Monthly Archives: March 2020

How to Keep Your Customers Attention

How to Keep Your Customers

My heart goes out to you and your team at this difficult time.

I believe it is important we do whatever we can now to put things in place that will help us spring back into action the moment the ‘go’ light comes back on.

One of those actions is to…

Stay on your customers’ radar to keep your customers

You’ve worked so hard to find them in the past, and I’m sure you’ll want to do everything we can to keep your customers and get them back once this situation is over.

Keeping in touch is a great way to continue to maintain the relationship with your customers and keep you in their mind when the time comes for a return visit or when asked to make a recommendation.

There are so many options to stay on their radar, and what works best for you is dependent on your audience, be that social media, email or good old fashioned snail mail, which with a hand written envelope, will always get someone’s attention far more effectively than 10 emails.

Irrespective of the format, the important thing is to stay on their radar (obviously observing GDPR guidelines – check Information Commissioner’s Office website .

What’s happening

Keep your customers up to date with what’s going on.

  • What services (if any) are you still offering. How can people access these? Do they need to cancel any existing bookings or orders if they can’t be fulfilled?
  • Are you taking future bookings with a guarantee of a refund if it can’t go ahead?
  • What’s happening with your team during the outbreak.
  • What are you doing to support your local community?

This isn’t an excuse for a “PLOM party” (Poor Little Old Me) – it’s to talk about the positives that are coming out of this, and to demonstrate to your customers you are still true to your values.

What have you planned for the year ahead?

Maybe you haven’t planned this far ahead yet. So, if that’s the case, ask your customers what they’d like to see.

Keep Your Customers by Adding Value

The quickest and easiest way to create an impression and get remembered by your customers is to send a thank you note to show you appreciate their custom and loyalty in the past, and show you care and are thinking about them.

But, what can you do to educate your customers, whilst building credibility and adding value?

Could you share your knowledge or expertise by giving online classes (or at the very least share ideas via your mailing list or social media) to engage with your customers? With modern technology it’s easy to record and share these lessons either live or pre-recorded.

For example…

  • Ask your head chef to provide a recipe of the week, tips on baking the perfect meringue or crusty bread, a buyers’ guide to choosing fresh fish, easy recipe ideas based on what is in season right now, or anything related to what would normally be on the menu right now.
  • If you are a park or garden, ask your gardening team to share seasonal tips. Or tips from the kitchen garden.
  • For golf courses, share tips on the latest equipment, or techniques to hone their swing.
  • From the spa, ask your spa team to share information on relaxation techniques (much needed right now!), aromatherapy remedies, tips for the perfect pedicure, skin care regimes, etc, whilst they can’t get these done for them.
  • Ask housekeeping for tips on stain removal, cleaning household items such as glass, leather, silk etc. so people can make use of their time stuck at home.
  • If you are a wedding venue ask any of your joint venture partners or preferred suppliers such as florist, photographer, limousines, suit hire for their top tips. Couples will still be getting married even if the event is postponed.
  • If your target market are families with young children, share 10 ideas to keep the kids entertained whilst they are stuck at home.
  • Create a prize draws or competition, with relevant prizes from your own products or services for when you are back to normal.

Get ready for the green light

When we get the first signs things look like getting back to normal, build a sense of anticipation with your customers. What have you planned?

Rebuild the relationship and get your customers excited about the prospect of a visit.

Create a sense of intrigue and curiosity; tell them about your plans, changes you’re making, what’s new (e.g. your new menu, new toiletries, changes to products or services). You then have a reason to invite them back or make an offer.

Send an exclusive invitation to something you’ve got planned that you know they’d love. Start a priority waiting list, so they can jump the queue. Pique their interest with teaser campaigns. Offer incentives for early booking to get the cash flowing again.

Offer your help in booking complementary services – restaurants, (yours or JV partners’), entertainment, outings, taxis, accommodation, attractions. etc. Anything that will make their stay or visit with you easy and ultimately more memorable.

No one wants to be bombarded with sell, sell, sell messages, so strike a balance between letting them know what you’re doing with enough juice to capture their interest without being too salesy.

If you want to keep your customers, don’t leave a return visit (or referral) to chance. Ensure you’re keeping yourself in your customers’ minds; keep in touch.

So when all this is over, you’re the first place people think of to get them out of the house! And keep your customers sane…

Related post “Building a Mailing List

How to keep your team engaged

how to keep your team engaged

How to keep your team engaged

It’s hard enough as a business owner in the best of times. And now more so than ever with the uncertainly and loss of business.

You and I both know that how our team is feeling can have an impact on customers and colleagues alike. So, when times are tough, they are feeling anxious too, and this has a knock-on impact on everyone.

If you want your team to put on a brave face this starts with you.

So, here are my 7 tips to keep your team engaged and productive in these challenging times.

1. Keep your team informed

Your team need reassurance, but they also need to know where they stand. Make a clear statement to your team and be honest with them. For example, if you know you can’t sustain your current staffing levels, discuss the situation openly with them. No one wants to lose their job, but your team will be aware if the impact on your business. Consider reduced hours which may be preferable to redundancy, and increases your chances of retaining that employee once the crisis is over.

I’m not an employment law specialist so I’m not going to advise on process, but suffice to say, follow current advice from your HR advisors.

2. Keeping busy

When you’re quiet it’s easy to slip into bad habits or fritter away time on meaningless tasks. Now’s an opportunity to catch up on all those non urgent but nonetheless important tasks you’ve been shelving for months. The review of your website, staff training, writing up procedures or SOPs. What better time to review your food safety procedures and training?

3. Promote teamwork

Play to the strengths of your team, and ensure they can cover one another if anyone needs to self-isolate, or you need to reduce people’s shifts. Define everyone’s areas of responsibility so there are no gaps and no duplication of effort.

4. Get creative

Look for opportunities. Are there any alternative services you could be providing for customers reluctant to come and visit you in person? A take-away service or home delivery?

Ask your team for ideas and suggestions, and show them you value their opinion. Look around you to see what other businesses with similar offerings are doing. What can you learn from them? Reach out to your customers and ask them what they’d appreciate. (Staying in touch with your customers is a whole topic in itself, so I’ll share my tips on that next week.)

5. Time Off

Stress the importance of staying away if they have any symptoms. Make and share a plan for staff wages so people don’t feel undue financial pressure to work when they are sick. If you can, basic pay for hourly staff who cannot work because they are ill.

In the UK: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available from Day 1 for those unable to work because they are diagnosed with coronavirus, or self-isolating according to Government guidelines.

6. Pay attention

Listen and observe. Keep your ears and eyes open to recognise when people have concerns so you act on these quickly. When everyone is focused on the negatives, it’s easy to miss the tell-tale signs of those who need more from you.

Be approachable, listen and observe so you can provide support when it’s needed.

7. Play from a 10

Lead by example and be a role model. If you are all doom and gloom this inevitably rubs off one your team and in turn, your customers too.

As Zig Zigler said “A positive attitude won’t help you do anything, but it will help you do everything better than a bad attitude will.

Take Action

If you only do one thing to keep your team engaged: Take a few moments today to share your situation with your team. Allow for questions and be prepared to meet with team members in private if they ask.

Here is a Coronavirus Guide for the F&B Industry

Today’s top tip

Stay on your customers’ radar. Even if business is slow, maintain your relationship and keep contact with your customers, so when things get back to normal you’re the first business they come back to. This is a subject in itself and I’ll talk more about this next week.

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Reward Customer Loyalty

reward customer loyalty

How to reward customer loyalty

I had the honour of speaking at an event last week. Not quite my typical event; this was for Farmers Weekly and the attendees were all farmers diversifying or looking to diversify into other businesses, such as hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses. Anything from farm visits with a visitor centre cafe, to online retail of farm produce to bed and breakfasts and camp sites. I learnt so much about the practical considerations for diversifying.

This was in the Lake District and waking up to the view of the snow capped mountains behind Lake Windermere was beautiful. I have to say, this must be the first time I have presented from a farmers’ auction ring! 

As we know, it’s always easier and more cost effective to get more business from an existing customer than to get business from a new customer. My talk focused on some of the pitfalls which leave customers feeling they’ve had a mediocre experience, and having nothing much to compel them to come back again or recommend a venue or business to others. 

One of these pitfalls is leaving customers feeling unappreciated.

This is the number 1 reason customers give for switching to a competitor. Too many businesses only reward new customers in a bid to attract new business, but fail to do anything – or at best very little – to reward the loyalty of existing customers.

How does this make you feel when you are the customer and see offers only applicable to first time customers?

Here are 7 ideas to overcome this potential pitfall, by giving customers recognition and reward customer loyalty to make them feel special…

1. Say thank you

Do something or send something that shows you appreciate their custom. As a minimum this might be a simple but sincere verbal thank you, or a follow up thank you email (observing any GDPR guidelines naturally).  There may be times when you’ve welcomed guests or friends of your existing customers, maybe as part of a party. So, thank both the existing customer and the new customer who’s visited you for the first time.

2. Ask for feedback

A follow up thank you is also a second opportunity to get feedback too. Ask them about their experience. Did it meet or exceed their expectations? Ask for specifics such as what they enjoyed most and any ideas, comments or suggestions they have to make the experience even better. If they’ve previously given feedback, it’s an opportunity to let them know what you’ve done as a result, helping to re-establish trust.

3. Snail Mail

A simple personalised thank you note will not only show your appreciation, but it will give them something to remember you by. There’s nothing quite like something sent by good old-fashioned snail mail.  Even better, if it’s personalised and handwritten on a hand-picked greetings card.

Some think in this web-based age this is out-dated; how would your customers react to receiving something personal in the post, rather than clogging up their email inbox?

4. Rewarding loyalty

Perhaps you want to do a little bit more for your special or regular customers to reward customer loyalty; those that have been your perfect customers and you’d like to see a lot more of (and the chances are they’ll know lots of other people just like themselves, who they might be inclined to tell about you), the organisers of events, anyone who has made referrals that’s brought you extra business over the year, for giving you a glowing testimonial or review, or simply because they put their trust and faith in you to deliver something extraordinary for a special occasion.

Something that’s exclusive, not available to the masses makes people feel special and valued. It could be a simple token memento, or an exclusive offer, or useful information or tips that’s relevant to your business and customers’ interests. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive; it’s the thought that’s gone into it that counts.

5. Personalisation

Never under estimate the impact when you remember someone’s name or their personal preferences.  Do they have any particular likes and dislikes, what is their favourite product, brand, or combinations, do they have any particular requirements?

Do you know any of the personal circumstances that may be relevant to offer something special e.g. their birthday or any special anniversaries, kids’ names and ages, key things happening in their world?

Remembering such details will always be appreciated. Record their personal details and any special requirements so whoever is on duty the welcome your customer receives is consistent.

However, personalisation is not a means of selling or marketing products or services that they do not want or need, but showing you’ve listened and care about them as individuals. It’s about helping them make choices that will delight and enhance their experience with your venue or business. Showing you know and understand them will always be appreciated and increase loyalty and add lifetime value.

6. Celebrate

Mark key milestones in your relationship: thank them when they’ve been with you for a year, or on subsequent anniversaries, when they’ve concluded a big event, when you’ve worked with them on a big project or programme or when they’ve just upgraded to a particular level of service.

7. Reciprocity

The law of reciprocity means that if you give something to your loyal customers you are setting the stage for them to do something for you in return. Whether this is repeat business, a referral or maybe a testimonial, any one of these will add benefit to your business.  So, the more you can do to show your appreciation the greater the chance of staying on their radar and of them remaining loyal to you.

If you only do one thing to reward customer loyalty:

Introduce the concept of GLUE.  Watch here for an explanation: or go to an earlier post here

Today’s top tip

This Friday (6th March) is Employee Appreciation Day. So as well as showing you appreciate your customers, do something to show you appreciate your team, even if it’s just a simple heartfelt thank you.

One way to show you appreciate them and care about them is to ask for anonymous feedback.

Here is the perfect platform to do just that.