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 www.ico.gov.uk) .
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.
- 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”