Every pizzeria has an idea about what makes their restaurant unique: the food, atmosphere, and service qualities that make it stand out from the rest. But with so many communication channels out there and so little time, how do you get the word out?
One way is to let your loyal customers do the talking. While these “brand advocates” post favorable reviews online, talk to their friends, or provide testimonials for your website, you can spend more time making your business the best it can be. An added bonus is that praise coming from your existing customers carries a lot more weight with consumers than most other forms of marketing.
So how do you create active, enthusiastic brand advocates?
Identify your target. Not all customers fit the “advocate” bill. One easy way to find out who does is a simple single-question survey: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend us to your friends?” Ask that question on your website, with POS prompts to order takers, or with messages printed on the customer’s receipt. SpeedLine can even target the question to your most frequent visitors.
Offer an incentive. You’ve identified your potential brand advocates. Now it’s time to turn them into active advocates. Besides offering your usual stellar customer service, there are a few little extras that can turn customers who like your restaurant into customers who want to tell everyone about their great experience there:
- Loyalty Rewards. Customers who like your pizzeria keep coming back for more. Rewarding them for that loyalty makes them even more loyal, so offer a “frequent flyer” program at your store. Most point-of-sale systems make offering and tracking loyalty easy. SpeedLine, for example, has a single-store loyalty tool, and also integrates with a range of multi-store loyalty programs through its partner, Paytronix.
- Referral Rewards. When advocates directly refer their friends and colleagues, reward them. Set a prompt in the point-of-sale to ask new customers “How did you hear about us?” and if the answer is through a referral, add a credit to the advocate’s account.
- Customized Food. SpeedLine and other pizza-specific POS systems make it fast and easy to offer “create-your-own” pizzas, so be sure to take advantage and let customers have it their way. SpeedLine customer Pizza Ranch has taken it a step further, offering a “Buffet Your Way®” that lets customers request a favorite pizza if it’s not found on the buffet, and then delivering a slice to their table.
- Personal Touches. Pizza restaurants have an advantage over others when it comes to using a customer’s name. The POS delivery database lets order takers see customer names, and people love to hear their name, so be sure to train your staff to use them. Most POS systems also allow staff to recall the last order, so they can personalize the process (and speed it up) by asking the caller, “Would you like the large Hawaiian with onions and extra cheese again?”
- Order Status Updates. With delivery and pickup, there can be a bit of a wait between ordering and eating, so reassure customers that you haven’t forgotten them by letting them know what’s happening with their order. SpeedLine sends a message to customers when their order is dispatched to let them know it’s on its way and when it’s expected to arrive. If Caller ID is integrated with your POS, check to see if it will show order status when customers call back.
- Surprise Freebies. An unexpected free appetizer, dessert, or t-shirt is bound to delight your potential advocates, and they’ll want to tell their friends and family all about it!
- Birthday Greetings. Train staff to record birth dates in the point-of-sale, so you can see whose birthday is coming up and send them a personalized offer. For added impact, mail them a handwritten note. Snail mail and handwritten communications are so rare today that they stand out, and they say “we took the time because we care” loud and clear to your recipients.
Posted by Lisa Siddons
Writes guides, online help, and training content for SpeedLine POS users. An avid hiker and dancer, Lisa also enjoys learning new and exciting things.| Author's website