a mere 5% increase in repeat customers can improve the profits significantly.
Here is the list of top 10 ways to boost your restaurant’s customer loyalty:
1. Offer Digital Loyalty Cards–
With time customer needs have evolved, and so are loyalty programs and offers. Today’s loyalty programs are fully automated with revolutionary EPOS systems. This enables the business owners to activate rewards and loyalty programs that are more personalized and meaningful. Phomello Android electronic point of sale solution includes the loyalty card (magnetic, barcode or a smart card). Phomello Android POS system is highly scalable. It can be used by small size restaurants to multi-chain restaurants and can be synchronized to the head office. Phomello loyalty management tool allows you to easily manage your customer loyalty schemes and issue reward points.
The two most widely used loyalty programs are-
– Provide your customers a loyalty card, and on each visit certain loyalty points are added to their customer account based on order value. They can either redeem points on each visit or collect the points and cherish a free meal at later date. This points-based loyalty scheme is especially worthwhile for businesses with high-volume and low-cost products. It is the most cost effective way to provide incentives.
– Offer your customers silver/platinum/gold customer status depending on accumulated loyalty points. These best customers get a specific percentage off on each visit. These best customers, after having spent the set amount in your outlet get exclusive benefits. This gets the customers hooked and they keep coming back for more.
2. Know your Target Demographics-
Know who are your customers, their dinning habits, their taste and their preferences. Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation X all have their own set of requirements. The language they speak, their dining habits, social status and health concerns will have impact on their choice of restaurant. Knowing about them will enable you to meet their specific needs. Providing personalized service to customers will give them one more reason to make you their preferred outlet. Google analytics account for your website can be extremely helpful while tracking online customer data.
3. Benefit from Review Sites –
Millennials are influenced the most by review sites. The tech-savvy generation uses review sites to show their appreciation and grudges. A lot of customers use the review sites for recommendations and restaurant suggestions. By regularly checking and responding to the reviews, you can improve your credibility in the industry. They will also help you to identify your weak-points and gives you an opportunity to grow. It is a good idea to reward the customers who leave positive reviews with loyalty points or discount deals to make them feel valued. Just remember not to place fake reviews or try to coerce customers into leaving positive reviews.
4. Have a Robust Online Presence –
Mark your presence on all social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Target your customer demographic and geographic location in your social media marketing campaigns. Share your restaurant reviews, new dishes and press releases. You can also launch a giveaway or contest and let your followers share it online. Engaging with your customer on social media is a powerful way to promote brand loyalty.
Get yourself marked on the map, Google (Google my business page) and Bing (Bing places for business) will enable customers to easily locate your restaurant.
Phomello Android POS solution allows you to launch targeted customer marketing emails, which can be customized for a personal touch. You can also create different customer groups. Email marketing campaigns will help you to update the customers about your restaurant and send them special coupons and discount offers. You can also send them an SMS or customized push notifications on their mobile phones.
5. Leverage CRM Data-
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is indispensable when it comes to customer retention and engagement. All your customer data like contact details, delivery addresses, loyalty points, preferences (food, health concerns- eg. allergies, and other likes/dislikes), purchase history, birthdays and anniversaries etc. are securely stored into CRM. You can effectively use this data set to engage with your customers and run marketing campaigns.
CRM database and loyalty management goes hand-in-hand and are an important feature of Phomello EPOS software. You can customize specific loyalty programs and offers. Send your customers special offers, birthday wishes and anniversaries greetings via e-mail/SMS, and keep them coming to celebrate their happy occasions with you.
6. Convenience is Priority-
Make use of the latest EPOS technology to cater all your customer needs. Phomello EPOS helps making online booking, food delivery and table management hassle free and requires minimum human input. The multi-lingual and multi-currency payment feature makes it easy for customers to place and receive the order quickly. You can easily track and record all your customer needs and provide them the required support from the get- go.
7. Host Special Events-
You can host events such as karaoke night, games night or comedy night once every week. You can also invite live band, singers or musicians to perform. This attracts customers and gets you an edge over the competitors. Such events give you a base for returning customers and create good publicity about your business. Don’t forget to upload the event on social media. You can also use your loyalty scheme to offer exclusive event invitations to your loyal customers via email/SMS through EPOS software.
8. Support a Cause-
Get your business involved in a noble cause. Organize charitable events, and give donations to the organizations for underprivileged and differently abled people. You can also promote the cause by making a community page on your website and include it in newsletters. Associating to such community events and charitable causes projects an empathetic image of your business and makes customers want to connect with your business on deeper level.
9. Give Something Unique-
Give a unique experience and taste to your customers. Create your restaurant’s USP (Unique Selling Point). It can be the ambience, specific cuisine, prices, chef or your live music performer. Keeping and effectively marketing the USP is essential aspect of loyalty management.
10. Well Trained Staff and Outstanding Customer Service-
There is no alternative to outstanding customer service when it comes to wanting your customers to keep coming back. Nice ambience, hospitable environment and quality food are the basic requirements. Every customer comes in with specific set of expectations which may greatly vary from one another, but one aspect remains the same- The need to feel special.
Interacting with guests is an important part of etiquette training. Make sure the waiting staff is well trained and can work in coordination. Waiting staff should always be very polite and friendly. It is well known fact that familiar waiting staff results in higher customer retention and engagement. It always helps if the waiter remembers customer names and knows their favorite dish and ordering routine, thereby giving it a personal touch. Engaging in some polite small talk and inquiring customers if they need anything else every 10 to 15 minutes is sure to delight the customers. Waiting staff however need to be very perceptive and manage the guests after assessing their mood, body language and behavior. Using an intuitive POS system can save your staff a lot of time, so they can focus on providing quality service to the customers.
Without incentives and a personal touch it doesn’t take much for the customers to switch the restaurants. Matter becomes worse with extreme competition in the hospitality industry. You must identify your best customers and provide personalized services to inspire loyalty. Take advantage of best EPOS technology system to maintain loyalty which need not be expensive to implement. A well-executed loyalty programs always pays off and the effort is greatly appreciated by customers. The above tips will arm you to efficiently gain loyal customers and create a robust returning customer base. You can share your thoughts in the comment section below.