Tag Archives: upselling

How to get your customers spending more and thanking you for it

Vector value added stamp

One way to grow your sales is to increase the spend of each of your customers, be that on each occasion they visit or buy from you, or through repeat business. They’ve already bought from you so they now know you, hopefully like what you have offered them, and by now they’ll be able to trust you. So you already have a relationship.

The challenge is we (and our team) often feel reluctant to “Upsell”. We don’t want to be pushy or be seen to be manipulating customers into buying something they don’t want.

But just think about it for a moment….

How would you feel on Christmas morning when your child (or grandchild) excitedly opens their new toy and wants to play with it right now. They turn to you and say “But Daddy, it’s not working”. You then see those words “Batteries not included”?

Imagine the disappointment!

Or you buy them that electric drum kit they’ve craved for so long, and all they want to do all through the holidays is practise on it…….. And at the point you are about to pull the plug on it (quite literally) a friends says “But didn’t you get them a set of headphones too?”

…If only someone had suggested this sooner.

Rather than feeling uncomfortable about someone trying to sell you something you didn’t want or need you’d probably be frustrated or even annoyed if they hadn’t suggested the additional items such as the batteries or the headphones.

So instead of thinking “upsell” think in terms of “adding value”.

Sometimes this will lead to an extra sale, but as long as it as it adds value for the customer they are unlikely to mind you making a suggestion.

Three easy ways we can add value:

  • Pre-empt typical questions or problems our customers need solving. Think about what they might want or need, offer alternatives and suggestions for offers and deals that might complement what they’ve ordered
  • Make personal recommendations: customers love getting the insider or local knowledge based on your experience and what fits their situation or tastes
  • Remember them and their preferences

Adding value is not just about the potential sale today; it’s about giving the customer a better all round experience. It might simply be exposing the customer to other options he or she may not have considered previously, giving them something they might have forgotten to order, or never even thought of.

It’s a longer term strategy which could lead to additional business at a later date.

What to promote

So in order to do this effectively the first thing is to determine which are the products or services you wish to promote. It obviously makes sense to be promoting high profit items, but there can be a danger in using this as the only criteria.

Unless what you are promoting is perceived as value to the customer, it’s unlikely the sale will be achieved, and does little to build your customer’s loyalty or trust. It’s also important to distinguish between high selling price and profitability and appropriateness to meet the customers’ needs.

For example upselling to a more expensive bottle of wine when it does not appeal to the customers tastes, or upselling an annual admission ticket to someone who doesn’t live locally and is unlikely to make use of it.

You end up with an unhappy and disgruntled customer. So a very short term gain on your part, and hardly likely to lead to a naturally loyal customer.

Spot the opportunities

Look at all the situations that lend themselves as an opportunity to add value – not just in everyone’s own department – but across all areas.

Know your audience and review the buying patterns of your most profitable customers; what types of things do they frequently buy together?

Put yourself in their shoes; what might be a logical accompaniment for the main thing they are buying (in the same way those batteries are a logical purchase if you’re buying a toy that runs on batteries).

  1. At theatres – a programme for tonight’s performance, an interval drink, limited edition souvenirs
  2. For salons – when being pampered for a special occasion, would they like to get their nails done whilst having their hair done, or take home a special lotion to complete their beauty regime
  3. For hotels – options on accommodation – room upgrades, special packages, champagne in rooms, recommending quiet times for spa or fitness centre
  4. In the restaurant – bottled water, suggestions for starters, accompaniments, side orders, deserts, desert wine, specialist coffees, after dinner drinks
  5. Gift items or jewellery – optional gift wrapping, gift cards
  6. Visitor attractions and museums – upgrading to annual tickets, access to exclusive areas, invitations to special events, cross promoting concessions’ facilities such as the café.
  7. At the bar or cafe – premium beers, tapas, home-made cakes with their coffee
  8. Follow ups – Does your service warrant an ongoing programme of sessions for best results, e.g. therapies, sports lessons, beauty treatments

I’m sure you’ll have many more specifics for your own operation.

Think ahead and try to anticipate things your customers might appreciate.

For example if a customer is buying a gift or to treat someone for a special occasion think ahead to what else they might be looking for such as gift wrapping, or card, champagne, flowers, celebration cake, etc

If what you provide involves the great outdoors and braving the elements what else might your customers need or want so that their experiences aren’t marred by bad weather? Having appropriate wet weather gear, hip flasks, and umbrellas are just a couple of things you might think of making available.

Even if you can’t offer all these yourself can you team up with other local businesses to make everything nice and easy for your customers?

Tell your customers

Don’t rely on telepathy for your customers to know what’s on offer! Have other products on show and give plenty of information on other services. And let customers know why this might be a good idea for them.

Ensure you and your team are able to talk confidently about each of the products and services available. You can’t sell something you don’t understand.

Allow your team to experience all the products and services first hand – this will not only make them more memorable, there will be more willingness to promote if they are confident to talk about it, and it will certainly be easier to evoke emotional appeal through vivid descriptions of feel, taste, smell, if they’ve experienced them themselves.

It’s also about timing. If you’re offering something that needs time to enjoy or savour, there’s no point telling them about it just as they are about to leave.

However, it’s always going to be easier to sell something of lower value at the end of the ‘sale’. Take for example when you buy a new suit, and you then get offered a shirt to go with it. The price of the shirt by comparison is small, so it’s an easy sale. Done the other way round has a very different result.

Judge your customers and when is the ‘right time’. For example in a restaurant selling desserts – ask too soon and people say they are still too full, and go straight on to coffee, ask too late and they have gone off the idea, and want to head off home. So it’s sometimes a fine line.

Train your team

Demonstrate to your team the importance of offering additional items to add value for your customers. Allow them to practise: for example how to ask open questions to identify customers’ needs and how to respond and make suggestions.
It’s all very well knowing what to say, but you know how sometimes when you come to say something the words just don’t trip off the tongue as you might hope!

Let your team practise in a safe environment, based on different scenarios.

And most importantly give them authority to look for opportunities and make suggestions and personal recommendations.

It all adds up to giving value, and making sure your customers don’t leave without their batteries….


Give customers a reason to return

exclusive offers for existing customers

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me…

 

Tip #2

Give customers a reason to return.

Show your appreciation and give something of value for encourage your customers back in the New Year.

Make your loyal customers feel special by putting together bonuses, deals or events which are exclusive to them.

Even if it’s not for them personally; if it’s something they can share or pass to a friend, it’s the gesture that counts.

Set up privileged access to special products, upgraded services, valuable information, previews, invitations to private events, or exclusive deals. Something that’s of value to them, and not available to new customers.

The more exclusive the better.


A Ray of Sunshine

I wasn’t in the best of spirits when I boarded the train home from Manchester yesterday. I’d already been kicking myself I hadn’t booked a taxi from my client’s premises as when I left it was pouring with rain; so naturally there wasn’t a cab in sight.wet and windy

Arriving at the station with only minutes to spare I decided it was quicker to walk the stairs than stand stationary amongst the crowd on the escalator; only to catch my heel near the top of the stairs and watch my suitcase skedaddle down the steps as I lay on all fours!

Minutes later we were pulling out of the station and as the PA announcements started I wasn’t paying any attention….

That was at least until the shop manager broke into the verse! This was a Virgin train, and so maybe he’d been inspired by the Virgin safety video (if you haven’t seen it, take a look below). Well, it certainly got everybody’s attention.

It was a little ray of sunshine on a wet Thursday afternoon.

Now, I’d have to admit if he’d said the same thing as we left every station it could have got a little tedious. But he didn’t. Every time he made a new announcement he came up with some other witty repartee.

So by then I was curious to see whether or not he could deliver all he promised! I wouldn’t normally make the walk through six or seven carriages for the sake of a cup of tea, but I was now intrigued to meet Damien.

I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. Every single passenger who walked through or stopped at the shop while I was there was greeted with a big smile and friendly banter. Service was helpful and swift. And what’s more he made suggestions and recommendations so I’m positive his sales increased as a result.

The mere fact I felt compelled to write about this proves this made a memorable customer experience. And this had nothing to do with Damien’s skills to make tea or handle cash. It was all down to personality and attitude.

So if you want to give your customers a little ray of sunshine, focus on recruiting people with the personality and attitude. You can teach the rest.

….. and here’s the Virgin safety video – a refreshing change don’t you think?

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Batteries not included

How to get your customers spending more and thanking you for it

One of the ways to grow your sales is to increase the spend of each of your customers each time they visit or buy from you. They’ve already bought from you so they now know you, hopefully like what you have offered them, and by now they’ll be able to trust you. So you already have a relationship.

The challenge is we (and our team) often feel reluctant to “upsell”. We don’t want to be pushy or be seen to be manipulating customers into buying something they don’t want.

But just think about it for a moment….

How would you feel on Christmas morning when your child (or grandchild) excitedly opens their new toy and wants to play with it right now. They turn to you and say “But Daddy, it’s not working”. You then see those words “Batteries not included”?

Imagine the disappointment.

Or you buy them that electric guitar they’ve craved for so long, and all they want to do all through the holidays is practise on it…….. And at the point you are about to pull the plug on it (quite literally) a friends says “But didn’t you get them a set of headphones too?”

If only someone had suggested this sooner!

Rather than feeling uncomfortable about someone trying to sell you something you didn’t want or need you’d probably be frustrated or even annoyed if they hadn’t suggested the additional items such as the batteries or the headphones.

Equally when somebody is coming to us to have a good time, by letting them know about other products or services that might complement what they’re already having or doing, you can really help to enhance the whole experience. (As well as helping your bottom line!)

Wikipedia describes upselling as ‘a sales technique whereby a salesperson induces the customer to purchase more expensive items, upgrades, or other add-ons in an attempt to make a more profitable sale’. I’m not sure I like this description as it implies it’s very one sided in favour of the business, with little benefit to the customer at all.

Although upselling usually involves marketing more profitable services or products, it can also be simply exposing the customer to other options he or she may not have considered previously. Upselling implies selling something that is more profitable or otherwise preferable for the seller instead of the original sale’.

But is it just about increasing the customer spend, or is it also about giving the customer a better all round experience, giving them something they might have forgotten to order, or never even thought of?

So instead thinking “upsell” think in terms of “adding value”.

 

What to promote

So in order to do this effectively the first thing is to determine which are the products or services you wish to promote.  It obviously makes sense to be promoting high profit items, but there can be a danger in using this as the only criteria.

Unless what you are promoting is perceived as value to the customer, it’s unlikely the sale will be achieved, and does little to build your customer’s loyalty or trust.  It’s also important to distinguish between high selling price and profitability and appropriateness to meet the customers’ needs.  For example upselling to a more expensive bottle of wine when it does not appeal to the customers tastes, or upselling an annual admission ticket to someone who doesn’t live locally and is unlikely to make use of it.  You end up with an unhappy and disgruntled customer. So a very short term gain on your part, and hardly likely to lead to a naturally loyal customer.

 

Spot the opportunities

Look at all the situations that lend themselves as an opportunity to add value – not just in everyone’s own department – but across all areas.

Know your audience and review the buying patterns of your most profitable customers; what types of things do they frequently buy together?

Put yourself in their shoes; what might be a logical accompaniment for the main thing they are buying (in the same way that batteries are a logical purchase if you’re buying a toy that runs on batteries).

  • At salons – If clients are looking to get glam for a special occasion, would they like to get their nails done whilst having their hair done, or take home a special lotion to complete their beauty regime
  • For hotels – options on accommodation – room upgrades, special packages, champagne in rooms, recommending quiet times for spa or fitness centre
  • In the restaurant – bottled water, suggestions for starters, accompaniments, side orders, deserts, desert wine, specialist coffees, after dinner drinks
  • Attractions and museums – upgrading to annual tickets, access to exclusive areas, invitations to special events, cross promoting concessions’ facilities such as the café.
  • At the bar or cafe – branded beers, snack items, pastries with their coffee
  • Follow ups – Does your service warrant an ongoing programme of sessions for best results, e.g. therapies, sports lessons, beauty treatments

I’m sure you’ll have many more specifics for your own operation.

Think ahead and try to anticipate things your customers might appreciate.

For example if someone is coming to you to buy a gift or to treat someone for a special occasion think ahead to what else they might be looking for such as gift wrapping, or card, champagne, flowers, celebration cake, etc

If what you provide involves the great outdoors and braving the elements what else might your customers need or want so that their experiences aren’t marred by bad weather? Having appropriate wet weather gear, hip flasks, and umbrellas are just a couple of things you might think of making available.

(There may be plenty of additional opportunities to team up with other businesses who share your customers, but let’s save that for another day…)

 

Tell your customers

Don’t rely on telepathy for your customers to know what’s on offer! Have other products on show and give plenty of information on other services. And let customers know the benefits.

Ensure you and your team are able to talk confidently about each of the products and services available. You can’t sell something you don’t understand (think Curry’s on a Saturday afternoon, when you ask a newbie 16 year old sales assistant about the features of the TV you’re looking to buy……)

Allow your team to experience all the products and services first hand – this will not only make them more memorable, there will be more willingness to promote if they are confident to talk about it, and it will certainly be easier to evoke emotional appeal through vivid descriptions of feel, taste, smell, if they’ve experienced them themselves.

It’s also about timing.  If you’re offering something that needs time to enjoy or savour, there’s no point telling them about it just as they are about to leave.

However, it’s always going to be easier to sell something of lower value at the end of the ‘sale’. Take for example when you buy a new suit, and you then get offered a shirt to go with it. The price of the shirt by comparison is small, so it’s an easy sale. Done the other way round has a very different result.

Judge your customers and when is the ‘right time’. For example in a restaurant selling desserts – ask too soon and people say they are still too full, and go straight on to coffee, ask too late and they have gone off the idea, and want to head off home. So it’s sometimes a fine line.

 

Train your team

Demonstrate to your team the importance of offering additional items to add value for your customers. Allow them to practise:  for example how to ask open questions to identify customers’ needs and how to respond and make suggestions.

It’s all very well knowing what to say, but you know how sometimes when you come to say something the words just don’t trip off the tongue as you might hope!  Let your team practise in a safe environment, based on different scenarios. And most importantly give them authority to look for opportunities and make suggestions and personal recommendations.

It all adds up to giving value, and making sure your customers don’t leave without their batteries….

 

Join me on my free webinar on Monday 3rd December “7 keys to staying on your customers’ radar to get the easy business that’s right under your nose”     Click here to register

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Are your team ruining all your marketing efforts?

It doesn’t matter how much you spend on your marketing strategy, how great your SEO, how complimentary your online reviews or how many thousands of pounds you spend on your refurbishment. At the end of the day if your customers get anything less than great service you won’t retain them and you’re back to square one.

The customer experience that you create is your single most valuable competitive advantage.

So who is responsible for ensuring your customers get a fantastic experience? We all know it’s everyone, not just front of house, but does every position get the same focus when it comes to the impact they have on customer care.

Here’s my 10 point plan to get your team fully contributing to your marketing efforts

1. Values

Define your values. What is important to you and what is important to your ideal customers (and ensure these two are in alignment or you’ll have a tough time being authentic). Then put systems and resources in place to enable everyone to live by these values.

2. Recruit

I know it’s a bit of a cliché to say recruit on attitude, but I do believe it’s key. Only recruit people who can live by your values; if what’s important to you isn’t important to your team members you will be fighting a losing battle to get them to live up to them.

3. Share

Your team need to understand your values and what these mean in practical terms – not just a list of words. Discuss your expectations; what will your team be doing as a matter of course to achieve these; what are your non-negotiables. And then ensure there are no mixed messages; you set the example.

4. Train

Train your team in the systems and framework, but leave them the freedom to work within this to show their own personality. This will not only mean they will appear more natural with your customers (we can all spot the scripted lines a mile off), but helps to build their confidence and encourages them to make decisions. If they know the result you are aiming for it allows scope for creativity too.

5. Feedback

Give regular feedback and recognition when someone has shown excellent or even good examples customer service, to encourage more of the same. Encourage your team to evaluate their own performance too, so they get into the habit of learning from their experiences – successes and mistakes – and ensure your management team give the appropriate support when needed.

6. Involve

Involve all your team in all stages of the customer journey and to look for areas to improve. It will be easier for people from a different department to look at things from a customers’ perspective, so for example if you are a hotel,  enable the kitchen team to see bedrooms and for reception to experience the restaurant (at breakfast as well as lunch and dinner) for the conferencing team the spa, housekeeping to review the website or test how easy it is to make a booking – either on or offline.

7. Strengths

Identify and capitalise on your teams’ strengths. Look for talent or skills in particular activities where individuals might have an opportunity to really shine. This builds pride in the job and a sense of responsibility. This might be something you don’t do already but that offers an opportunity to do something different or special for your customers, giving you a USP, and the team member something that helps keep them motivated.

8. Authority

Give your team the authority they need to make decisions based on their role and individual strengths. Nothing frustrates a customer more than being told by a member of staff that they don’t have the authority to make a decision or approve a simple request. Even more so when the only person who can make the decision is nowhere to be found.

9. Reward

Give your team incentives to go the extra mile with your customers and build loyalty. I’m not talk there about monetary rewards that are forgotten five minutes after they’ve been given, but things that show you really appreciate the efforts people have gone to. Sometimes a simple handwritten note from the manager or owner can make someone feel valued. Time off might be the most valuable reward you can give someone as a thank you. Or do something that’s a win win such as a visit to a sister (or competitor) site and share their observations with the rest of their team when they return. Find out what’s of value to them; not everyone will be motivated by the same incentives.

10. Inform

Keep your team informed of anything that might impact your customers in any way. What’s happening where – both within the business and locally. Knowing what’s on in your town, or traffic conditions that might affect your customer’s onward journey can make all the difference to an OK experience, and one that becomes memorable. Ask your team for their feedback too – capture customers’ feedback, any customers’ preferences to keep for future visits, suggestions on how service can be improved. Your team are much closer to your customers than you are and will see opportunities to enhance the customer experience so ask for their ideas and be prepared to act on the.

 

All these activities will certainly have a knock on effect on your customers’ experience, and greatly contribute to your marketing efforts.

 

 

 


5 Keys to Customer Loyalty

Why is loyalty important

There are only 3 ways to get more sales – get new customers, get customers to spend more, and get customers to come back more often.  Most businesses focus all their marketing efforts on the first option of getting more customers and miss the easier option of getting more sales from existing customers. It’s certainly a lot harder  (and more expensive) to gain a new customer than it does in getting repeat business from your existing ones.

So whatever your business be it a bar, hotel, B&B or restaurant, any business needs to place as strong an emphasis on keeping existing customers as it does on gaining new ones.

What you are doing to convert this extra business into loyal customers who will return time and again?

Loyal customers who know, like and trust you are also far more likely to refer you to others. So even if a repeat visit isn’t on the cards they may still generate more business for you indirectly.

Here are five key factors in establishing customer loyalty. None of these are new or revolutionary, but there may be one or two areas where you may want to make some minor changes to be making the best of the opportunities.

 

Understand and Love your customers

I won’t dwell on this point as I covered this in a recent post, but bear in mind no one will want to do business with you if there’s no rapport between you. The more at ease you are and the more you have in common with your customers the better you’ll feel and the better the experience they have too.

Show you understand your customers’ needs. The more you get to know your customers the easier it is to anticipate their needs, and deliver what they want on a consistent basis to keep them satisfied. Keep up-to-date with what your customers want from you by listening to them. Get to know your customers and be visible in your bar, restaurant or hotel, making personal contact with your customers to build rapport and trust. They are then far more likely to tell you what they want and what would encourage them to return.

Avoid being so bound by your own rules that you can’t be flexible. If they’d like something from the restaurant menu in the bar, or a dish from the a la carte to replace something on the table d’hôtel is it such an issue? If a guest wants a lie in and would like breakfast at 11.30, is this really that big a problem if it means they enjoy their stay and tell their friends? If they’d like to take their desert home in a goody bag because they are too full to enjoy it, then let them.

 

Giving Outstanding Service

Get the basics right. Ensure your customers’ second, third, or 30th visit is as good as their first. Have systems in place to ensure you’re able to deliver the same level of service on a consistent basis. Take the customer journey regularly, and see everything from a customer’s perspective. Be sure to under promise and over deliver. With regular customers this means continuous improvement, as they will have set expectations, which we need to strive to exceed on every visit. Simple things delivered well will always be better than trying to be over sophisticated and delivering it badly.

Wow your customer Do something different that help you to stand out from your competition. Home in on the things that are of high value to your customers but low cost to you so you can give added value. Give people a reason to talk about you. Always look for an opportunity to go that extra mile to wow your customer to make it really difficult for them to ever contemplate not coming back to you. Always leave them with that open invitation and tempt them to return.

Last impressions. What will your customers remember most about their visit to your bar, hotel or restaurant? What happens in the last few moments of their visit that will undoubtedly influence their lasting impression? Show you appreciate their custom; a sincere thank you in person goes a long way. Give them a little memento to take home with them as a lasting reminder: a box of homemade petit fours, jam or pickles or gift bag of your exclusive toiletries for your leisure guests, or quality logoed accessories for your corporate market. Obviously this needs to be in line with your margins, but even something as small as a print out of the ingredients of their favourite cocktail or the recipe of a dish they asked about, or printing out directions for their onward journey.

 

Spot Your opportunities

Listen to customers so you can spot opportunities for additional sales. Not just for your own business, but for other local, sister or complimentary businesses too. A visit to a neighbouring attraction, place of interest or even another hospitality business might still generate spin off business for you (and vice versa).

Ensure everyone fully understands your products and services so they can spot opportunities. This doesn’t mean ramming unwanted offerings down people’s throats, but picking up on an interest or need and helping to find the right solution or offering suggestions that the guest or visitor may not have thought of themselves or been aware of – a win-win.

Train and empower your team to be flexible so they can tailor offers to best suit the customers’ needs and make appropriate recommendations.

You team also need to know the level of service that your customers expect, and have the appropriate training, tools and systems in place in order for them to deliver this. Brief your team so that they too can recognise and remember your loyal customers and empower them to deliver what your customers want and expect. In the unfortunate event that your customers have cause to complain, give your staff the training, confidence and authority to deal with complaints promptly. Your recovery of the situation can in itself earn you brownie points.

 

Acknowledge Loyalty

I read recently it’s estimated that over two thirds of customers will fail to return if they feel unappreciated. This is the number one reason businesses lose customers.

Ask for feedback. Never take your regular customers for granted; ask for their feedback and resolve any shortfalls quickly. Problems or challenges are often your opportunity to shine and leave a positive lasting impression if dealt with positively. Now’s a chance to exceed expectations. Face to face feedback will always win over a comments form or questionnaire.  Ask them what they like and what disappoints them if anything, so you can learn from this and continually improve.  Customers will be flattered if you ask for their opinions. So also ask for their feedback on how things can be improved and their recommendations and new ideas. Then keep them up to date with the changes they’ve made to demonstrate that you have been listening. What a great excuse to invite them back again to show them the changes you’ve implemented?

Show your appreciation of their custom with a simple thank you message. Naturally you’ll do this in person. But for B&Bs or hotels you might follow up with a simple personalised thank you note a few days later to show your appreciation. Anything that will give them something to remember you by, especially if it is handwritten and tailored to them. Some think that in this web based age that this is out dated; how would your customers react to receiving something in the post, rather than clogging up their email inbox?

Remember them. Not only addressing your customers by name (although don’t under estimate the impact when someone remembers your name especially when you aren’t expecting it – and getting the spelling right when you’re writing it down). It’s also about remembering their preferences. Do they have any particular likes and dislikes, what is their favourite table or room, do they have any particular requirements such as a late check in or special diet. How do they like their drinks mixed? Do we know their birthday or any special anniversaries? Remembering such details will always be appreciated. And although you may know this regular customer, do your staff know them too. Record their personal details and any special requirements so whoever is on duty the welcome your customer receives is consistent.

Reward their loyalty with exclusive deals that have genuine benefits. How does it make you feel when you see promotions offering special deals for new customers that aren’t available to you as an existing customer? Make your loyal customers feel special by putting together packages or deals which are exclusive to them. This again demonstrates your appreciation of their custom, as well as potentially prompting additional bookings. As a loyal customer, the last thing you want to hear about is an offer that’s only available to ‘new’ customers.

Know your competition. Keep an eye on your competitors, what they are charging, new services they offer, improvements, marketing promotions, etc. Make sure your services are the best value for the money. You do not necessarily have to lower your prices when your competitors do, but make sure your customers know that you are worth the extra money. Stay competitive. I’m not just talking about other hospitality businesses; your customers will compare you with anyone else who delivers a service. So as long as you deliver a five-star service you’re going to compare favourably with all your ‘competition’.

 

Build Long term relationships

Keep in touch. Out of sight is out of mind so even if your customers are only likely to visit you once a year, keep in touch with them for the whole year so that when they are considering a night out, a celebration or weekend away you are very firmly in their mind.

Let them know what other things of interest you have going on, you never just know, it could just tip the balance in favour of them coming to see you as an extra visit. What are the things that they didn’t’ get a chance to experience on their last visit: something new, something seasonal, something they didn’t have time for – not just at your bar, restaurant or hotel but locally.

Continue to build credibility by letting your loyal customers know what you’ve done, awards, accolades, events, services they didn’t even know about.

Remain on their radar by your presence on social media. Do your homework first and find out the best options to suit your customers. If you’ve make a great impression initially this keeps this going, and makes the referral process much more likely too.

Remember: Out of site is out of mind; stay on their radar! Even if they don’t want to book anything with you next week, next month or even next year, if they remember who you are as and when they’re ready you’ll be the first place they think of and they’ll know where to find you

 

 

 


Are you wasting sales opportunities in your restaurant or pub?

Are you wasting sales opportunities in your restaurant or pub?

Yesterday I went to wave on the Olympic Torch as it passed us by in our nearby town. After parking a good 20 minutes walk away and standing in the rain for 20 minutes I was certainly ready for a cup of coffee, as I’m sure were many others.

I knew I’d be passing a pub restaurant on the way back to the car, along with another 200 or so people who’d parked in the same street. So that meant 200 or so cold, thirsty and wet customers.

And guess what?

The pub was closed. What a waste!

Here they had a captive audience, and completely gone to waste. And the next thing is they’ll be moaning about lack of business. Surely for that number of people it was worth opening 30 minutes earlier and making a song and dance about it. After all we all had to walk past on our way to the procession. Juat a little bit of restaurant marketing could have gone a long way.

Even with passing trade there was a great opportunity to drum up business.

What could they have done?

Here are 7 ideas to get some sales:

  1. Took account of the weather and how people would be feeling on the day
  2. Put up a welcome board or sign to attract attention
  3. Organised take away coffee for people en route to the procession
  4. Put together a bundled offer – e.g. coffee and Danish or hot food to give value for money and upsell opportunity (win-win)
  5. Joined the other businesses who got press coverage of what they were doing to celebrate (and get on the radar of visitors for potential further business; another win-win)
  6. Contacted their regulars and existing customers to let them know what they had on offer (easy if you have a mailing list)
  7. Bothered to open the doors!

I know it’s not rocket science……

For more articles and resources https://www.naturallyloyal.com/products-resources/

 


Time for Tea?

I’m on a mission at the moment. To be able to get a decent cuppa when I go out!

After a lovely afternoon tea with friends at the Savoy last week it brought home to me just how much of an opportunity we are missing in hotels, restaurants and cafes. The top hotels have truly embraced this; look at what they are delivering at the Berkeley for example with their royal hats themed cakes, and local to me at Pennyhill Park in Surrey.

But if tea really is such a British institution couldn’t we be making more if it?

Nowadays we can get every possible permutation for coffee. But as a tea drinker few offer anything like the same selection of teas or put in anything like the same amount of effort.

According to the Tea Council tea outsells coffee by 2:1, but of this 86% is drunk at home. Is this because tea drinkers don’t trust hotels, restaurants and cafes to make a decent cuppa?

Do the numbers add up?

There’s certainly a commercial argument for getting tea right. The potential margins on a cup of tea are higher than coffee, and if you make an occasion of it this gives the opportunity for upselling a full afternoon tea package.

And unlike coffee you don’t need fancy and expensive equipment to make your perfect cup or pot of tea.

If 7/10 people drink at least one cup of tea a day (opposed to only 4/10 who drink coffee) there has to be an opportunity for any hostelry to be tapping into this market, surely?

Health

According to Bill Gorman of the Tea Council in his presentation at Caffe Culture last week, contrary to popular belief tea does not contain more caffeine than coffee, it actually contains about half the amount compared to instant coffee and a third of filter coffee. Tea is also widely known to be rich in a particular group of antioxidants called flavonoids; there is about eight times the amount of ‘anti-oxidant power’ in three cups of tea than there is in one apple.

More information can be found on the Tea Advisory Panel site. http://www.teaadvisorypanel.com/

And above all else tea is refreshing. So when we do get a summer, it’s a great way to rehydrate. Tea makes up 1/3 of what we drink. Whilst the black tea market has plateaued speciality tea is growing by 7%. The biggest competition comes from water and juices.

Snobbery

There’s a lot of snobbery around loose tea. Loose leaf can still be poor quality. Your customers will trust the big brands, which use a plucking standard (2 leaves and a bud) which produce approximately 4-5% fibre, whereas a cheaper economy tea might use 6-7 leaves and get 40-50% fibre, which makes for a pretty poor drink.

There a huge range of quality teas, both loose leaf and tea bags. I just love those sexy little pyramid bags such as Novus http://www.novustea.co.uk/ . Exploit the branding and if you use a quality product you are going to be more confident in charging a decent price. If you are just starting to expand you tea range do it gradually; judge your customers tastes, avoid wastage and build up your team’s knowledge gradually.

Presentation

Why do we hide our tea offer? You look at the menu and see all the coffees listed out and then hidden somewhere in the middle you’ll spot ‘Tea’. Give it prominence on your menu, and give some detail to educate your customers. At the Savoy the team menu (all 4 pages of it!) each tea had a description. Not only this, the waiters were able to describe each tea, and asked what sort of tea we liked so they could recommend. (At the time I thought this a bit ironic to have a Canadian and a German knowing way, way more about team than the 4 of us Brits put together!)

If you are in a setting where your tea is on view, make sure it is presented in a way that shows you give your tea some care. Leaving it sitting in a tatty cardboard box on top of a water boiler, getting dried out does little to enhance its appeal. You wouldn’t expect a customer to buy a can of Coke sat at an ambient temperature on the counter. Talk to your tea suppliers about display tins or stands.

Serving

Tea needs freshly drawn water (so there’s oxygen and nitrogen in the water apparently, but please don’t ask me about the science behind this!) For black tea the water needs to be boiling. This means that water from your coffee machine won’t be hot enough for a decent tea. On the other hand green tea will become bitter if made with boiling water, so let the temperature drop to 85°C.

Everyone likes their tea differently. So train your staff to ask how people like their tea. In our house my Earl Grey gets half the brewing time of hubby’s English Breakfast.

Give a perception of value by serving a pot of tea rather than just a cup or mug. Not only does it mean 2 cups (at no extra cost to you) it gives the customer the flexibility to brew their tea to their preferred strength.

If you serve tea in a cup or mug, provide somewhere to put the spent teabags – that’s accessible with one had (i.e. not a swing top bin – one hand holding the cup, one hand holding the bag, result – tea dribbles all over the bin top as you nudge the bin open with the tea bag!) Just a little thought not only makes it easier for your customer, but leaves less mess and probably saves a fortune on napkins into the bargain. Even with teapots provide somewhere for teabags in case your customer wants to stop the tea brewing any further.

Milk is the bane of my tea drinking experience. Following the principle that the water needs to be boiling to brew the tea, if you serve tea in the cup never put the milk in before the bag comes out. In Norway I was even presented with a cup of tea where the milk went in before the water and my tea bag was left on the side – with the best will in the world this will never make a decent cup of tea, however good your raw ingredients.

Use semi skimmed milk and preferably allow the customer to pour their own milk; however much or little you put in, it will never be right!

Educate

Educate your team on your tea offer and train them in the art of tea making. Use your suppliers for advice and to help with training. If they can’t or won’t do this find a supplier who will. It’s a great way to impress your customers and build trust. Not only will be a lot easier to upsell to other products, but goes a long way to establishing your reputation as a place to trust for a decent brew.

Make a feature of tea

Once you’ve mastered the art of making a decent cuppa, use this as a basis for tea themed offers and promotions. Introduce a tea of the month, ask your supplier to work with you on a tea tasting, look at your sandwich and cake offering to combine with your tea for the quintessential English afternoon tea, and promote this to improve footfall for otherwise quiet times of the day.

So in summary my 10 top tips for a perfect brew:

  1. Use quality tea and a recognisable brand
  2. Build up your range of teas gradually
  3. Review your other offers to make a special feature of afternoon tea
  4. Give your tea menu prominence and add descriptions
  5. Present your tea attractively
  6. Invest in some teapots (and hot water pots)
  7. Check the temperature of your hot water and ensure it is boiling for brewing black tea
  8. Give customers somewhere to put their teabags
  9. Use your tea supplier to educate your team on the properties and flavours for each of your teas, and
  10. Train your staff in how to make a decent cuppa

All this talk of tea has made me thirsty. Time to put the kettle on…

Save


Educate and build credibility through your mailing list

Depending on the nature of your target market you could use your mailing list to engage with your customers by sharing your knowledge. For example:
Ask your head chef to provide a recipe of the month, tips on baking the perfect meringue or crusty bread, a buyers’ guide to choosing fresh fish recipe ideas based on what is in season right now, or anything related to your current menu.

  • If you are a park or garden, ask your gardening team to share seasonal tips.
  • If you have a golf course you might share tips on the latest equipment or techniques to hone their swing.
  • If you have a spa, ask your spa team to share information on relaxation techniques, aromatherapy remedies, tips for the perfect pedicure, skin car regimes, etc.
  • If you are an historical site share some of your story on how you preserve special features.
  • Ask housekeeping for tips on stain removal, cleaning household items such as glass, leather, silk etc. or ‘the day in the life of’.
  • 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.

What’s happening

Last but not least keeping in touch with your customers is an ideal opportunity to keep them up to date with what’s going on. Yes, this will include forthcoming events and promotions that they may be interested in, but it’s not just about this. No one wants to be bombarded with sell, sell, sell emails. You’ll soon get unsubscribes from your list if you do this. Create a sense of intrigue and curiosity; tell them about your plans, changes you’re making (e.g. progress reports on refurbishments), what’s new (e.g. your new menu, new toiletries, treatments or service, refurbishments, celebrity involvement). You then have a reason to invite them back or make an offer.

Don’t be afraid to tell people what they’ve missed; what are your success stories.

If you are an education centre share some of the projects you’ve been working on with schools. If your target market are families with young children, tell them about activities children in enjoy (with plenty of pictures too, to show them having a good time with their favourite TV or Book character!)  Historical site may cover recent discoveries. These also provide a great opportunity to share photos and testimonials, which all helps build credibility.

Maybe they missed it this time, but now they can see for themselves what they’ve missed out on it will be a lot easier to get their attention next time.

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

You can find more on building customer relationships in the Hotel Success Handbook


Build rapport and build a sense of anticipation with your customers

Before your customers arrive, start to build the relationship and get your customers excited about their visit. Let them know in advance what they can be doing the make the best of their time with you. Offer your help in booking restaurants, (yours or JV partners’), entertainment, outings, taxis, accommodation, attractions. etc. Anything that will make their stay or visit with you memorable.

Introduce your future customers to the team; let your head chef describe the menu or his/her signature dish, personal recommendations from one of your local team members of places to see or things to do, your gardener to talk about what’s in bloom,  your events team about any special entertainment. Anything that will whet their appetite.

Pass on useful (and most importantly up to date) information that will enable a smooth journey: forewarn of expected traffic delays, what’s the quickest and/or cheapest way to get from the airport or railway station, personalised driving directions from their home post code.

Act like a travel company and give tips on what to bring, and what you provide, so they don’t have to overload their suitcase or cram the car with unnecessary toiletries, clothing, sports’ gear or travel books.

Say thank you

The quickest and easiest way to create an impression and get remembered by your customers after their visit is to send a thank you note. A handwritten and personalised card or note will win hands down over and above an automated email.

Show you appreciate their custom, and show you care. Make reference to the rest of  their day out, their holiday, onward journey or something they mentioned during their stay. And one of the easiest ways to show your appreciation is with a small gift of some kind. This might be an exclusive offer or deal for them or a friend, a memento for them to keep or pass on, or some useful snippets of relevant information or tips.

A follow up thank you is also a great opportunity to get feedback too. If you know they enjoyed their visit prompt them to write a review in TripAdvisor or Google Reviews (make it easy for them by providing a link). Ask for direct feedback too; what they enjoyed most and any ideas, comments or suggestions they have to enhance their stay next time.

Tomorrow we’ll look at how to start to build the customer relationship before they have even become a customer.