If you’re running a coffee shop or cafe, then you know that the most vital key component that will lead to your businesses success is having repeat or regular customers. Regular customers can greatly improve the atmosphere of your business, they help the coffee shop feel more like a home or a great place to hang out and unwind and most importantly they boost your profits.
So what goes into attracting regular customers? How do you create an atmosphere for your coffee shop that helps attract reoccurring travelling flow? Here are some tips to help you capture regular customers who can improve your coffee shop’s business.
Build Relationships with Your Customers
While this tip may seem obvious, it’s something that a lot of business owners don’t go out of their way to achieve. Building a relationship with your customer base goes a long way while also showcasing your hospitality and customer service. Building a relationship with your customers goes beyond just asking them their order and delivering courtesy where it’s due. It’s about building a relationship that goes beyond your way and means of making your customer base feel welcomed in your establishment and engaged with yourself or even your employees.
An easy first step to do so is to learn your customers’ names. Why? Well, a person’s name is tied to their individuality and identity so by learning their name, you’re also learning about them as an individual which sets them apart from other customers who come into the coffee shop and tend to leave as quickly. By learning a customer’s name you’re showing them that they are more than a customer in your coffee shop, they’re an individual who you’re connecting with on a personal level.
Once you’ve learned your customer’s name, don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper. Ask them basic questions. Such as what they do for a living, if they have a family or a partner, what their hobbies or interests are. But when you’re asking such questions, it’s important to note: don’t make it feel like it’s an interview. Your customer isn’t seeking to gain employment at your coffee shop; they aren’t a potential hiree that you’re seeking to employ. They’re an individual that you’re trying to learn more about, the same way you’d do with people you want to strike up a friendship with. More than likely, you’ll see your customers several times a week on average, so treat them as the friend that you see on a daily basis.
Remember the Space
Don’t forget that you’re in a coffee shop. An unkempt establishment can instantly be a turnoff for customers. Ever walked into a petrol station bathroom? Walking into a dirty establishment instantly kills whatever mood you were trying to create.
So as a professional remember to keep things tidy. As this greatly affects a customers experience. While cleanliness is something you should always strive to achieve, having a clean space helps to eliminate anything that can serve as an obstacle in the way of the customers overall experience.
When you actively take into account the customers experience, it helps to give a new meaning to why it’s important to clean the shop, push the chairs in and hoover. Instead of focusing more on the health requirements, it becomes more about the customers and their expectations.
Deliver Great and Consistent Products
If you have a good reputation for coffee, food, or sweets then customers will make an effort to return time and time again. Consistency makes a huge difference between standard coffee shops and yours. When it comes to coffee shops, customers always want a place where regardless of the season, the barista, how busy the shop is, or minor product changes that the coffee will taste and be as good as the first day they ordered it.
Of course, coffee is a temperamental thing to master. As skills, weather, the time of day, when the beans were roasted, and a bunch of other variables can change coffee’s taste and therefore the customer’s experience.
However, despite all of this managers and trainers must make sure their staff is equipped well to handle such subtle changes. Naturally, there will always be some employees who adapt faster than others, but every barista in your coffee shop should be able to provide the same level of experience as the more seasoned baristas that exist in your coffee shop.
You Can’t Spell Service Industry Without “Serve”
When you own a coffee shop it’s quite easy to forget about the customers when you focus more on the craft of coffee and other items that your shops sell. When you work in something that you’re passionate, you might tend to forget that your occupation involves giving the thing you spent time creating away.
When your customers become regulars this presents an opportunity to make drink recommendations to them. You can recommend them items on the menu that typically aren’t ordered or that you believe they’ll enjoy after getting to know what they usually enjoy. This involves a great deal of trust on your customers part as they’ll have to trust that your recommendation will suit their palette.
Focus on the Staff
When it comes to creating an atmosphere that you want your customers to feel comfortable to return to, some effort has to also be placed in the staff as well. Sure, your staff might have bad days or there might be problems in their personal lives. But it’s important that if you aim to create an environment where your customers want to be there, your staff should reflect the same attitude.
If you’re the leader of a coffee shop then you must treat your employees with the same level of respect that you’d have for anyone else. Pay your employees a decent wage, don’t make the schedule too terrible for them (if they ask for days off or for their schedule to be switched try to grant it). And most of all listen to your employees if they bring you any concerns that they might have. Whether this concern might relate to an aspect of the business or another employee themselves.
While this tip may have gotten your heart palpitating, this doesn’t mean giving your customer a free item every single time they come into the shop in order to win their loyalty. Giving out your customer a free cup of coffee if they buy a bag of roasted coffee beans or sit through a special promotion is enough to showcase your hospitality and makes your customer feel loyal to your shop.
Appreciate Your Customers
In lieu of loyalty cards like larger coffee shops often do, do something a little bit more special. Like holding a customer appreciation day at your coffee shop in which customers can order a free beverage from a specially curated list. Not only does this make them feel appreciated but it can drum up business and get more traffic for your shop.
Recommend an Item
When it comes to coffee or any other item you serve at your shop, customers don’t tend to deviate when they eat or drink the same thing every day. Instead, have your baristas recommend your customer something different that’s around the same price as what they usually order. Not only does this get your customers to try something new, but they become aware that there’s something else at your shop that they can order.
Bring It to Their Tables
It’s somewhat awkward to have to stand around and wait for the shout above the natural noise of the coffee shop for your order. So instead, change it up. Have your baristas serve your customers their coffee at their tables. Not only does it make your customers feel appreciated, but the baristas can easily remember which customer ordered which coffee and simply walk it out to them.
First Drink on the House
When a new customer comes in simply give them their first drink on the house. Yes, your coffee shop will be eating the cost of such an action, but you can offer that customer rewards up to a certain period of time or even a special promotion later down the line. This makes the customer feel appreciated and will ensure that they come around to your coffee shop multiple times down the road.
Challenge the Tastes
A lot of customers have very specific beliefs about coffee. Some never stray away from black coffee and some have beliefs that coffees like lattes or macchiatos aren’t delicious. Instead, challenge your customers’ beliefs and have a day where you offer samples in order to change your customers’ opinions on the different tastes that coffee can have.
Explain the Drinks
Customers typically appreciate an explanation of how drinks are made. Not only are you engaging the customers’ interests, but such a detailed explanation forges a connection.
Customer satisfaction doesn’t just happen instantly, it’s something that has to be forged over time. Customers will notice if they’re being treated specially and a lot of effort goes a long way with some hospitality.
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