The Secret to Getting (and Retaining) More Customers

Some businesses seem to have it all figured out…

Post a photo of mouthwatering $2 tacos paired with a well-deserved margarita on a Tuesday. Watch as hundreds of customers line up and flock in for their fix. Earn lots of money. Repeat.

If you’re using social media to appeal to consumer senses, bravo—this is a great way to get more customers in the door to try new and popular dishes. Our question for you though, is how do you keep them coming back for their old favorites?

We try so hard to get our customers to know us, but just how well do we really know them? The truth is, getting to know your customers still plays such a large role in building loyalty, which is what ultimately keeps them in your seats—not your competitor’s down the road. This month, try some of the techniques highlighted below to connect with your guests in honor of ‘Get to Know Your Customers Day’ on October 18th.

Start off simple

You don’t need to know every one of your customers’ home addresses and favorite movies, but asking for a name every now and then is a start—especially for those customers with familiar faces. Training your staff to engage in light conversation may seem like a given, but it’s something that’s often either compromised due to lack of time, or just simply forgotten about. Even the slightest of conversations can leave a lasting impression on guests and provoke them to return again soon.

Take the conversation online

Social media is one of the easiest ways to reach your customers, and is especially convenient for allowing them to reach you too. Get on your Facebook or Instagram to ask for suggestions or take a poll; which of our appetizers could you not live without?! Time to end the debate… do you prefer blue cheese or ranch with our famous wings? What goes better with our signature cheeseburger; curly fries or waffle fries? These questions seem simple and kind of silly, but you’d be surprised how much passion your customers actually have about your menu items. Posing these types of questions can also give you some insight and fresh ideas for new menu items too. Or perhaps, based on your guests’ responses, you can develop and host new monthly events that are sure to be a hit.

Humanize your business

Did you know that photos with faces receive more engagement (likes and comments) on Instagram than photos without faces? Keep this in mind when posting on your business profiles; as much as we love seeing pictures of your food, we like to see your face every once in a while too! Showing the faces behind your brand (an owner, the general manager, your hardworking servers and kitchen staff) takes little effort and can go a long way in terms of building customer loyalty. Think about it—it’s a lot harder to betray a familiar face than a plate of Chicken Parmesan.

Just say hello

One of the easiest ways to engage with people online is to let them talk about themselves. So, simply try saying hello on social media and ask your followers to introduce themselves and share their favorite thing about your business. It will be rewarding to see how many people have some sort of attachment to your business; anything from, ‘I have to come in at least once a week for your chicken salad!’ to ‘I had my first date with my wife here and now we come with our grand kids!’ Check out this example from Sara J’s Seafood Restaurant in Garden City, SC.

Dig deeper with the right tools

Making an effort to get to know your customers on a more personal level will absolutely drive repeat business, but putting effort towards learning their habits as consumers will greatly benefit you as well. Luckily, with the right tools, the “effort” involved in this process is minimal. Here are 3 examples to show what we mean:

  1. Do you offer free WiFi to your guests? Hopefully the answer is yes—and hopefully you’re using a device that does all the work for you by collecting your guests’ email addresses, tracking their visits, and sending them automated emails on their birthdays or just at random to make sure they’re keeping your business in mind. If your device can’t do all of this for you, stop what you’re doing and check out Wi-Fi Connect.
  2. Next, your website. You already know that a website is essential in order for people to find you and all of your important information—but if your website isn’t providing you with important information about your visitors, it’s time to get a new one. Knowing exactly how much website traffic you’re getting, from which places, and at which times can help you make smarter business decisions based on real-time data.
  3. Last but not least, let’s talk online ordering. Allowing your customers to place orders online can boost revenue by 30%, making it pretty much a no-brainer. But again, your online ordering system should be just as helpful for you as it is for your customers. Using a platform like Online Ordering PRO is like having a mini robot assistant by your side. It tells you who’s placing orders, when and how they’re placing orders, which items are selling and which ones aren’t, and which of your delivery zones are most popular. The best part? Online Ordering PRO can even send automated emails to your customers who haven’t ordered in a while—reminding them that their favorite meal is just a few clicks away.

‘Get to Know Your Customers Day’ occurs four times each year (the third Thursday of each quarter)—and for good reason. Getting to know your customers’ interests and habits is a simple tactic that can prove to be extremely lucrative for your business. Do you make getting to know your customers a priority? Share your ideas and practices with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!


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