Keep ‘Em Happy, Keep ‘Em Coming Back
Oh man, did my sushi craving ever hit hard yesterday. Cravings, more than anything else, are what get me out the door to eat at local restaurants, and I know I’m not alone. Not all of my cuisine-I-don’t-make-at-home urges are international or exotic, either; chicken tikka masala, falafel, and raw fish cravings are often outweighed by my burning need to eat biscuits and gravy, pancakes, and chili-cheese dogs.
No matter the craving, I’ve got a go-to local place to satisfy it. Yesterday, I ordered take-out from my favorite sushi place–normally I’d dine in, but the food’s so good that my loyalty’s there whether I can sit and enjoy the ambiance or not. And that’s the trick, isn’t it? At some point I wanted a certain type of food, and once I found it somewhere that met and exceeded my expectations, I never left. Maybe there’s better sushi, closer to home. Better cheeseburgers that I wouldn’t need to drive twenty minutes to get. I don’t really care. I go to my place. I’m a lifetime customer whether I’m living in town or visiting family twenty years from now, future kids in tow.
And for restaurants, food trucks, what-have-you, it’s simple: having a loyal
base of “regulars” is key to any successful business; once you get them in the door, there has to be something to keep them coming back.
So, how do you create such loyalty? How do you get my driving out of my way to eat your food for the next thirty years?
The way I see it (and the way others see it, if my word alone’s not good enough), there’s three basic tenets of service and presentation on which lifetime customer loyalty is based. And who wouldn’t want that?
The Three Commandments of Customer Loyalty Creation
1. Deliver what’s expected: the basics & fundamentals count!
2. Create lasting relationships with your customers.
3. Finally, go beyond the expected.
Over the next week or so, I’m going to expand on each of these ideas individually. The subject’s important enough to consider in detail, and I want to do it justice. Please check back on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week!
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