According to a 2014 report by research firm Bain and Company, a marginal increase in customer loyalty can boost annual revenue by upto 95%. The restaurant business is no different. If you can get your customers to keep coming back, you can generate better profits. Unfortunately, there is no fixed formula to boosting customer loyalty. Fortunately, though, there are ways you can increase your chances of boosting customer loyalty. For instance, addressing repeat customers by their name ups your chances of converting them into regulars. Here are a few more tips and tricks you can employ to increase your brand loyalty.
Assuming you have a product that people are liking, how you communicate with your customers can go a long way in boosting (or killing) your brand loyalty. In that regard, standardising your staff training can help. For instance, in case of a customer complaint, there should an established protocol in place: how the complaint is escalated, and how is it addressed. If a customer is not happy with his dish, do you only take it back and bring a fresh one to the table, or do you offer a dish on the house, too?
1) Greet them with a smile
Make sure you train your staff to greet each customer with a smile. The podium should never be left unattended, since it leaves a bad first impression. And each new table should be attended to, immediately. Servers should introduce themselves by name to each new table, since it helps establish a rapport.
2) Know the menu inside out
Your wait staff should be extremely well-versed with the menu. They should be able to suggest dishes based on a customer’s requested palette. Suggestions that fit a customer’s expectations greatly boost the chances of repeat business.
3) Be at hand but do not hover
To get repeat customers, you have to give them a great restaurant experience. While food is important, quick, efficient service is equally crucial. For a casual dining restaurant, a serve to table ratio of 1 to 5 usually works well. It is important, though, to train your staff to be attentive to diners. At any point, there should be a wait staff at hand to attend to a table. At the same time, give the diners enough privacy so they can enjoy their meal with family and friends. Nobody likes the idea of a stranger overhearing their conversation.
Addressing someone by their name can be an incredibly powerful technique to build rapport and make them feel special. Train your staff to address repeat customers by their name. In fact, personalisation can go beyond names. For instance, remember your regular customers’ favourite dishes or drinks. Or pay attention to their small customisation requests for dishes and replicate them when they come back. It is all in the details.
According to Deloitte, customers rank loyalty programs at a lowly 24 out of 28 factors that affect their loyalty. That said, more than half the respondents were signed to at least one customer loyalty program. Of those signed, almost half said the loyalty program helped them build a personal relationship with the restaurant. For a loyalty program to work, though, there are a few things you should pay attention to:
1) Understand your customers
It is important that you gauge what kind of offers your target audience appreciates the most. Is it a direct discount on the bill, or freebies with every meal? In order to build repeat business, it should be a reward program where customers are rewarded after they cross a certain threshold amount. Usually, the reward is about 15% of total spend. For instance, you could throw a free drink worth Rs. 500 after a customer spends about Rs 3,300 at your restaurant.
2) Do not have too many barriers
Make the terms and conditions of the program simple to understand. There shouldn’t be too many rules in place. For example, if a customer can’t use his reward points on weekends, it can ruin their experience and lead to a negative brand image. Similarly, instead of issuing loyalty cards that are easily misplaced, track reward points via an app.
3) Tell them about your loyalty program
Interestingly, almost 50% people have no idea about a restaurant’s reward program. If you have a loyalty program in place, it is important to get the word out. At the same time, it is important to keep those signed to your program engaged through social media, email, and texts. Make sure you use personalisation at all points of communication to make them feel special and drive brand value.
Apart from the food and ambience, it’s the quality of your service that delights your customers, increasing their loyalty towards your restaurant. Check out the Petpooja feedback app, that makes it easy for you to get customer feedback, engage your customers with your loyalty program, and reward them enough to retain them.
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