You can improve customer loyalty by paying attention to the small details that customers notice and that you might overlook. As the world grapples with COVID-19, chains and independent restaurants develop strategies to find new ways to do business.
The pandemic presents unique challenges to the sector. Customer loyalty depends on privileged and meaningful personal relationships. Here are five tips for building customer loyalty at an acceptable cost
Start by simply being present, visible and active in your restaurant. This gives small restaurants a great advantage in our world of franchising and impersonal corporate experiences. A large part of customer loyalty is feeling socially connected to the people behind the company. When customers can see you in action, on your social media accounts, they naturally identify with your business.
Offer alternatives to traditional food service, such as home delivery
Communicate efficiently about the delivery or take-away solutions you have in place. Over the past few years, customers have been looking for “restaurants near me” on search engines as a priority. But consumer behaviour has changed. Consumer interest in “delivery” has increased in recent weeks.
Inform your customers well about your home delivery through small digital campaigns on Google or Facebook. This will allow you to target only the areas where you provide home delivery.
Tell customers what you do to protect them.
Communicate the steps you are taking to keep the coronavirus at bay. Post posters and signs at the entrance to your restaurant to inform customers of the safety measures you have put in place. Also publish these measures on your website or social media accounts.
Customers want to be informed about your employees’ good hygiene practices. The implementation of a strict handwashing policy is a matter of course. The presence of hand sanitizer on site and in delivery vehicles and the requirement for staff to wear gloves has become standard.
All staff must wear masks throughout the day. These masks are designed to prevent any staff member who may be unwittingly carrying the virus from spreading it, while giving clients the assurance that their food is “safe”.
Small gestures: samples, badges, personalised gifts
Discounts are expensive. Commercial actions are much more profitable.
Give a free sample on delivery, e.g. a dessert to showcase a product. Prepare a series of badges, key rings or bottle opener magnets to build customer loyalty. These small gestures do not cost much and leave a lasting impression on the recipient.
Continue this effort on a regular basis. In quieter times, pamper your most loyal customers. A personalised gift for your regular customers is an effective way to replace a personal greeting. The badge machines are very flexible and allow you to produce different personalised goodies, for the greatest delight of your customers.
Get involved in the local community
Restaurants: Get involved in your community. This will increase loyalty and sales.
Restaurants are one of the few types of businesses that will always be part of the local community. There is little chance of outsourcing or ordering ready-made meals from outside the city. Take advantage of this by connecting with your immediate environment. Here are some ideas;
– Invite a local musician to give weekly concerts broadcast on Facebook Live
– Install a bench outside for people who come to pick up the order
Remember also that good deeds build loyalty. Donate all your extra resources to a good cause. Before throwing food away, think of all the local NGOs that might need it.
Using loyalty applications
The use of loyalty applications may seem obvious, but it is an incredibly useful strategy for any restaurant owner or manager who wants to build customer loyalty. There are many applications to choose from. Here are a few of them:
Your customers already use their smartphone all the time, so why not use it to your advantage?