Repeat customers provide the bread-and-butter bottom line to your business. So, how do you get more of them?
Regulars are gold—from both the bottom-line and from a word-of-mouth marketing perspective. For instance, a customer who likes your business will promote you to his/her friends, family and colleagues. It is much better financially in the long run to maintain your repeat customers rather than always struggling to attract new customers.
So, how do you transform a new customer into a regular one? And how do you nurture that relationship into a sustaining, mutually beneficial one?
1. Service with a smile
The most basic rule of customer service – be friendly and greet your customers with a smile. And train your employees to do the same!
2. Get to know your customers.
Everybody likes to be remembered. Learn your customers’ names. Sit down and have a conversation with them. Try to remember what they drink or where they like to sit. Personalize the relationship, so it’s deepened, resonating with the customer when they’re deciding where to eat out.
3. Give them free stuff.
Really, small gestures go a long way here with making customers feel appreciated. For instance, if you have samples of a new product, you could give your customers a taste.
4. Ask them for input.
The worst thing is when a customer leaves unhappy and you don’t know about it. Your regulars will tell you how you’ve screwed up and will give you an opportunity to fix it. Regulars are a wealth of constructive criticism—tap into them.
5. Treat new customers like regulars
Yes, you absolutely need to treat regulars well, but the only way to cultivate new regulars is to treat new customers with the same consideration. Your customer service should be consistent across the board, and then they’ll be loyal to you.