Customer Service

Keep your customers coming back

Good service will make your customer to come back.

“Service can either make a customer come back to you or chase them straight to your competitor’s door”, says Demographica Brand Manager, Megan Louw. 

Marketing is a fundamental aspect of any business but as an independent tavern or restaurant, you’ll never have a marketing budget like other chain restaurants and bars.

You can, however, still market your business without having to rely on traditional and expensive advertising methods. Donald Makhafola, looks into how this can be achieved

Marketing is a fundamental aspect of any business but as an independent tavern or restaurant, you’ll never have a marketing budget like other chain restaurants and bars.

Megan Louw, Brand Manager at Demographica, a database marketing company, says it’s a common fallacy that businesses need a lot of advertising or marketing money to reach their customers.

“We mustn’t forget that all the big companies were once small companies that also did not have a marketing budget in the beginning. Gather as much information as you can, through research, about your community so that you can cater to their individual needs, at the right time, in the right places,” says Louw.

Here are some of the questions you should ask when conducting marketing research:

  1. What makes you different from your competitors?
  2. What will make a customer choose your shop rather than the one on the other side of the road?
  3. Who are your customers?
  4. What are their daily habits?
  5. When and why would they need your product?               

Planning a Marketing Strategy

Megan expresses the importance, especially for small businesses,of having a marketing strategy in place. “If your community does not know that you exist they cannot use your services. Exposing yourself to the community in a positive light will increase your sales massively.”

“Business owners should have a clear idea on the direction of their business and what marketing methods will get them to their end goal.”

When considering “how” to reach your clients you may need to do some market research. Questions that should be asked include:               

  1. Are your customers spending more time on their cell phones or on their email?
  2. When are they more likely to visit your business, during the week or on the weekend?
  3. When do your consumers get paid?

Louw says when building a consumer database with names, email addresses and cell phone numbers, it’s important to constantly update these contacts so that when the time comes for you to use this base for marketing you will be reaching the right people on their devices.

An outdated database has no value at all. “Is amazing when you need to contact them but often those email addresses and cell phone numbers will become deceased and prove useless to the business owner.”

“Once you have a broader knowledge of your consumers you can then start contacting them at the right time to get them into your space to purchase.”

Marketing Methods

By word of mouth:According to Louw, for small businesses in communities, the best and cheapest method of marketing is simple by word of mouth. Good service and an excellent product will get the community talking.

To boost the buzz amongst family and friends, you could also have daily specials, such as joining products for example “if you buy a two litre Coke you get a free loaf of bread”. News of these specials will spread, and customers will choose your business over your competitors because you are giving them a better deal.

Pamphlets

Louw says another cheap method of marketing is to createcolourful pamphlets and posters that can be placed around your community informing people of where your business is and what you are offering.

Service

But she says the way you handle your customers is extremely important to the success of your business. “Always be helpful, always smile and always go the extra mile in making their experience with your service unbelievable. Service can either make a customer come back to you or chase them straight to your competitor’s door,” she warns. She says as business owners you need to think long term and by creating an experience that is unforgettable you will see customers coming back.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is when you communicate your message straight to the consumer, which is perfect for small and start-up businesses to grow your consumer base. This can be done by sending out SMSs, emails and cold-calling potential customers.

Louw recommended that you should consider direct marketing because is most certainly feasible for small businesses. “You are more than likely going to have a few competitors within your community so you need to make sure you stick in people’s minds.” 

“Direct marketing also means that you remain top of mind. When you make contact with one of your consumers who you haven’t heard from in a while, reminding them that you are still around, is pivotal to keep them coming back.”

Be Relevant

Marketers need to keep their eyes and ears constantly open to what is going on within their community so that when you do target them with your advertising message it is relevant to them at the moment in time, Louw advised. “An example here is maybe the water has been cut-off within your community; this is an idealtime to advertise that you have a supply of bottled water and that you are offering a special deal on buying bottled water.”

Your business may offer the best products in your industry, but without marketing, none of your potential customers would know about it. Without marketing, sales may go down and ultimately your business may have to close down. The heart of your business success depends on its marketing. This is a process in which a product or business is introduced and promoted to potential customers.