Customer retention is, as you know, of utmost importance. In terms of advertising dollars, it can cost up to three times as much to attract a new customer than it does to encourage repeat business. You are, of course, doing your best to provide every guest with a stellar experience when they come in, which is the most important factor in encouraging them to return. Wifi marketing and the data you derive from it can give you the edge you need to knock it out of the park. Not to mention, it makes your job that much easier because you have a built in mechanism for keeping track of who is new, and who is coming back for that all-important second visit.
Before You Set Up A Rewards System, Find Out What Your Customer Values
The type of reward that you offer is going to depend a great deal on what kind of restaurant you have and what your general atmosphere is. In a fine dining establishment, a two-for-one reward on appetizers isn’t likely to go over well. On the other hand, that reward may work wonderfully in a more casual, downtown eatery. When you engage with your customers in-house and on social media accounts, find out what rewards would be most meaningful to them personally. One of the biggest benefits of building the two-way communication we talked about in the last chapter is that you can ask them! When you have a strong rapport, your customers will be thrilled to provide feedback on how you can best serve them. Instead of a guessing game, you will have a focus group filled with enthusiastic participants.
Keep Costs Under Control By Rewarding With Validation, Not Just Discounts
Giving away free food and drink after so many visits can work, but depending on your circumstances it may be cost-prohibitive. Luckily, there are many ways you can reward repeat business that don’t cost a thing. Again, this will depend on the values of your customer and the type of establishment you have. A “Best Customer” wall of photos could be a fun choice, and in the right restaurant could add to the overall feeling of community and ambiance. In another restaurant, a sly tip-off to the front of house manager that you’d like to personally greet a certain table the next time they come in can make all the difference. The thing these both have in common is that they rely on goodwill, not freebies, to show your customers that you care.
Encourage Guests To Bring In New Business Through Your Rewards
If you do go the route of providing free food or drink as a reward for visiting, don’t miss that opportunity to encourage your faithful customers to bring friends in! A free drink, plus one for a friend is a great way to let your regulars know that you want to meet their friends and engage more with their community.
Slice Data More Finely To Better Target Customers
Just knowing whether or not someone has been in before is very valuable. If you want to get even more benefit from your wifi marketing data, just analyse it more closely. Divide the subset of “return customers” into, for instance, “return customers who come in once a month,” “return customers who bring new customers,” and “weekly diners.” Armed with that information, you can build rewards programs that turn monthy diners into weekly diners. In the same vein, customers who are already bringing friends regularly can be encouraged to host their celebrations with you. Making the most of wifi marketing data is also making the most of what your customers are already getting from their relationship with your restaurant.
Recognize Returning Customers With Condition Based Messaging
In the last chapter, we discussed condition-based messaging, and how it can trigger a response to your customers’ actions. Using this technology, you will be able to set up conditions like, “Email After Fourth Visit,” or “Email When Multiple Visits Per Month Are Detected.” Those messages can be set up to convey rewards based on those behaviors, automating the process so you get all of the benefits of a personalized rewards program without doing any extra work.
Use Location Based Communication To Encourage Customer Loyalty
When customers are in your area and your wifi detects them, you can use SMS advertising or location based emailsto remind them of the great time they had last time they saw you. This is a big preventative measure against losing business to competitors in your area. Most customers are going to be happy just to get a great meal, they usually don’t have a very strong opinion about where that meal comes from. A perfectly timed communication from you might be the perfect thing to push them into making the decision to come back.
Use Social Media Information To Target Special Occasions
Once you’ve used social logins to connect with your customers, the next step is making that connection work for you (and them!) A great way to do that is to look for birthdays, anniversaries, or other special life events they have posted on their public profile. Shoot them a message during the week or so before these events, and get in on the ground floor of their planning process. Not only does this give you a way to get your foot in the door, it makes your customer feel special and appreciated. That, after all is what the hospitality industry is all about.
Regular customers are, in many ways, the best measure of a restaurant. Who your regulars are, their feelings about you, how you treat them- these things say a lot about your establishment. Make sure you use everything at your disposal to show returning customers how much you appreciate their company. In the end, loyalty rewards programs reward you more than your customers because they reinforce the feelings of admiration and respect you’ve worked so hard to build into your service.