The numbers speak for themselves. Business book 'Leading on the edge of chaos' cites if you can secure just a 2% increase in returning customers, it is the equivalent to cutting costs by 10%. Additionally reducing your customer defection rate by 5% can increase your profitability anywhere from 25% to 125%!
The lure of shiny new customers will always be strong but never ignore the needs of your existing ones. These are the guys paying your bills and if treated right will continue to do so long into the future. Regular customers are your brand ambassadors so don’t underestimate their importance. They will often be more effective at bringing new customers in than throwing money at an expensive ad campaigns, or spending hours beating yourself about the head with social media. Here are a few ways to ensure you keep welcoming those valuable customers back.
It’s no secret everyone likes to feel special, but in an industry where you encounter tens if not hundreds of faces a day it can be difficult to establish a relationship beyond a polite "hello". Being an owner/manager on the floor shows you’re on the front line with your staff. It comforts people much in the same way as when they see a bobby on the beat. Being visible throughout rather than just wheeled out to deal with complaints is a good way to acknowledge the presence of your customers.
It may seem simple but smile, learn some names if the opportunity arises, get involved in some small talk. A little effort goes a long way in giving you the edge over the competition who didn't bother.
Making your customer feel valued is essential to repeat custom. People like spending money where they feel appreciated, and after all their custom is appreciated. What better way to show it than offering a loyalty scheme.
Gone are the days of the lost/crumpled cards, rummaging around in the bottom of handbags or stamps running out of ink. Loyalty apps make rewarding your customers easy. There are a number of apps integrated directly with your Epos Now system that allows you to customise a scheme that fits your branding, markets your products and allows you to create a rewards system with ease. Loyalty schemes are shown to increase repeat custom by up to 20% making the return on investment boundless. Check out the Epos Now AppStore for more details.
Consistency & quality
Repeat customers come back because they know what they’re getting. They were satisfied with the atmosphere/food/service and that is what they expect that when they return, every time. A single bad experience can undo months or years of good work. Creating a quality customer relationship isn't the hard part, the hard part's maintaining it.
Consistency is key, and that is on all fronts;
- Never compromise the quality of your product. People will notice and bad news travels fast. With the likes of TripAdvisor and other review websites restaurateurs can’t afford to cut corners. By all means cut costs where possible but don't undermine the quality of what you offer.
- Staff training establishes a consistent level of service ensuring staff know protocols for all eventualities. Having a structured framework reduces the likelihood of sloppy mistakes that cost customers. 85% of people in a survey said they would not return to a place they received poor customer service.
- The cleanliness of your establishment should always be 100% and It's not just what they can see. Hygiene ratings count for a lot. People think twice about dining in dirty restaurants.