The importance of customer loyalty and practical tips to achieve it
In any sale of equipment, technical service, consultancy or. even specialized services, in all of this, there is a fundamental factor that makes it possible to run the business: the client.
Sales of products or services are crucial for every business, they are of the utmost importance and represent what keeps the organization afloat. There may be great qualities in the company, but without sales, it is impossible to move forward.
In food service it is possible to have one-time sales, as in any other area, but we can also have repetitive sales with the same client who will make us their strategic ally for the growth of their company.
For example, you can provide preventive technical service to the cold rooms of a supermarket chain. It is the same client, but the action is repeated on many occasions. Or you can even sell a convection oven to a restaurant and that same restaurant I bought the rest of the equipment necessary for the operations.
Making a sale is a success, and making a lot of sales is a great success, but developing strategic partners is much more profitable for the business.
Why is it important to retain customers?
A customer can come to your business one day and never return, which tells us that: he is buying from the competition or he has already met his need.
Now, what will set you apart from your competition will be that loyalty. Loyalty implies satisfaction and in turn, results in person-to-person marketing.
This is very good, but seeing it in economic interests it will be reflected in a fixed income for your business, maybe not in similar volumes all the time, but it will create that “cushion” that will help you expand your horizons.
What does it look like to retain customers in numbers?
- Acquiring new customers is 5 times more expensive than retaining existing ones.
- According to Pretii, reducing customer churn by 5% can increase your profitability by 25% to 125%.
- According to Constant Contact: 82% of small business owners say loyal customers are where they grow.
- A loyal customer spends on average 67% more than an average customer.
It is quite clear that customer loyalty brings benefits and also promotes the growth of the company.
The HORECA sector is not exempt from these practices, quite the contrary, it is such a competitive market with a constant birth of new ventures that it is necessary to develop long-term business relationships.
But what practical tips can be used to retain customers? Here are 5 practical tips to achieve it:
#1 – Develop a Customer Loyalty Program
Customer loyalty programs are seen in different ways, but the objective is clear: to let your customer know that the best option on the market is to consume at your business.
What might this look like in practice? How can it materialize in your business?
The most common practice is the company purchase card, with which you earn points every time a customer purchases and can later exchange them for benefits. It will depend on each company how those benefits are seen.
If your products or consumables do not require recurring change, but rather are a long-lasting team, it is not recommended to delve into this strategy.
#2 - Try to improve the customer service department
The customer service department is in charge of answering questions, solving problems, providing support with guarantees, and many more things that you can imagine in this regard.
Now, this looks different in each company, they cannot be the same, although they may resemble each other.
For example, the care you may need from Amazon will be very different from who sold you a convection oven for your business. One of them can fix problems over the phone, but the other will need to see you in person to help.
Two factors that determine good care: time and communication.
When problems are resolved in the shortest time, customers appreciate it. It involves seeing the customer’s problem with the same importance and urgency that he or she may be seeing it.
However, it is clear that there are problems that cannot be solved in five minutes and that is when communication is important. Knowing how to communicate the solutions, time, budget and everything that may be involved is of the utmost importance so that both the client and the person who provides the service have the same expectations.
#3 - Evolve from generic email marketing to a personalized and segmented one
The list of email marketing functions can be quite long, but each company will occupy the ones that are useful for them. Providing promotions to making important announcements are among the many functions.
How could such a widespread and generic tool be useful to retain customers?
The reality is that you can start by segmenting your contact list, to personalize the emails you send, in this way you will be sending valuable and timely information.
Once you’ve segmented your lists you can be even more intentional and focus on serving those regular customers you want to retain.
This can be a message: “this product is running out” or even notify of access to early offers.
It’s all a matter of having the necessary creativity and execution ability to make this possible.
#4 – Set special discounts
There is always a profit margin for each product and companies can reduce that margin to a minimum to offer better prices to their customers.
Now, before starting with this type of customer loyalty program, it is important to recognize the type of customers you should aim for: those who maintain good volumes of consumption.
The best discounts should go towards achieving volumes of consumption that leave good profits for the company, otherwise, it would be doing damage.
This is a tactic that has its risks, as well as its profits. To know whether to put it into practice, it will be necessary to determine if the services or products offered are adequate to provide profits even with greater discounts.
#5 - Build lasting relationships
Finally, you must not lose sight of the fact that you are selling or providing services to people, which is why it is always necessary to have staff available to provide personalized attention.
Personalized attention can be seen as an executive who advises and is in charge of some processes to support elected clients.
This is a somewhat old method of building customer loyalty, but it is still effective because the person is valued and they are made to know that they are an important customer for the company.
How would you treat those who constantly buy products to keep opening more bakeries? How would you serve those who decide to spend large volumes in your business? He would treat him well and advise him in his development.
Remember, it’s not about looking down on some customers, it’s about improving care for those who want it.
Ultimately, however, if you want to start a customer loyalty program, the important thing is to make it fit your business in the most efficient way.
Do not forget that you must choose the strategy that best suits the type of clients you have, otherwise, you could wear out your business.
What other ways to build customer loyalty would you recommend?