During the first week of October, business owners everywhere celebrate National Customer Service Week. Although this is a great time to plan a promotion, celebrating great customer service can happen anytime of the year. A promotional deal like this allows you to remind customers of your commitment to customer satisfaction and offers a great opportunity for your customers to come on in and see what’s cooking.
A great example of how to use customer appreciation as a promotional tool is found in the “Customer Appreciation Day” campaign from the sub sandwich shop, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. In 2012, this deal offered customers a limited selection of $1 eight-inch subs during a specified amount of time within the selected day. This tactic created long lines and increased popularity for the brand throughout the day. To get the word out, participating Jimmy John’s franchises advertised on their website, tweeted, posted on Facebook and notified local news outlets to spread the word.
The appeal of a customer appreciation or customer service-related promotion is that it is something that is instantly accessible. Customers don’t have to keep a loyalty card, rack up points or do any other activity other than show up and purchase the discounted item. In order to implement this type of promotion successfully, food and beverage business owners need to put a few parameters in place:
- Create a limited time offer (LTO). Clearly post the promotion’s time limitations. Plan on a defined cut-off time for people in line or seated at tables, such as “customers must be in line by 3 p.m. or table orders must be made by 10 p.m.”
- Limit accessibility to the deal. Restrict the promotion to just in-store orders. This eliminates delivery timing issues and creates the “what’s going on over there” effect that long lines broadcast to onlookers.
- Staff accordingly. Be sure to plan ahead for excited and pushy customers. Remember the whole point of the promotion is to showcase great service and appreciation for your customers, so make sure to have enough staff on hand to handle the extra demand. This promotion is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what your business can do. Make it a pleasantly memorable experience for everyone.
- Watch costs. Take a look at the most popular item on your menu. Consider using a top-selling item to draw in the crowds, but be careful to not lose money on the deal. Create smaller portions of fan favorites or simplify the deal to an item that will attract customers that are likely to order more than just the promotional item.
- Capture customer information. Use this opportunity to capture customer contact information for future promotions. Be sure to have contact forms and plenty of pens available. Another, more interactive approach is to have a couple of staff members with digital tablets or paper notebooks collecting information from customers in line. You can use this information for loyalty clubs, birthdays, anniversaries or any other direct contact promotional offers used in your marketing plan.
With the right plan in place, a customer service or customer appreciation promotional offer can generate a lot of positive buzz about your business. Keep your goals and your promotion organized for the best and most profitable outcome.