Use these 5 tips to get customers back through the door by improving customer retention.

4 min read

According to these statistics, in 2017 within the UK there were 86,630 businesses operating in the restaurant and mobile food service industry. With so many dining and delivery options, how do you keep customers coming back after wowing them with your service and food?


Restaurateurs know that it is by far easier and cheaper to get a sale from an existing customer than it is to go out and scout some new ones. However, did you know that the Harvard Business School advises that, “increasing customer retention rates by five percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent” ? Even with the lure of increasing profit, retention is extremely important because it is these loyal customers that will provide you with regular business through quiet periods and will also help you attract new customers through recommendations.

So how can you improve your customer retention rates you may ask and build this customer loyalty? We have 5 tips below you can use with a bit of help from simpleERB. 

1) Customer Reviews

Reviews are a great way to gauge your customers experience and to also build a public rapport. By responding to negative and more importantly positive reviews, lets your customers know how much you value their comments. In simpleERB, you have the ability to control reviews internally by sending customers a review link after dining. This give customers an immediate outlet rather than going straight to social media. You can then send to positive reviews a personalised email by the tick of a button to thank them and ask them to help by reviewing on your preferred social media platform. Everyone likes to feel appreciated and by just responding to their personal experience can increase their likelihood of a revisit. See our blog post here on evidence that proves how important reviews are and our help article on simpleERB reviewing.

2)  Add personal touches to your customers’ experience

We all know how nice it is to have a simple candle added to a birthday dessert or complimentary chocolates at a special hotel stay. These extra touches are the ones that keep you going back, especially for celebratory occasions. You can add a personal touch, (that won’t break the bank), with the help of simpleERB before they even arrive by sending a personalised text message about their upcoming booking.

When making the customer booking, note down any dietary requirements or reasons for their visit within their booking using quick info buttons or notes. Have staff go through the diary view with “show quick info” option enabled the day prior or on the day and note any of these special requirements. Your staff can then go into each booking and send a personal text advising you are looking forward to; celebrating their birthday/anniversary, aware of their dietary requirements or have the high chairs at the ready with coloured pencils! This will show the restaurant you care about there booking needs and they will already have a positive vibe before walking in the door!

3) Use your customers’ booking data for tailored email campaigns

Tailoring your email campaigns to a specific criteria of your customer database, will ensure you are targeting the desired people who will maximise return and build a unique rapport with those customers. Customers are more likely to read the marketing email you have sent if it appeals to them exclusively. Think about how many company emails you receive daily that you actually open. You can easily narrow down your customer criteria with simpleERB by using the customers export report. Here you can filter customer data to; booking periods, previous booked offers/promotions and your customised quick info buttons. For example; you may wish join the band of restaurants increasing the number of vegan options in your menu. Send an email to all the customers who have been marked as vegan and welcome them to come in and try the new dishes you created for them!

4) Use booking offers for unique loyalty programs

A loyalty program or a competition are always great initiatives to entice customers to come back, which will  hopefully convert them into a ‘regular diner’. Once you have created a stand out incentive for your customers who have dined before, you can then create a private booking offer where you can send them a unique link to book their treat for being a great customer. Only customers with this link can book that online offer you have set up for them. Great example could be a free dessert on your fourth visit. Monitor this with a classic tamp card or have staff observe the customer booking history. When the customer dines for the third time, your staff could send over a personal email from within the customers booking with the link when marking the table ready. 

5) Keep on top of disappearing Customers 

Lastly and more importantly, you need to monitor those customers who are slipping away and entice them back! Like we said right back at the beginning (we’ve gone full circle), it is easier to get a sale from someone who has already dined in your restaurant. The disappearing customer report in simpleERB, which you can set to auto send each month, can help with this by being able to pull the right data. You can export a list of customer who previously dined 3 times in the year but haven’t visited in the past 3 months. Put this information to good use and set up a campaign to get them back in the door with a “we’ve missed you” personalised email along with a private bookable offer of a complimentary welcome back drink.

Apart from these five tips, you could always think outside the box and look at alternatives. This could be looking at setting up a live chat box on your website (click here to see Top 10 Live Chat Softwares ) or using messenger on your Facebook page with customer set FAQ. This allows customers to message you quickly for immediate gratification on trivial queries they might have about menus or bringing a cake which will help build a personable rapport before they even dine.
Image: StockSnap from Pixabay