One of hospitality and tourism businesses primary goals should be getting repeat customers in your venue. With so much business and marketing focus going into getting new customers through your doors, are you business planning to retain existing customers as part of your overall strategy?
As the saying goes;
“It’s seven times more expensive to get new customers than to retain existing ones”.
So how do you retain customers? Here are our top five tips
Provide excellent customer service
It goes without saying, but giving extraordinary customer service is one of the best ways for getting new customers to become repeat customers. You may serve the best food and have a great venue ambience, but without extraordinary customer service, you won’t have customers coming back.
This means spending the time to properly train your employees. Excellent customer service involves all of your staff, not just your wait staff, so be sure to provide training to all your employees. Some of the key things you can train your staff in is; greeting customers on arrival, checking in with customers, and providing up-selling training and motivational strategies.
Bad customer service can ensure that the customer doesn't want to come back, ever again. Trying to convince a customer that has had a bad experience to come back and try you again after a bad experience is a tough sell.
Start a loyalty program
Loyalty programs are a great way to ensure you have repeat customers coming back to your venue time and time again. By rewarding loyalty of your repeat customers, you encourage repeat business.
When planning a loyalty program, the key is to keep it simple. Make it easy to sign up to, keep track of, and receive regular offers. If your loyalty program is structured correctly and good value for money your customers will spread the word and tell their friends.
Having a loyalty card for a meal, coffees, and drink specials are a great way to entice customers back, and giving surprise special offers every once in a while to your loyal customers will have an even greater impact as a value add on the success of your loyalty program.
Start an email list
Your guests may have loved your venue but you may not stay top of their mind. Creating an email list helps you stay top of their mind by touching base with them on your up and coming events, offers and specials. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your customers as you can direct pointed marketing material at them over a period of time.
An email list is a vital tool in marketing modern hospitality and tourism venues and should be a priority marketing tool in your business.
Offer online ordering
Not all your customers want to eat out all the time, but they might not want to cook. Offering online ordering through sites like Uber Eats or your website can help with repeat customers.
You are making it easier for your customers to choose you and therefore become repeat customers.
Follow up with customers
Always take the opportunity to follow up directly with your customers, preferably when they are still in your venue. At the end of the meal, or when they are paying the bill is a perfect time to follow up with customers, but also don’t underestimate the value of following up with customers after they have left your venue.
Sending a direct email if you have their contact details on your list, or a private message on social media can be a great way to reach out to your customers further.
They will feel like you care about their experience in your venue, and they’ll be far more likely to come back when they feel like a valued customer, not just when they in are in your venue but also after they’ve left it.
Ensuring that your customers have a very good time should be your main goal, whether they’re a new customer or a return customer. Listen to your customers, especially your repeat customers as they often won’t be afraid to tell you where it’s at, and provide valuable feedback that you can use to make your business better every day.
Love to hear your thoughts, KB
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: