Three steps to get, retain and develop your customers

By Matt Rolfe

The purpose of the majority of marketing and promotions activity is to drive people into your business. It is a way to get customers inside your four walls rather than those of your competitors.

Based on all of the activity to drive people into your location I encourage you to ask yourself the following:

  • Are your staff fully engaged in and informed of your marketing and promotions activity?
  • Are you turning first-time guests into “Raving Fans” of your business?
  • Are you providing a reason for your customers to return with their friends?

If your response to any of the above is not a resounding yes, this article can help. With so much focus put into social programming, pricing strategies and click-through rates, we often forget about the human element of our marketing and promotions activity. This is how your staff show up and interact with your customers once you have brought them into your business. In order to be successful you need to ensure that what brought them to your location is only the beginning and that the experience outshines the offer that attracted them in the first place. Below are three proven steps that we have worked on with clients to improve the impact of their programming.

  1. Start with ‘why?’

Yes, I know that we have all heard this before and if you have not read Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why I encourage you to pick it up today. When rolling out new marketing and promotions programs take the time to explain to every staff member:

  • Why you selected this program
  • Whom you feel the program will attract to the business
  • How this program will benefit the staff
  • How this program benefits the business

Most programs are clear to the leadership or management team but is your new host, server or bartender who works a couple days a week 100 per cent clear on what your programs are all about? We call Millennials, also known as Generation Y, Generation “WHY.” The more explanation we give them, the more they will buy in and execute the programs you put forward.

  1. Create an experience, not a transaction

Whatever your ideas are to drive customers to your business I encourage you make sure they are providing your guest with the best experience possible. I see prix-fixe programs that drive great traffic but have a front-line staff that is completely disengaged in the process and the experiences actually hurt the business. I see venues that have discount drink specials with poor service and it is only a matter of time before your competition is less expensive than you and that customer moves on to a new location. Whatever your programming is, own it and put your best foot forward. Make sure that they are your best ideas, that you have the best customer service and ultimately the best possible guest experience.

  1. Provide a reason to return with friends

We put so much effort getting people into our establishments and one step we often miss is providing them a reason to return, hopefully, as soon as possible with their friends. If a guest came into your location for half-price bottles of wine on Thursday are we inviting them back for $5 pints on Mondays or half-price apps on Tuesdays? I really encourage you to share your story with your guests before they leave, letting them know all of the great things you are doing to attract them back to your location.

This step does not happen by accident, it happens by design. Those that do it best have a strong closing script on what they want to inform their guests of when ending the experience. We call this stage- developing our customers. They came for one thing and during their visit they were exposed to some of the other great options that you provide. The best companies in the world have a detailed strategy to develop their customers.

These are three simple but incredibly powerful steps that when followed will allow your business to truly maximize your marketing and promotions activity. At the end of the day the goal is to attract a guest, supply great service to retain a guest, and provide a reason to return to develop your guest.

About the author:

Matt Rolfe is the CEO of Barmetrix Global, a hospitality coaching and consulting firm that helps clients multiply profits, maximize staff engagement and deliver remarkable guest services by design. Contact Matt at [email protected] to book speaking engagements or to discuss Barmetrix Services. For more information, call 416-367-2263.