7 Surefire Ways to Turn Loyal Customers into Lifetime Advocates

 In Bar & Restaurant Operations, Customer Service

With the explosion of social media platforms and review sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon, the ability to manage what your customers are saying about your bar or restaurant has never been more paramount. (If you’d like to learn how to set up free tools to hear what customers are saying about your bar or restaurant, check out our recent post.)

The social media marketing firm Zuberance estimates that a brand advocate is worth five times more than a regular customer and they tend to spend twice as much with your business. And according to a 2009 Forrester Research survey, restaurants are the top category of products and services that people share opinions about using the web.

But just as important as it is to effectively manage and respond to negative customer feedback, don’t forget that your most loyal, satisfied customers also offer tremendous marketing value.

Are you leveraging the influence of your most passionate customers? Below are 7 surefire ways to turn your best customers into lifetime advocates.

1) Identify who your lifetime advocates are:

The first step in unlocking the potential of your lifetime advocates is to identify who are your most loyal and influential customers. Start by tapping into your list of Reward Card members or by finding your most active Facebook fans. You may also want to check out Klout, a popular platform designed to help businesses measure the social media influence of their fans and followers.

2) Tell them what you want your loyal customers to do for your brand:

You may have plenty of happy and loyal customers who love your bar or restaurant, but that doesn’t automatically mean they will spread the word to their friends and social networks. Direct them with specific actions, such as asking them to share their experience on Yelp or checking in on your Facebook business page during their next visit.

3) Give them incentives to serve as a brand advocate:

Your loyal customers will appreciate the perks that come along with being a brand advocate for your business. Give them reasons to spread their love for your bar or restaurant with special incentives, even if it’s just a free drink or appetizer.

4) Tap into social media platforms:

Connect and engage with your loyal customers and fans by being active on the popular social media platforms where they interact, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Watch our video to learn how you can use social media to drive stronger customer loyalty.

5) Don’t disappoint:

Consistency, consistency, consistency… of food, service and atmosphere is a must when it comes to keeping your loyal customers happy. Disappointing them is the fastest way to lose their trust and support.

6) Make them feel special:

Go the extra mile to make sure that your loyal customers feel important. It could be something as simple as making sure that you personally visit their table or have the Executive Chef check in on them to make sure that they like their meals.

7) Say thank you:

Often times, just simple gestures of gratitude get overlooked. Thank your loyal customers for their patronage and support by just remembering to say “Thank You.”

What strategies or tools have you used to turn your loyal customers into advocates for your bar or restaurant? We’d love to hear from you.

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