Building customer loyalty

Increase customer loyalty via customer loyalty programs. See which methods can get you the most loyal customers in the shortest amount of time!

A few weeks back, a couple of my friends and I, got together for some drinks. Now, a drinking night is not a full night without good food to go along with it, so we had to decide which restaurant to order online at One of my friends who happened to live close by mentioned a particular restaurant, saying that its food was excellent, which led to us ordering from there. And he was right, the food was excellent. So excellent that it won’t be so surprising if all my friends and I - continue ordering from there.

That is the power of a loyal customer. Because my friend was loyal to that restaurant, the restaurant has gained six new regulars. Six times the profit. Usually, when a bunch of friends gather around to decide which restaurant to eat from, they will most likely come to a conclusion based on their past experiences, and even if one of them is loyal to your restaurant, your chances of gaining new customers are huge. So how do you go about converting your customers to loyal customers?

First and foremost, delicious food. If your food isn’t great, no matter what tactics you try, you will never have a customer reorder. The only reason why my other friends decided to add that restaurant to our list of favourites was that the food was simply delicious and the presentation/packing was great! So, make sure that your food is great and you'll have a couple of regulars without really trying anything.

Next, make your customers feel special. Everyone likes to feel special. If a customer starts having a personal connection with the restaurant, they’re more likely to come back again as well as recommend it to friends. There are multiple ways to go about making your customers feel special, with your staff being crucial in this role. Train your staff to remember customers if they come in more than once. If the customer orders the same dish every time, get them to remember what the dish is. Try to remember what their names are or preferred dishes.

Once your staff remembers people by their names and what dishes they enjoy eating the most, they could start doing things to make the customer feel special. They could reserve the customer’s favourite table, call them by their name to get them to a chair, and ask them something like “the usual, sir?” This type of interaction is simply bound to ensure that your customer knows that you care about him, which will make him care about you. And by you, I mean you. Ask your staff about your regular customers, and go talk to them the next time they come into your restaurant. As the owner of the restaurant, talking and greeting your customers will undoubtedly be the a memorable moment for them, even the highlight of the day – something they will remember- it will also provide valuable feedback, you should try asking at the end of the customers' visit, how you could improve. Engaging with the customers will provide valuable insights to turn your business into yet a more profitable and customer centric organization. At the end of the day, its all about the customer right?

But what if your customer doesn’t exactly come into your store? What if he orders online? How do you ensure that your customer is loyal?

If the customer has ordered multiple times from your restaurant, then you can assume that they like your food as well as your services. Just go through your history with that customer, and if you decide he is more likely to be loyal, then you can start making him feel special. How? There are multiple ways to do. Train your delivery staff to remember people on a personal level and report back to you about them. If the delivery person notices that the particular household has four people in it, send in four complimentary drinks the next time they order, or perhaps a dessert. It’s a tiny cost for your restaurant, but the return you get will be much higher. I mean, imagine opening up the door to the delivery guy and getting more than you ordered!

You could try sending them a simply handwritten note with a 'thank you' once you deliver the order. This way, your customer won't feel like he's just another statistic on a graph, and that your restaurant considers him to be important and valuable.

So that’s what you need to do. Give all your customers delicious food, make your regulars feel special, and try to attract even more regulars. All three of those put together and there’s nothing to stop you from succeeding!

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