Take a moment to imagine you’ve been given the task of being a mystery shopper for one night. Your job is to go in and assess multiple aspects of a venue: its employees, its food and beverage, the decor, the atmosphere – the works. What is it you think that makes up a memorable experience? There’s a number of things that fit into the psychology of a customer and certain factors that make up their perception of you.
Let’s create a short list of things that may become apparent to you during your visit that could contribute to a bad experience, and how a business can contribute to a loss in customers.
- Your customer can find the same quality for a lower price elsewhere
- You potentially haven’t remedied any negative online reviews
- You aren’t working on establishing an emotional attachment between the business and the customer
- You’ve lost your ‘wow’ factor
- You’re not listening to your customers
- There’s a lack of atmosphere within the venue
- Product knowledge – are your employees trained and knowledgeable on the products they are trying to sell?
Remember to constantly measure your results. There is always room for improvement, and those businesses that are able to quickly identify areas that may be lacking are the ones who are going to hold the top spot. With the nature of the industry changing so frequently, it’s imperative that you are always monitoring your progress and consistently working to develop a competitive advantage within your line of work.
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C – Is for customer service. Are you surprised this is the first point? This is the most crucial ingredient in making certain that your customer leave and give your venue wonderful recommendations!
U – Is for utilizing loyalty programmes. These are a great way to create value for customers both old and new.
S – Is for starting small. Don’t throw yourself into any new initiative full steam ahead. Start small and once you begin to see successes, begin to expand on these initiatives.
T – Is for ‘try pay it forward’. It’s okay to take a cut in profits sometimes. It’s nice to give something back once in a while and customers like this. It shows them you’re not all about their money.
O – Is for organising an event. An event is a great way to get traffic through the door and allows people to see your venue pumping and enables you to establish a vibe and atmosphere for the place.
M – Is for measure. Measure everything. How is your turnover looking? Measure your results is you implement anything new, or you change anything related to your service. By doing this you allow yourself to make changes in real time so that there’s no time or resources wasted.
E – Is for execute your advertising initiative effectively. Make sure all your advertising efforts are relative to your industry. Think seriously about your clientele and what they would want to read/hear.
R – Is for referrals and networking. Take advantage of any relationship you have with those around you. Talk about your business with friends and family. Do the same for them – mutual referrals are great for generating foot traffic.
S – Is for strategic alliances. Make connections and deals with industry competitors and benefit from each other’s established resources and clientele.
When it comes to doing business today, a lot of power has been placed back into the hands of the customer, leaving little room for error for businesses. With the increasing prevalence of technology and the inter connectedness of customers with businesses, those working within the service industry have to keep on their toes.
Here’s 4 things to make sure you’re doing properly in order to keep your customers loyal!
Ensure your employees are given training opportunities to learn all they possibly can about your product and/or services. In a bar restaurant setting, it’s particularly nice when staff give personal recommendations and can comment on the products they are selling. A personal touch shows that you want your customer to have a really great time.
Mistakes are inevitable and are they are going to happen whether we like it or not. How we deal with these mistakes is how the customer determines whether or not they will be returning. Problems that are dealt with quickly and attentively show that you care about remedying the situation. If you are prepared to offer a quick solution or even prepared to take loss and offer a discount or voucher for example, shows that as a business you care about how your service is received.
What is it that you offer that better than the next place? What are you doing that’s different and gets customers hooked? Ensure that you are reliable and keep true to your promises. If you set the standard at a certain level, make sure you keep hitting that target to make sure you don’t come out looking greedy. Look for ways to add both tangible and intangible value.
Make them feel important
The old saying “treat your oldest customers like royalty” is very true. A significant amount of your turnover comes from this group. But it’s important to keep investing in growing this group also, so treat every new customer as someone that you want to nurture through to the same stage. The more customer you nurture = the greater the long term revenue! It’s a win-win. Customers also appreciate a human element in their dealings with you, so try and put yourselves in their shoes and think about the things you would like should you ever be on the other side of the service deal.
So there you have it. Four easy elements to incorporate into your business that can help you better your service transactions and increase that customer loyalty and retention!
If you are after some more information on customer loyalty and would like some more tips, take a read of one of our blog posts “6 Hurdles Hospitality Managers Commonly Face – Customer Loyalty” for more info!
HURDLE NUMBER TWO: CUSTOMER LOYALTY
Last week was the first entry of a six part blog where we began to discuss six hurdles hospitality managers commonly face. This week we will be delving into hurdle number two, customer loyalty.
Not only is hiring the right staff important, but those who you choose to employ play an integral part in customer loyalty. I’m sure all of us have had at least one memorable experience where a waiter/waitress has given us outstanding service and/or we have been delighted with the food and beverage put in front of us.
Today, a tremendous amount has to be offered to patrons in order to gain their loyalty. We live in a world where people always want something for free, and this is the case for most industries, not just hospitality. Whether you actually offer something for free, or you advertise a buy one get one free special, nothing beats this old line, “Well the bar down the road serves the same for a lot cheaper!” In such a highly competitive industry, hospitality managers constantly need to come up with new and innovative ways to delight customers in order to ensure they come back and keep spending money. Without loyalty, and without our money, the industry would cease to exist.
It’s the loyalty that is the key issue here. It’s all well and good to get in a big crowd on a Friday night, but what are you doing to make them come back? You can’t guarantee that the same exact crowd will be back next Friday. What is it that you are doing that really hooks them in? It could be a number of elements: the music, the mood, the quality of your food, how your staff strike up their opening conversation, the décor of the venue, or it could be a combination of these things.
The creativity it requires whilst trying to maintain optimal cost prices is a constant battle for managers. A point of difference must be found in order to give you the advantage over your competitors, and is essential in building and sustaining customer loyalty.
Solution: It’s a common saying “treat your oldest customers like royalty”. Now it’s not the elderly I’m referring to here. I’m talking about those who have been coming to your establishment since the very beginning. It is this group that contributes to a significant proportion of your turnover. Customers also appreciate it when you take the time to talk to them. Better yet, the value of how you make that customer feel at the time, has a much higher return than any other tactic. Too often I see staff that would prefer to converse about the latest gossip rather than take an interest in their customers. If you can get employees to take an interest in the people they are serving, you may just hit the jackpot.
Check back later this week where we discuss Hurdle Number Three – The Role of Team Motivator.
Want to take the next step towards becoming a manager that’s more in control of your business? Click here to start a free trial of goRoster, and see how rostering plays a crucial role in the success of your venue.