5 top strategies to increase customer loyalty

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Blog: Five ways to grow your loyalty scheme with ad-hoc rewards

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What makes people loyal to hospitality and how venues can maintain their loyalty

Every business wants to attract new customers, but not every business realises the importance of customer retention. Loyal customers not only provide a regular stream of revenue, but they generally out-spend new customers and often become vocal brand ambassadors.

So how can you increase revenue by improving the loyalty of your existing customer base? Here are 5 top strategies to help:

1) Deliver an exceptional customer experience

You could invest a lot of money in advertising, social media, and SEO, and people could still visit your restaurant once, never to return.

Before diners visit your venue, they’ll most likely have already formed expectations based on reviews or the information on your website. A consistent customer journey increases satisfaction, builds trust and boosts loyalty. Seemingly simple things like calling customers by their first name and taking notes of their preferences can make all the difference.

Another way to improve customer experience is to have an online booking system that shows real-time availability, regardless of booking size, ensuring your business can meet the expectations of customers, 24/7.

2) Supporting your community, special events

Customers love it when businesses care about the community. You don’t have to be part of a large franchise with a budget of millions in order to look at ways to give back to the local community. Taking part in local events, supporting a local cause or giving your space up for an event can help you build a stronger local network and customer base and it doesn’t take much to get started.

Special events are also a great way to encourage guests to re-visit. With the shift towards experiences, events such as trivia quizzes or bingo nights, to name a few, are making a come back!.

It helps you build a positive reputation for the business, makes you known within the community and helps form useful connections within your local area.

3) Connect with customers through social media

It goes without saying that social media is a great way to highlight your venue and interact with your customer base. By highlighting offers, sharing customer-generated content and responding to comments, social media can help you build an engaged following. Engaging with your customers via social media by running competitions, giving shout-outs or sharing and retweeting their photos and posts can make them feel special and boost customer loyalty.

4) Develop a distinctive loyalty programme

According to GO Technology a third (34%) of consumers say they would like to see schemes that track and reward their loyalty, and 33% want to receive promotions and deals.

It may seem obvious, but many restaurants still do not have loyalty programmes in place. It’s basic psychology: people are more likely to visit again if they get free stuff.

An effective loyalty programme can drive acquisition, retention and engagement post-visit if done well. With so many generic loyalty schemes out there how do you build a successful loyalty programme that’s right for your business?

Make sure your loyalty programme stands out and doesn’t just give the customer points every time they come in for a meal, or a discount when dining at a later date – everyone does that. Try offering membership levels or create offers for kids. Tailor the programme to fit your unique business and customer base and make it really stand out.

5) Use technology to make it personal

When it comes to loyalty schemes, Tesco’s Clubcard scheme is probably the oldest and well-known. However, you don’t need millions of pounds to run a programme that delights your customers the same way that Tesco’s does. By integrating your till with your other tech systems, you can build a valuable customer database  that can be used to create your loyalty scheme and incentivise customers to revisit with personalised rewards which in turn boosts your profitability.

The integration allows you to capture and analyse valuable customer data with every transaction including what they’ve ordered, how much it cost, and how frequently they have visited. This data can help you create an effective and personalised loyalty programme suited to your customer database.

With so many loyalty programmes out there, knowing what loyalty programme to implement that’s right for your business isn’t always easy. For expert advice on building a successful loyalty scheme, download our guide on how to choose a high-performing loyalty programme for your hospitality venue.

Discover how Zonal’s fully EPoS-integrated Loyalty solution, available exclusively to Zonal EPoS customers, can help you build a loyal customer base and increase revenue. Read more

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