After spending nearly 10 years in the hospitality world working as a server, manager and owner, I have encountered my fair share of food sent back, customer complaints and negative online reviews. On the other hand, I have received a lot of praise, compliments, and high-fives from customers throughout the years, too. More importantly, I have heard praise from many first-time visitors/customers based on a recommendation they received from a friend and/or colleague. As a business owner and/or marketer every time we hear these type of statements we need to jump for joy, Carpe Diem, Seize the Day and act upon this opportunity that was just presented to you. A new customer just told you that they received amazing feedback from someone they trust and they are giving you the chance to WOW them. They are also giving you the opportunity to leverage an often overlooked concept in your business’s marketing strategy, “The Three R’s of Relationship Marketing.”
As a business owner, referrals set the tone for relationship marketing. It tells you that you have left a lasting impression with a previous customer and you now have brand advocates out on the streets preaching from the mountain tops, “Your Business Rocks!” The moment you hear that a new customer is visiting you or using your service for the first time you need to handle this customer as if they were your first and/or last customer because they very well could be if you do not. I think it goes without saying, we need to ensure that we handle every customer the same way but sometimes we all need to be reminded. By doing this we are taking both short-term and long-term proactive measures to help drive more referral traffic through your door.
Now that you have more referral traffic coming through your door, by default you are increasing your word-of-mouth advertising and online reputation. That being said, we now need to make sure that we have a clear understanding of what your customers are saying about your business and how to leverage this information and/or data to increase and retain business. Evaluating your online reputation is so viable to the growth of your business and/or brand. By reviewing and analyzing all feedback, comments and posts you can spot trends that you can leverage to your benefit to help increase referral traffic and build our online/offline reputation of your brand.
Finally, if we are executing the first two steps in Relationship Marketing properly, the final stage, “Retention” should all fall into place. Keeping a high retention rate is so crucial to the stability of your business. Being able to keep your clients month after month, year after year, allows you to plan for growth and project futures all while allowing you to focus on the process of the Three R’s of Relationship Marketing. Thus the circle repeats itself and your business continues to grow.
Repeating the fundamentals of this system as well as following “The Three A’s of Reputation Management” will give you a solid strategy and foundation for you and your staff to deploy on a daily basis at your business. For more information feel free to contact us.