Creating Lifetime Customers, Step 1 of 3
As promised, here’s the first of my three tenets for creating lifetime customers, brought to you on a scorching day in Chicagoland.
#1: Deliver What’s Expected: The Basics and Fundamentals Count!
To me, this breaks down further into two related points. The first: deliver on your promises. If you advertise certain dishes, a certain ambiance, or other strengths of your establishment, make sure you do these things well. Let’s say Joe Schmoe opens a restaurant advertising the finest in French cuisine: Pinot Noir, brie, baguettes, escargot, the works. That’s all, and it’ll probably attract quite a few foodies, but if Joe’s snails aren’t cooked to perfection — whatever that means — his customers are going to feel cheated. Maybe his wine list isn’t all French. It’s all the same — if you don’t come through with what you promised, no one’s going to leave happy. Even if your food and service are great, somebody’s going to leave disappointed if they expected a different experience. This is true of the simplest foods, also. If your sign says you make the best scrambled eggs in Ontario, they’d better be good. (Eh?)
The second, similar, aspect of delivering what’s expected is just that: doing a good job at the fundamentals of customer service. Even if a restaurant doesn’t explicitly advertise their great service, friendly atmosphere, and clean facilities, all customers expect as much. Your food can be – should be — a draw, but if some other aspect of the basic dining out experience is missing or poorly executed, it’ll turn off anyone who tries your restaurant, often enough to prevent them from ever coming back. Any time I go out to eat, I expect efficient, professional experience, a friendly (or welcoming) atmosphere, and good food. The restaurants I return to most often deliver these things the best, along with great food. Eventually, a diner feels at home somewhere friendly and well-run; the meal out becomes an emotional experience, something social even if he or she is dining alone. And people come back to restaurants where they feel at home — frequently.
The obvious addition to both these points is consistency, which deserves the briefest of mentions. No matter how well you deliver your promises and the basics of a restaurant experience, it has to be the same day in and day out. A new customer can’t come in on an off day, or they won’t return. Someone returning for the second or third time can’t suddenly have an unpleasant meal or interaction; they’ll find somewhere else to get their escargot (or, you know, whatever food). Consistency and professionalism are important. After a few good experiences, you’ll have ‘em hooked.
Check back in mid-week for the second tenet for creating lifetime customers. (And cross your fingers for cooler weather!)
Until then, contact us here.