Many businesses start out strong, put everything they’ve got into opening the business, gaining customers, etc, but then, lose their focus, lose their energy, and ultimately, sometimes, close their business. Many haven’t a clue as to why. Sometimes it’s a matter of poor money management, or not using their advertising money wisely, but I believe in most instances it has a lot to do with customer loyalty/appreciation.
In this economically challenged market, it’s crucial for businesses to look for new and better ways to boost customer loyalty and not take for granted that their customers will continue to spend their money in your establishment. When was the last time you and your management team evaluated your customer interaction and determined what you can do to improve it?
I have some very strong opinions regarding this subject – particularly surrounding the restaurant business. When a restaurant first opens, they’re ROCK STARS, jammed to the gills with customers and then, something happens. Corner cutting, price raising, quality goes down, you name it. We’ve all seen it. I guess, when you’re in the thick of it, the little things add up, and boom! You’re lucky to have 3 customers a night. As business owners, in the Rock Star phase, our egos get inflated and we can’t see the forest for the trees. The customer that comes in from time to time is not important, focus is given to our regulars. But what happens when our regulars find another Rock Star?
How does your business show appreciation?
I have been observing a local business and am very impressed with what they’re doing. It’s a restaurant. I love the food and the ambiance but am not impressed with the way they treat their occasional diners, ie., me :). What I AM impressed with is their customer appreciation program and email marketing. It just makes you want to go back for more. I get 1-2 emails a week. As a designer, I’m wowed by their visuals and simple, clean, clear messages. During their christmas season, they offered gift certificates for half off. Maybe there’s a special during the week, or music or a free appetizer. I love knowing what they’re up to and I’m sure that keeping their customers informed is why I usually have a hard time getting a reservation. AND, the food is consistently good. They’re doing almost everything right.
Have you implemented an email marketing plan for your customers yet?
Loyalty/Appreciation programs for any size business is crucial. If your customer isn’t made to feel special somehow, you will lose them. I don’t care how good your product is, people need to feel important, ESPECIALLY in this economy. Parting with money today is unlike any other time I’ve seen in my lifetime. Consumers are making choices differently than they ever have before. Small business owners have to take this into consideration.
I would love to help! Together, we can come up with a plan that will save your customers and grow your business!