How To Build Loyalty Amongst Your Customers9th May, by Samantha Weller
No matter what sector your business falls into, or the size, customer loyalty has become critical for the success of any hospitality led business.
Not only do repeat customers account for an on-going stream of revenue, but through positive experiences, your regulars provide increased business support through word of mouth marketing.
Whether it’s using technology to collate strategic marketing campaigns, or simply enhancing the guest experience through fantastic customer service, there are many tried and true ways to gain loyalty amongst your visitors. However, with competitors always around the corner, enhancing loyalty strategies have become more important than ever.
Here are some key tips on how to increase loyalty from your guests.
1. Offer An Unforgettable Experience
Before exploring technology platforms to help improve your loyalty strategies, it’s critical to ensure your plans will be effective within your audience. So, begin the process by going back to basics.
Gift voucher platform, GiftPro, also believe that in order to build true advocacy, it’s important to offer a service which will create a foundation of positive memories and experiences.
“There’s no point in sending your customers a personalised offer if the memory they associate with your business is negative, so before you implement shiny new loyalty technology, take some time to tear-down your offering and think of some exciting new ways to spark joy,” explains Creative Director, Richard Hull.
“You’ll know when you’ve got this right because customer acquisition will start to self-perpetuate, and that’s when you know you’re ready to utilise technology (via your POS and its partners) to start maximising their lifetime value and deepening the loyalty you already have.”
2. Get To Know Your Guests
Sending generic marketing emails to a full customer database is a quick and easy process.
However, this method often produces ineffective results due to the broad content. Therefore, to engage and encourage your guests to make a re-visit and for them to continue doing so, it’s important to promote personalised offers which will relate to their preferences.
Achieving this, is an easier process than it may initially seem. Firstly, an integrated EPOS and loyalty solution is critical. As the central hub of the business, the point of sale has the power to collect customer information through every order, then storing it into a CRM platform.
Within a tool such as the Tevalis Customer Relationship Management module, operators can track an extensive amount of data from the cloud, at individual level. This includes data such as favourite dishes within the customer base, favourite drinks, peak visiting dates/times and average spend. Using this to your advantage can be a powerful tool if used correctly.
For example, bulk export the data for all customers who meet the criteria of favourite cocktail is Bloody Mary, to send an email campaign such as ‘receive a free Bloody Mary on your next visit when you spend more than £60!’
Similarly, maximise on this to re-spark interest from guests who haven’t visited for a certain period of time.
3. Explore Your Loyalty Options
There are many loyalty options on the market to suit all businesses requirements. Before deployment, first research into what route would be best suited to your sector and for your target audience.
A trusted option is to transform your loyalty scheme into a loyalty game to keep engagement and visitation levels high. Simple point scoring systems have been utilised for decades but are a tested, successful way of how rewarding your customers after they hit so many points, can increase loyalty. All whilst providing a continued flow of increased revenue into a business.
Deciding on the right platform to host your scheme on is also an important area of consideration. A technology based points system has proven to be a popular choice for all parties involved.
Not only is this beneficial for FnB teams in relation to efficiency during service, but for back office management too where they can monitor the effectiveness of the system with valuable analytics.
Why do guests like this? All points are stored electronically, which means losing a card isn’t really a problem. Alongside this, visitors can easily check their points status in minutes. However, it may be an option to deploy a punch card system for audiences who may not be tech-savvy.
4. Communicate With Your Audience
An interesting and attractive social media feed holds a lot of value in today’s rapidly growing, social media eccentric society.
Aside from a company website, social platforms have become the go-to source for product and brand information. With hospitality being one of the main hot topics online, it’s important to have a strong strategy in place to ensure you’re receiving the benefits.
Firstly, communicate with your audience. Respond to their reviews and comments (good and bad), letting them know you’re active when it comes to appreciation and customer care.
88% of surveyed people said they were influenced by reviews and online comments, so this could hold high value for helping potential new customers make their next dining decision.
5. Keep Your Brand, Fresh In Their Minds
What better way to remind customers of a brand, than through push notifications on their smartphones?
Bespoke mobile applications within this industry are on the rise and a variety of options are available, such as guest facing apps which enable customers to order at the table or those which offer pre-ordering and delivery services.
Allowing guests to order from their favourite restaurants at the tap of a button, are online ordering provider, Preoday.
“Digital ordering technology which allows people to order food online or through their phone, critically also provides a mine of data that companies can use to grow their business and increase customer loyalty. Ordering platforms can use this data to remind customers of your business and give them an excuse to make repeat visits,” says Nick Hucker, CEO at Preoday.
“The data can be used to create personalised offers or discounts that are shared with the customer so that you’re front of mind the next time they’re hungry. For example, using the Preoday platform, businesses can send notifications of special offers to customers in three ways. They can either send them out as a push notification; have the information pop up every time the customer opens the app/online ordering interface; or have it as a banner on the app or online ordering interface.”
Certainly an area of consideration for brands looking to have a permanent place on their customers smartphones…
6. Last But Not Least, Spread The Word!
Who doesn’t enjoy receiving gift vouchers on their birthday to dine out or enjoy a spa trip away? Introducing gift vouchers into your business will offer your already loyal customers, the option to gift an experience to their loved ones.
“Selling gift vouchers using a system like GiftPro is a great way to enable existing loyal customers to introduce potential new ones, but the unseen power of pleasing your customers loved ones, is that you’ll compound the initial customer’s loyalty even further,” continues Richard Hull.
“To re-frame this, imagine that I love your restaurant so much I want my mum to experience it too, so I buy her a gift voucher. If she has a good time, you’re going to make me happy and subsequently even more loyal than I was already.”
Dining has undoubtedly become one of the most popular social experiences today and in result, competition across all sectors is fierce. Strong loyalty plans are therefore a key driver to remain profitable and successful. Be sure to elevate your future plans by keeping your customers happy and considering strong loyalty strategies that are right for your business.