It’s not all about getting new customers through the door. Return customers can make up the bulk of business for many companies and can be more important as a result. If you’re getting customers but none are wanting to return, here are just 10 ways in which you can encourage them to keep coming back for more.
Improve your customer service
Good customer service is everything. If you go above and beyond to give your customers the best experience possible, it’s likely they’ll want to return. If you provide slow service or don’t smile or make big mistakes, a customer is unlikely to want to use your services again.
Complaints or negative reviews are a good sign that your customer service is lacking. Start providing the best service that you can and ensure that any employees are trained up to a proficient level so that they offer the same standard of service.
Offer loyalty discounts and freebies
You can also entice back customers by offering them the opportunity of a discount or a freebie.
Introducing a loyalty card or points card could be one way of doing this – this allows customers to get a discount or a freebie after a certain amount of purchases or after spending a certain amount. These cards are commonly used by retail companies and cafes. You may be able to stamp the card or you may be able to simply collect points digitally. You’ll find custom loyalty card manufacturers online.
For companies dealing with bigger purchases, another option could be to give away a voucher with the purchase to spend next time or simply offer the promise of a discount. For example, if you’re a car mechanic – you could offer loyal customers a discount off their next repairs or service as a way of encouraging them to come back.
Offer membership perks
Another way of encouraging customer loyalty could be to offer customers the chance to become members. On top of getting access to discounts, becoming a member of your company could have other advantages. It could allow access to faster delivery service or unique services that aren’t available to others. This could be a creative way to keep people coming back.
You could even supply a subscription fee with your membership. This could allow you to still make an income even if customers choose never to return.
Advertise future deals
Making your current customers aware of promotions that will be taking place in the future can encourage them to make another visit when the promotion is running. For example, if you own a clothing store, you could up poster about a sale you’re holding in a month’s time.
On top of promotions, you could also advertise new products that may be coming in. If you own a coffee bar, this could include advertising special Christmas drinks in the lead up to winter. This could help to build up excitement for these products and get customers coming back.
Embrace social media
Social media is the perfect tools for encouraging return customers. Many people that follow companies on social media do so as a way of staying in the loop when it comes to company news and promotions. Make sure that you’re posting regular news updates and promotions to encourage these people to pay you a visit. If you’re not savvy with social media, you can always hire a social media marketing company to handle this element for you.
The hardest part is often getting your customers to follow you on social media in the first place. Try to make social media a major part of your branding. Print your Facebook address and Twitter handle on signage, business cards and other physical forms of advertising. You can even print it on the side of a company vehicle or on a company t-shirt. Meanwhile, if you communicate with clients via email, make sure to put your social media addresses in your email signature. As for your website, consider adding plug-ins that allow visitors to easily follow you on your social media channels.
Create a mailing list
Another way to entice customers back with promotions and news is to sign them up to a mailing list. Physical mailing lists have largely gone out of fashion, but many companies still use email mailing lists. Use a bulk mailing service you can send out the same email to lots of people at once. There’s also SMS messaging which involves sending out information via text message – there are similarly bulk SMS messaging services that you can use for this purpose.
In order to put a customer on your mailing list, you’ll need their contact details and their consent. You can ask customers in person whether they’d like to be added to your mailing list or you can offer a box to tick when signing up to your service online. It’s also possible to place a pop-up ad on your website asking people to sign up to your email mailing list. Always allow an opt-out feature – when it comes to SMS marketing many companies allow customers to text STOP in order to automatically take them off of the mailing list.
Build a customer app
Building an app could also be a way of encouraging return customers. Whenever the customer opens their phone, they’ll see you app and be reminded of your company, which may prompt them to reuse you service. An app should always have a clear purpose – it could be a digital takeaway menu or a digital loyalty card or a live progress report.
You can build an app by approaching an app development company. The cost of producing an app depends on how elaborate you plan your app to be – flashy and intricate apps are likely to cost a lot more than more basic apps. Once you’ve produced your app, you may want to look into mobile app testing services. This can help you to fix any flaws that your app may have allowing you to polish your app before you allow your customers to use it.
Encouraging people to download your app can be difficult and is much like encouraging people to follow you on Facebook – you can’t force your customers to do it. You’re best recommending it to your customers in person and highlighting the perks of using it. If you own a shop or a restaurant, make sure to put up signage letting customers know about your app and the benefits that it carries.
Respond to positive and negative feedback
Responding to feedback can also encourage customers to return by acknowledging their criticism. Such feedback could be in person, via email or via an online review (the likes of Trip Advisor allow companies to reply to customer reviews). Those leaving positive feedback are likely to want to return on their own accord, but you can still thank them to make them feel appreciated and further encourage them to come back. As for negative feedback, it’s possible to offer these unhappy customers discounts if they decide to use your services again. This can encourage these customers to give you another chance. You may be able to use this opportunity to prove that you can provide good service, turning these unhappy customers into loyal happy customers.
Get to know your customers
Simply getting to know your customers and develop a relationship can have a big impact on loyalty. If a customer feels that you know them, they may trust you more and could result in extra convenience for them (for example, knowing a regular customer’s order before they’ve even placed it). Try to engage in small talk when appropriate and get to know your customers’ names – all in all, do whatever you can to build a rapport.
Keep ahead of the competition
Customers may not be returning simply because your competitors are offering better deals or better services. By offering better deals and services than your competition, you can stop your loyal customers jumping ship. Try not to get too caught up chasing competitors by beating their prices – instead try to single yourself out by providing a USP (unique selling point). This involves finding the gap in the market and exploiting it. For example, if you own a bar, think about which drinks other bars in the area aren’t selling. If nowhere has a good selection of gin, this is something that you could provide to keep the gin drinkers coming to you.
How to prepare for the first crisis in your restaurant
Even restaurant marketing that has been well thought out doesn’t exclude a crisis or two. As a restaurant owner or manager, you have to be prepared for everything, even the worst case scenario. Your business may be all well right now – but that’s exactly the time to think about possible worse times.
Listen in order to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses
Everyone likes to listen to praise. It motivates us, it helps us deal with everyday work, and it reminds us why we chose to do what we do. As great as it is hearing all about our strengths, you should be all ears when somebody points out any weaknesses of your business. It’s not pleasant, sure, but knowing what goes wrong or could go wrong – this knowledge prepares you for the kind of crisis we’re talking about. So, if somebody points out that your online restaurant marketing needs improvement, don’t belittle the problem or it could grow into a crisis.
Control your reviews
Do you know that the whole concept of restaurant marketing could go badly wrong just because of your customer reviews? What one customers writes, another can read, and then form an opinion about your restaurant without even ordering an appetizer. You have to take control over the reviews – and you can do that using an online food ordering system just like UpMenu which allows you to check the review before anyone else sees it and then share it – if you want to.
Think fast! And react
There’s no way to predict a crisis exactly. When it’s there, it’s probably too late to fix the problem altogether and sweep it under the rug – it won’t just pass by unnoticed. Since you won’t be able to make things right immediately, you have to think of the best plan of action to undertake. For example, if it’s restaurant marketing that suffers, you have to know exactly what is wrong with it, who is responsible for the trouble, what are the options to make it better, and who should be in charge of improving the situation.
Talk things through
It’s all fun and games to talk about success, but nobody really wants to talk about failure. People tend to think that if they don’t address the problem, it will just magically disappear. You have to go the other way: if there’s something wrong with your restaurant marketing, a first step to solving the problem is saying it out loud. It’s better to shout out a question than silently look on as the crisis approaches. You have to communicate your problems, because you won’t get through a potential crisis all by yourself.
Big problems, like a crisis in your restaurant, may wake up some instincts in you weren’t even aware of. When a crisis comes, you will think as the captain of a sinking ship, but you cannot forget you have a crew by your side. Don’t they deserve to know what’s happening? If the ship is sinking, you have to let them know.
Talk to your staff
I bet your restaurant management plan didn’t include a situation when you have to fire somebody who did nothing wrong or tell them you cannot pay them everything they earned. Every member of your staff has to be aware of the situation you’re in. Praise them if it goes well, warn them if you predict some changes when it comes to earnings.
Don’t take anything for granted
One day everything goes great but another – even the best restaurant marketing strategies won’t help you. People’s choices change, the market changes, and so too does the economy. In general, times change and so will your business. If it goes bad, within a few months your crowded restaurant can be empty.
As you see, there are a lot of reasons for your restaurant to fall into crisis. Some of them are irreversible and for those you have to be prepared. But there are also those that are totally up to you. They can happen or not, depending on what kind of restaurant marketing and management you run. Keep that in mind and you will greatly lower the chances of having a crisis.
5 Common Scheduling Issues and How to Avoid Them
Creating a reliable and effective work schedule is crucial to growing your business. A great timetable will make your employees happy, which will attract more customers.
On the flipside, a poorly-constructed schedule could have serious consequences.
Employee fatigue has been the cause of many disasters, like the Chernobyl nuclear explosion and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. As a manager, you’ve got to be aware of your employees’ feelings, mentally and physically.
Failing to notice these problems could hurt your company, causing financial loss. Read on to learn about 5 common scheduling issues, and how you can make work schedules work for you.
1. Overworked Workers
As a member of the retail or service industry, you’re no doubt familiar with the dreaded “clopening.” A closing shift (ending at 10 or 11 PM) followed immediately by an opener (beginning 7 or 8 AM) is a lot to put on one person.
Driving and taking care of essential needs can take 2 or more hours. This schedule for work leaves your employee with 6 hours or less to sleep. S/he will come in the next morning exhausted, and you’ll suffer lost time, productivity, or both.
Avoid employee fatigue with software that looks for consecutive shifts and corrects them. Combat it with breaks and regular shift check-ins.
Making schedules for employees requires careful planning. As a leader, understanding your workers’ needs will make you more effective.
They’ll thank you for it by being more productive.
3. Sudden No-Shows
Studies show that 38% of employees have called out of work despite feeling fine.
Last-minute absences can cause severe scheduling issues. Doctor’s appointments, children, and car problems are just a few reasons someone may fail to come into work.
Making a work schedule that fits everyone’s needs is truly an art. Smart software can help alleviate the panic of trying to cover a shift. Allowing employee swaps or having separate teams of workers can help.
Hubworks rolled out their staff scheduling app in order to combat many scheduling issues. Check out their helpful guide to discover the benefits of smart work schedules.
4. Worker Turnover
A long-suffering employee can spell disaster for your company. Losing a few employees won’t be a major downfall. However, high employee turnover can hurt your profit and image.
Hiring someone means investing time, money, and resources to training and onboarding them. If you continue to lose people, it’s time to reassess scheduling issues and management style.
Above all, happy employees mean happy customers.
5. Too Few or Too Many
Too many workers on a shift can be just as bad as too few.
Your budget will shrink fast, and you’ll have to send people home. This means less time and money in both of your pockets.
Only schedule the people you need for that shift. You should alternate workers so that no one works multiple shifts in a row. Employees notice fairness – or lack thereof.
The Art of Combating Scheduling Issues
Figuring out how to schedule employees can be the difference between an okay-manager and a great one. It takes finesse, intelligence, and a dedicated team of individuals to overcome scheduling issues.
To get the best results you’ll need an innovative support system and advanced AI. Check out these great employee management programs to simplify your life.
How to Thrive in a Competitive Industry
There are many competitive industries in the UK. Keeping a close eye on what your competitors are doing is essential to making sure that your business can stay one step ahead of the competition.
Consumers can now find companies in the comfort of their own home. Your business may be great, but it also needs to be discovered by the right audience online. If you find yourself getting lost amongst your competitors, try a new angle and give customers something different.
Kamran Mirshahi is the director of Canary Claims, specialising in PPI claims. Customers can choose to make a claim themselves or use a reputable PPI claims company. But, even if a customer decides to use a PPI claims service, there are a number to choose from. In July 2018, the government put in place a fee cap for all PPI claims companies – and this created even greater competition as many companies now charge the same price.
Despite challenges and rogue PPI claims companies giving the industry a bad name, Kamran has succeeded and thrived in the market. Below, he outlines how your business can do the same.
Create a Unique Selling Point
What is your business’s unique selling point? There needs to be something different about you to stand out. It could be that all UK deliveries are free or you only stock ethical products. For service businesses, do you offer something free to try and convert customers? Whatever it is, make sure it’s different from your competitors.
As a PPI claims company, making our price substantially lower than many other companies was one way to thrive in the industry.
Offer the Best Price
The price point is essential for all companies. How do you balance making enough profit with giving customers a fair price? Return on Investment (ROI) is an important sum to understand. If you believe that a lower price for customers will result in more sales, it could be the right choice for your business. If you are charging a higher rate than your competitors, you should make it clear to customers why this is – and what value you bring to them by charging more.
Have an Easy-to-Use Website
It’s been thirty years since the World Wide Web launched. The technology has revolutionised the way that individuals and companies operate. For companies, the need to stand out during a user’s search is pivotal to success. Creating an SEO-optimised website has never been so important.
But, even once a user lands on your website, they need to be able to access all of the information they require easily. This means your website needs to be user-friendly and transparent. Your target audience might not be tech-savvy – how does the site look to them?
Having an easily accessible website is a winner. Does it have a clear call to action? Is the language easy to read? Can the customer find out all of the information they need quickly and concisely? If not, address these issues.
Be Upfront with Customers
Honesty and integrity are words that a lot of businesses use. But do they all follow them through? Being upfront with customers about what they can expect from your product or service – as well as the cost – is vital.
One of the reasons for shopping cart abandonment is due to high shipping fees that customers weren’t aware of when they started their online shopping. Giving this information to customers can help to reduce this from happening. For those offering services, be clear with your fees upfront. In the PPI claims market, the percentage on a successful claim can make a huge difference to people and showing off a low price can help to increase the number of sales.
Even in competitive markets, you can make your business stand out amongst the competition. Create the best possible website and tell customers why you are the best in your industry.
5 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Rent Office Space
Your business is running full steam ahead! So much so that you’re looking to rent new office space.
But before you sign that dotted line, do you know exactly what you’re getting into and how it will affect your business?
Many people don’t realize choosing the wrong office space can bring business to a screeching halt.
Before you let that happen to you, here are 5 important questions to ask before you rent office space.
1. Is the Location Convenient?
When it comes to real estate matters, it’s always about location, location, location. And the same holds true for your office space.
Make sure it’s a location your employees will be able to get to easily. You’ll want your clients to have no problems finding it. And having good amenities close by is a win for everybody.
2. Will the Size Work for My Needs?
Of course, you’ll want to rent out a space that will comfortably fit your team. But also think about any future growth.
Do you plan to add team members in the future? Will other members work remote and not need a desk?
It’s a balancing act between renting enough space or renting too much. If you think your needs will change, try using flexible workspaces like beoffices.com.
3. Is the Rent Within My Budget?
You want the best workspace possible, but you don’t want to stretch your budget too thin. That’s why you need to take all costs into consideration when renting office space.
Is the rent and deposit reasonable compared to other offices in the area? Are there any extra fees such as maintenance, security, or parking? What are the average utility bills for the space?
Every penny counts when meeting your budget, so read the fine print to find out exactly where your money is going.
4. Can I Get All the Services I Need?
Most businesses rely heavily on a fast and consistent internet speed. Not to mention mobile phone service, cable, and other infrastructures that help a business run smoothly.
Contact the building owner and find out what they offer. It might also be a good idea to ask other businesses in the building, or the area, how their services are.
Check your cell phone service in different areas of the space. Ask if you can do an internet speed test. If the service is great, the owner won’t hesitate to agree to the test.
5. Does the Building Fit with My Brand?
The style of the building tends to be low on many people’s priority list when renting office space, but don’t discount it. If you’re a business that wants to project a particular brand image, your office space plays a key role in that.
Does the decor of the building blend with your brand? Are you able to make changes if not? Would you be proud to post pictures of your office for clients to see?
If any of your answers are no, you may want to keep looking around.
Get All the Facts Before You Rent Office Space
Before you rent office space, do your research. By asking these important questions, you’ll be sure to find the office space that works best for you and your business.
Now that you’ve got your office space in order, ready to build your employee engagement? Check out these 5 tips to boost engagement today!
4 Networking Tips for Solopreneurs
As a solo entrepreneur, everything falls on your shoulders. If you don’t do something, it won’t get done. This includes networking. In order to build a thriving professional network, you have to prioritize time for establishing and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships.
The Value of Networking
Many entrepreneurs and freelancers see networking as something that they could do if they had more time. But it’s time to stop viewing networking as an optional or supplemental activity. Networking is, in fact, one of the single most important investments you can make in the longevity of your career.
Networking is all about building credibility and establishing long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial. It can take months or years for your efforts to pay off, but the results will come.
“Not all of your professional connections will need your services right away,” entrepreneur Neil Kokemuller admits. “However, since you have a connection with them, you have a top-of-mind-awareness advantage when they need your help. This point is especially true if you consistently keep your work and message in front of them.”
You’ll also find value in rubbing shoulders with people who are talented and skilled in areas that you aren’t. Not only can you gather insights and advice from them, but some of their knowledge may actually rub off on you.
4 Tips for Solopreneurs
As a freelancer or entrepreneur, you’re in a unique position. On the one hand, you don’t have access to some of the same networking resources that your employed peers do. However, you have the freedom and flexibility to pursue networking opportunities that others can’t. The key is to make the most of your situation and to continually pursue networking as a long-term investment. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Join Local Groups and Organizations
As a freelancer, you don’t have the benefit of being associated with an established business. This means you lack some of the same connections that employees of large organizations have. You can overcome this deficiency by joining local groups and organizations in your industry. Your membership in these groups will give you access to events, conferences, and career opportunities.
2. Leverage Your Personal Network
There’s also something to be said for leveraging your personal network to discover opportunities and find new connections. Every friend, relative, neighbor, or former classmate is a potentially valuable resource for you and your career. Cultivate these relationships by regularly catching up and/or informing them about what you’re doing.
3. Join a Coworking Space
For many freelancers, working from home is somewhat problematic in the sense that it eliminates your ability to rub shoulders with people on a daily basis. To combat this isolation, join a coworking space that allows you to mingle with other people, yet still remain focused and productive.
“Each tenant gets to be part of a larger network of lawyers, marketers, accountants, entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, and students,” Novel Coworking explains. “You can meet other tenants at networking events, happy hours, and lunch and learns. Your next intern, business partner, or customer could be just across the hallway from your office.”
The beauty of renting coworking space is that you have the flexibility to work when and where you want. If you’re getting cabin fever working from home, you can head to the coworking space for a change of scenery. If the weather is nasty and you don’t feel like going outside, you can simply work from home one day. It’s your call!
4. Build an Online Presence
In today’s world, online networking is just as important as in-person networking. As a solopreneur, you have just as much opportunity as the next professional to take full advantage of this.
The key to online networking is to establish a brand and build up a digital presence. You can do this by creating a website, developing social media profiles, publishing content, and utilizing LinkedIn or other online communities that are specific to your industry.
Adding it All Up
Networking isn’t easy or effortless. It’s gritty, tiresome work that often feels unrelenting and low-returning. However, a long-term investment will ultimately yield a healthy harvest of new opportunities. Prioritize networking, and you’ll infuse greater potential into your career. It’s as simple as that.
Hospitality Help: Tips to Use from Successful Franchises
What if your franchise investment financially ruins you?
Most entrepreneurs hope opening a franchise is their key to sustainable profit. However, it’s easy to make rookie mistakes that sink your business before it really gets off the ground.
Fortunately, you can follow the tips of successful franchises to make your own a smash hit! Keep reading to discover our handy hospitality help guide.
We hate to burst your bubble, but there’s something you should know: you’re not going to get rich quick as a franchisee.
Owning a franchise is mostly about embracing the “slow and steady win the race” mentality. Your goal is steady profit, and it’s hard enough to meet that goal. Overnight superstardom is not going to happen for you.
It sounds simple, but adjusting your expectations is one of the best moves you can make early on in your career. Instead of planning for explosive short-term success, you’ll start planning for long-term gains and growth.
All in all, it’s very Zen: only by accepting the very real possibility of failure can you achieve success.
Many workers see training as a one-shot deal. Someone like a managers gets specific training when they are hired and then they are good to go…right?
However, the challenges facing your franchise are going to change from year to year. And over enough time, your key demographics will change as well.
The solution to this is ongoing training and professional development opportunities for your managers and upper leadership. You can provide such training via multiple methods.
For example, training may be delivered via computer, in-person, or even via productivity apps such as Slack. Not only does this build better leaders, but it shows your employees you are invested in their success.
A successful franchise is something of a paradox. On one hand, part of your appeal is that customers are already familiar with your brand.
On the other hand, customers still want a unique experience. And this is where many franchises drop the ball.
You need to appeal to customers at the individual and community level. Don’t just sell them products: host special events, sponsor local charities, and so on.
Ultimately, you will attract more customers because they’ll want to support a company they see as supporting their community!
Talk With Your Peers
Sometimes, the simplest solutions are also the most effective. Want to figure out what makes a successful franchise? Then you should talk to a successful franchisee!
Don’t talk to just anyone, though. Ideally, you should speak with someone who owns a franchise of the same company and is relatively close to your area.
Such a person will know the ins and outs of running a successful franchise while navigating various corporate rules and regulations. And they will also know what makes the local population tick, giving you an advantage when it comes to sales and marketing.
You can also pair such discussions with your own external research. For instance, this helpful page is invaluable for those wanting a hotel franchise!
Want to hear the three words that spell doom for a franchise? Here they are: “not my job.”
Every employee has a special role to play in your organization. However, some employees are unable (or unwilling) to do anything outside of that role.
In a successful franchise, everyone should be willing to train everyone else. Employees shouldn’t be limited to their special skills: they must be able and willing to teach those skills to other people.
Make sure you are clear on this policy to anyone and everyone that you hire. When every worker is also willing to be a trainer and a leader, you will create a culture of success.
Set and Measure KPIs
Look, we get it: chances are you went into the franchise business to get away from the corporate world and be your own boss.
Nonetheless, there are certain corporate concepts that will help your business succeed. One of the most important is that you must have Key Performance Indicators.
The basic idea is that your franchise is never truly successful enough. You should have specific goals for the next weeks, months, and years, and you must have ways of measuring your success.
One simple way to do this is to rely on secret shoppers. That way, you can accurately gauge the experience your average customer has been having.
Location, Location, Location
You can build your franchise pretty much anywhere. Of course, that can be a good thing and a bad thing.
Many owners pick a location by going with their gut. But trust us on this one: you’ll want to go with your brain instead.
It’s important to think like a customer. Is your location close enough to the center of town? Do you have enough parking for everyone?
Be brutally honest about what the location will mean for your customer’s experiences. If things are annoying or inconvenient, they will quickly move on to a more convenient rival business!
Focus on Retention
Know the phrase “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?” That phrase applies to employees as well!
It’s great to think about strategies for hiring new employees. But it’s actually much more important to hold onto the employees that you already have. They are going to be your most knowledgeable and most efficient workers.
Try to pay attention to how long the average worker works in a position before quitting (management software can help with this). It may be possible to provide reorientation, training, or incentives to retain these workers for longer periods of time.
For the most part, your customer’s experience is determined by your employees. It’s worth it to hold onto the best ones for as long as you can!
Successful Franchises: The Bottom Line
Now you know the secrets of the most successful franchises. But do you know where to get more of the info you need?
At Business Blog Hub, we bring you the advice you need to make your company shine. To discover your next moves, check out our management tips today!
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