Without establishing customer loyalty, a company’s chances of success may diminish. What do consumers look for in a restaurant, store, or company that keeps them coming back time and time again? Let us explore different aspects that help companies to establish customer loyalty.
It is natural for a person to choose for example one supermarket where he prefers to buy stuff or to choose favorite restaurant. What keeps me and some other people the loyal customers of their favorite restaurants?
What Made Me a Loyal Customer
Talking about personal experience, I would like to give an example of one Chinese restaurant that I have been using since three years ago. When I came there first with my friends, the place did not look cozy enough for me. Nevertheless, I was surprised with the quality and taste of the food I was given there. In some time I decided to visit the restaurant again because I was satisfied with what I ate last time. It was hard for me to find another restaurant with the same quality of the food. When I came, I recognized that I did not remember the name of the food and what I would like to order because last order was made by my friends. A waiter willingly helped me to make a choice. It was second reason why I start being the loyal customer of the restaurant and even suggested it to many of my friends.
What Keeps Me Loyal
During the years I have been coming to the restaurant it appearance was changing; but the quality of the food and service still keep me the loyal customer there. Waiters in the restaurant know all their loyal customers and try to make them feel at home. Most of all I like when they help me to make my dinner more comfortable and always informing me about new changes and how I can use it. Even if there is no place to sit the staff always tries to be on help. A waiter asks if I want to eat in the restaurant or I want to take the food with me and makes my waiting comfortable. Also the administrator always asking me some days before some holidays if I want them to keep a table for me and what food I would like to order; they always try take care about it from far. I still the loyal customer of the restaurant because I feel comfortable there and always leave in a good mood. It is exactly the way I want to rest after a working day.
The Interviews: Loyalty and the Competition
Many of my friends also are the loyal customers of bars and restaurants. I do not really like some of places they have been going to. I decided to find out why they like it.
First friend whom I interviewed was y neighbor, a 35 years old man. He likes a sport bar that is not far from his house. He is a football fan so for him it is an opportunity to watch a match together with people who are sharing his interests. He was brought to the sport bar by his colleague and has been staying the loyal customer of the place since half a year ago. The place has a big flat screen and it allows football fans to enjoy a game perfectly. He is saying:
– I liked the place from the very first time. It was established especially for the type of fans I am. It is more than just a bar or a restaurant for me. It is a kind of club where I meet people with the same interests. Sometimes they improve some details but most of the changes are not visible. I like it because it is comfortable for me to come back to a place and see that nothing changes. It helps me to relax and enjoy myself. For me the place is above the competition because I feel like I have found exactly what I was looking for. I think that administrators know what they are doing because most of the loyal customers there are like me. We are looking for the people with the same interests, for the constant company and polite service. I found these entire things in the place; so I am going to keep staying the loyal customer there.
(J. Doblat, personal communication, March 3, 2011).
Another person whom I interviewed was my colleague. He has been married for 5 years already. He and his wife are the loyal customers of the restaurant where they met each other some years ago. He is explaining his choice:
– I and my wife met on the St. Valentine’s Day in this restaurant. Both I and she used to visit the place before. I liked some special proprietary cocktails and dishes there. She liked the romantic arrangement. It was the nice place for celebrating different kinds of holiday both private and official. Staff there is always polite and very professional. They value loyal customers and making for us pleasant surprises from time to time. Now when we married, we still celebrate St. Valentine’s Day and the anniversary of our marriage in the restaurant. For us this place became special because our relationships started there. Both of us work and we have no much of spare time. Nevertheless, we are happy to use the opportunity to celebrate our special dates in the favorite place together. The restaurant is quiet; it gives a good opportunity for such people like us to enjoy the company of each other. We like to visit new places, but those restaurant stays out of the competition for us. The reason is rather simple: we like to come back to our common remembrances and enjoy it. Administrators understand us and other loyal customers and try to avoid the global changes in the arrangement. They know that many people come there to rest from the world which changes so fast. (G. Blanel, personnel communication, March 4, 2011).
Compare and Contrast: the Interviewees and Me
I compared their answers and my own experience and noticed some interesting facts. First, people are looking for some stability that is why they like to visit one place again and again. If they liked some food or arrangement they want to find it the same when they come next time. Second, people are looking for comfortable places to where they can relax and enjoy themselves. If they found the place they would come back again to repeat the good experience. Different people value different things. On the one hand, some of them like to enjoy the big company of like-minded persons (like my neighbor); others wish to enjoy themselves (like me) or the tight company of close people (like my colleague and his wife). On the other hand, three of us have the same reasons why we became the loyal customers of the one certain place. We like the quality of the food; we like the attitude and qualities of the staff; we like stability; we like the opportunity to relax and feel comfortable. Summarizing everything that I found out, I can bring to a close the following fact: when people find a place that satisfy all their needs (or even most part of the needs) they became the loyal customers. All of us wish to come back to a place which was enjoyable and where staff is ready to support us and to be on help.
What I Think Makes a Loyal Customer
This paper was about the loyal customers of different restaurants; but whatever type of services and companies we are talking about, the secret of turning an ordinary customer to the loyal customer is simple: the establishers and directors should define the group of people they want to attract and follow interests and wishes of the group. Here are some more aspects that help to turn people into loyal customers: communication with customers (whether by e-mail or personal); creation of the customer service; provide the employee loyalty and trainings; customer incentives (people should understand why they need to return to a place again); product awareness; reliability; flexibility; the policy “People over Technology”; also it is important to remember the names of the loyal customers.
There are some things that are extremely important for all companies and services: the quality of goods and the professional polite staff would attract as much loyal customers as it is possible; me and many other people confirm that these are two things they pay attention to most.
Baniewicz, C. (2010). Can You Make an Angry Customer Loyal. Oxford University Press.
Dowling, G. (1997). Do Customer Loyalty Programs Really Work? Business Press.
Salter, J. (2010). Easy Ways to Keep Your Customers Loyal. New York Press.