A quick way to guarantee customers keep coming back
I was walking down the main street of Sydney’s sunny Surry Hills when I spotted a business using a technique I had never seen before. This tactic was a sure-fire guarantee for bringing customers into the business, plus it also mastered customer retention.
In the process of murdering the competition (in a saturated marketplace!), these guys had developed a hugelyÂ powerful, super-low-cost technique that hinges on a simple principal even a five-year-old can understand.
Appeal to your customer’s passions
Wait! Before you write this off as another entry-level biz article about “passion”, let me explain the specifics of the tactic. Doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – this will change everything:
I was walking down the road in a haze of caffeine withdrawal looking for a good expresso when this particular cafe jumps out at me. There are probably 50 cafes within a kilometre of my house… so getting my attention alone was a good accomplishment.
I wander through the door and order my coffee – it arrives promptly and is exceptional. Still… nothing to write home a blog post about.
Looking around the small coffee joint, I notice Polaroid photos (in this day and age!) stuck on the walls. Every image is a dog, with it’s name written at the bottom.
This is weird…. or so I think, until closer inspection reveals that the dogs were all photographed at the cafe.
I look around and realise 80% of the other customers have dogs with them. Hmm.
I stayed at this cafe for around 30 minutes. In that short time I observed three dog owners “discover” the cafe when the dogs they were walking led them over to engage in a round of mutual butt-sniffing.
The new people chatted breeds and exchanged dog-compliments with the existing customers. All three ended up buying a coffee and two of three bought a muffin as well.
Total ROI? Around $20 total in sales from totally new customers. In 30 minutes. Without anyone doing anything.
So what is the technique?
Let’s analyse exactly what was going on here…
The cafe owners had been taking snapshots of their customers puppy-dogs.Â Doing so had delighted the dog enthusiasts who occasionally visited. Repeat business was ensured for two reasons:
– Rapport was built between the cafe staff and customers as they fawned over dogs with the camera.
– An “emotional debt” was created. By giving dogs (their owners) recognition, they were compelled to come back as a thank-you and to look at (show their friends) the photos.
The cafe had become an established “dog person” institution… where owners and dogs can socialise with like-minded people (or breeds).
Even better, the collection of dogs tied-up around outdoor tables attracted more dogs and their owners.
The cafe capitalised on their new clientele by adding touches like a water bowl for canines. They should add chew-toys to the menu.
What can you do to improve Customer Retention?
The lesson behind my coffee experience is an often overlooked element to business success.
By finding a niche target market, like coffee-addict-dog-owners, you can create a unique and remarkable business by offering value above and beyond the market-place average.
Surry Hills is packed with coffee shops – this one is booming (albeit with dogs) because it is the only place that features doggie customers all over the walls. “Nifty… can you snap Rex for me?” – real words uttered by a customer I observed.
Coffee and Dogs have nothing related except that a huge number of people are passionate about both. If this cafe just served incredible coffee (it does) then it would just be another good coffee place (there are hundreds).
By giving away some “free value” (a cool dog snapshot) and helping people get their dogs the recognition they all secretly crave, this place has become an iconic spot.
So check up on your business today:
1. Who is your Target Market?
2. What else do they need/want/love?
3. How many ways could you give it to them?
4. Which one of those “ways” is no-one else doing?
5. What are you waiting for?