Your loyal customers are the lifeblood of your business. When a customer changes their habit and stops coming in, will you know? And can you entice them to come back? When your customer is an "at risk" candidate wouldn't it be great to reach out and invite them back? Especially because there is a lot of competition out there, and It doesn't take much to shift the routine. Restaurants are in the business of becoming part of patron's routines. That change in routine can result in an at-risk customer becoming a once-was customer.
The truth is, if your customer isn't dining at your establishment, they are eating somewhere else. This doesn't have to end up with losing your customer. There are solutions to understanding when this happens in order to reconnect with your customer before this becomes an issue. One huge way to understanding customer behavior is by utilizing marketing automation.
Automation to the Rescue
Automation is a tool that can make our marketing efforts efficient and more productive. Using triggers or scheduled automation, enables you to make work and tasks easier. Automation helps when it's set up correctly, especially with tasks that may slip through if we had to rely on our memory. When it comes to utilizing automated marketing to engage at risk customers, your Wi-Fi intelligence can provide powerful insight. Imagine having the ability to send a quick note to your at-risk customer:
"We haven't seen you for a while and we miss you. We hope everything is well with you and look forward to seeing you soon! We'd like to offer you a free appetizer with your next meal. Hope to see you soon! Your friends at...."
Imagine the ability to identify your at-risk customer and send a quick message or email inviting them back. More importantly than what it says (and content does matter!), is letting your customers know they are valued. It is also a great way to stay top-of-mind - there is absolute truth in that proverb that states, "out of sight, out of mind."
So that means you have to keep tabs on all of our customers? Yes, to the best of our ability. Now the need for automation begins to take on more clarity.
When it come to retaining customers, automation can help us with doing things better than we could without automation - at least realistically speaking. With Wi-Fi marketing systems, we have the ability to see whether our customer has been to our location recently, regardless of whether they log in or not! So, when it comes to recognizing and retaining customers you have a distinct advantage. We only need to examine a real-case scenario to see how this applies.
Recognizing the At Risk Customer
Even if you are a single location family owned diner, you may believe you are "small enough" and have a volume manageable enough to recognize those at risk patrons. If you consider the lost revenue from one loyal customer, it can be significant. What is the lifetime value of a customer? How many meals will they purchase over the course of time and what does that mean to your establishment? If you are the owner or marketing director of a franchise restaurant, you have multiple locations and losing customers results in significant revenue loss. You may not have that luxury of being unaware of customer behavior when your competition is becoming more aware and pro-active at enticing your customers back to them.
Regardless of the metrics you choose to track your customers, from spending to engagement activity, recognizing pattern changes is the flag that demands attention. Therein lies the needle in the haystack story. Does store A serve 1,000 weekly customers alone. That's 4,000 customers a month that someone must scour over, locate trends, omissions and other behavioral benchmarks. Having a dashboard to view exactly what is going on within a time period with customers returning or not, frequency of visits, churn rate, and having the ability to impact behavior to result in positive business trends.
If only there was an answer to this mountainous issue, a way to...automate. Realistically there is no way to accurately and feasibly employ the manpower and the system to manage such data quantities. This is the beauty and the magic of automation. Building an automated marketing program tailored to your customer habits and your operational practices is the safety net of your business.
There will be some customers that just can't be saved - but consider the many who can. That safety net will keep those who can be saved and that is worth every penny...
That's money saved. A penny saved is a penny earned, right? Speaking of earned...
For Your Business and Your Customers
The financial and business sense (and cents) of automation is evident. Automation will also foster relationships, promote trust and benefit both your restaurant and your customers. Maybe your favorite customer really did have an awful two weeks (the weeks they didn't come in), and that reminder simply made them feel better. How much is that worth...to you and them?