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    10 Replies Latest reply on Oct 20, 2007 3:41 PM by MeGaHW

    Rewarding your loyal customers?

    Marzipan Wayfarer
      A lot of marketing is always geared towards attracting new customers, however what are some ideas for retaining your existing customers? By the way, I'm involved in the food/restaurant industry. Thanks.
        • Re: Rewarding your loyal customers?
          JavaJoe Wayfarer

          That's a great question as most businesses focus their efforts on getting new customers. Some establishments that I frequent offer rewards cards (e.g. order 10 sandwiches, get one free). Or if there is a mailing list that they sign up for you may want to include coupons, etc.
          • Re: Rewarding your loyal customers?
            dragon Newbie
            There are many ways to reward your loyal customers. One might offer a "frequent users card", a "bonus card", basically the more they buy/spend the more they save. People like to know they are saving money and they like to see the savings...especially loyal customers. I use punch cards for my 5, get the 6th one free. Gift certificates to be used in your restuarant is another idea.
            I hope this helps.
            • Re: Rewarding your loyal customers?
              mpoweringu Wayfarer
              JavaJoe and dragon make GREAT suggestions in the case of your business. Giving out "free" food (after purchasing a certain amount) is always good! Coupons are always good!

              Without knowing more about your exact business, it is hard to come up with additional ideas.

              BUT, let's say you are a restaurant and you have your loyal patrons. Well, they are probably loyal for a few reasons:
              1. They like the food
              2. They like the service they get
              3. They like the atmosphere
              So, let's focus around this.

              If they like your food, maybe you could invite them or sign them up to be on your "new dish taste testers" list where they will actually get to try new menu items for free if they agree to provide you valuable feedback! Hey, FREE food AND I get to help make the food I love better?! I'm in!

              If they like your service, which almost no great dish can keep me coming to a restaurant if the service is horrible, then when they come in, maybe your manager can handle their table personally (if it is a small restaurant of course, or make sure your best waitor/waitress is on their table! Show that personal service and desire for complete satisfaction!

              If it is the atmosphere, then save them a table. Loyal patrons at restaurants usually stick to one place to sit RELIGIOUSLY! So, if you patron comes in at the same time everyday, then save their favorite table!

              These are just a few ideas that do not require you to give too much, but can make a big impact!

              Thanks, Brian
              • Re: Rewarding your loyal customers?
                WEBillions Adventurer
                You might be able to have promotional events by partnering with a nearby business.

                For example, say Wednesday nights are slow at your local theatre. You could throw a promotion for a dinner and a movie discount.
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: Rewarding your loyal customers?
                  dazzler Wayfarer
                  Hello. On my web site, I sell 1-of-a-kind handcrafted necklaces. I offer a VIP Club for my customers, so that when they purchase 5 necklaces, they get 1 free of their choice, plus the title of being a VIP Club member. I randomnly surprise my VIP's in the mail with holiday cards and little gifts. They feel special and I gain business. I have 18 customers so far in my VIP Club which means if each person bought at least 5 necklaces, that is bottom line....90 necklaces SOLD! (And, each necklace retails for at least $50).
                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • Re: Rewarding your loyal customers?
                    Lighthouse24 Ranger

                    In answer to the question, "How to RETAIN customers . . ." (not necessarily "reward" them as indicated in the subject line), NEVER get complacent. Never let any part of your operation go on "autopilot" just because it has a history of success.

                    I conduct a management development seminar for my clients and my own firms where the participants (usually 6 - 8 at a table with 10 - 12 tables) must decide as a group on "The Best Restaurant in Town." The purpose is to teach group facilitation and consensus-building techniques, and the process involves each table generating a "short list" and a set of criteria for determining their final choice (they can't merely "vote" -- they must discuss and agree).

                    I've done this program a couple of times a year in eight different cities for nine years, and I've seen a consistent trend -- restaurants climb their way to the short list, stay there for a couple of years, and then quickly drop off altogether. When they drop off, there is always one key criterium to blame (service, cleanliness, quality of food, etc.). They are suddenly receiving low scores from every table in an aspect of the business where they were once superior. And the low rating is always accompanied by participant comments like, "They used to be really good, but . . ."

                    Know what you're good at, and keep trying to get better. Check with customers frequently to ensure that you ARE getting better -- that nothing is slipping. On that subject, don't ask the customer a general question like, "How is everything?" or "Is everything all right?" General questions get general (and generally useless) replies. Be specific: "It's our goal to have the cleanest dining room in town. How did we do today?" or "I'm trying to make sure each one of our steaks is cooked to perfection. How was yours tonight?"

                    Finally, from my perspective as a customer, if you stay consistently good -- if I know I can bring a client or date there and have a great meal with great service every time -- that's "reward" enough for me!

                    I hope this was helpful.
                    • Re: Rewarding your loyal customers?
                      LUCKIEST Guide
                      Have you been to the SCORE web site at ""
                      SCORE has a FREE Virtual Learning Center with 26 on line courses.
                      Give it a try. Good luck, LUCKIEST
                      • Re: Rewarding your loyal customers?
                        MeGaHW Newbie
                        Good question. We issue Member Rebates based on their spending amount with us EVERY MONTH. We send out a gift vouchers to them every month in the amount of their rebates for in store or online purchases. Maybe you can develop a mailing list and email them a gift voucher as well?