5 ways to turn customers into fans

In this age of technology, on-line bookings, automated systems and much less traditional face-to-face contact, providing exemplary customer service has never been so important. Building and developing a meaningful relationship with your clientele is absolutely vital to making your business successful.

Any business worth their salt aims to look after their customers. But as hoteliers, restauranteurs, and bistro, bar and cafe owners we should be going beyond this by turning our customers into loyal fans who will sing from the rooftops about how we good we are and keep coming back for more. We need to create a culture of excellence, granted, but there are 5 key things we should all be doing to make our customers love us and truly buy into our business.

Survey form with a tick placed in Outstanding checkbox.

1. Recruit GREAT staff
Your staff speak to and serve your customers – they’re the face of your company. Staff can be trained, gain qualifications and learn the tools of their trade, but personal skills are innate. Warm, friendly, welcoming members of staff who remember a customer by name and their preferences are priceless. They can truly engage with your customers, making them feel valued. My youngest son particularly loves one of the baristas at our local coffee shop who he calls “Mr Mischief”. They have a great rapport, which has turned this one cafe into THE cafe – no others are now good enough for my 7 year old!

2. Invest in training
Once you’ve recruited the right person, train train train! Ordering a cocktail is much more enjoyable when the person you’re ordering it from can create it with flair, panache and skill. Likewise, a latte is much more enjoyable when the milk is frothed to perfection and topped off with a latte art fern. Staff will grow in confidence and your customers will benefit from their ability and talents.

3. Brand
A recognisable brand is surely one of the most valuable assets of any business. Craft a name, logo, values, mission and ethos to create a brand which truly represent your business and what you’re all about, and you build a strong identify which resonates with your customers. An eye-catching logo can be used to great effect on your signage, windows, literature and packaging, and helps your customers identify with you more easily.

4. Turn a transaction into an experience
Make your breakfast offering more exciting by including a range of award-winning ingredients. Tell a story about where your dishes come from – is it a local farm where livestock is free range? Or a local entrepreneur who has started producing an exciting range of jams and chutneys? Offer information about your cuts of meat, the provenance of your fruit and vegetable, and the backstory of any fair trade products – it all helps build customer engagement and loyalty.

5. Unique selling point
Stand out from the competition with your own signature product. It could be a range of savoury scones, an amazing multi-allergen-free cake or an imaginative afternoon tea for children. Or offer a variety of high end, speciality teas, home made syrups or silky smooth decaf. Customers will travel from further afield to try out these speciality dishes, and will ultimately become fans!

Victus Consultancy
is passionate about encouraging best practice and excellent customer service in the catering and hospitality industry. Contact us if you’d like an industry expert to help you provide the very best experience possible for your customers.