When the economy is down, you need more than a flashy name or a new marketing plan to continue to turn a profit in the private dining business. When push comes to shove, it’s relationships that bring customers to your front door.
Pinching Pennies and Word of Mouth
When consumers are feeling the pressure of a down economy, they invest more time and energy in researching goods and services before they open their wallets. This added caution equates slower business for many industries, including private dining.
One of the most popular ways that consumers research a business is through word of mouth. They ask friends, family, neighbors, and the guys at the coffee shop what they think about a certain restaurant or caterer. This is where your customer relationship history really pays off. If you have a long line of extremely satisfied customers who feel they received personal, exceptional service, they will talk up your business better than the most expensive marketing campaign.
Conversely, if your customers believe your service was lacking in any area, they will warn others to shop around for a better private dining company. The best way to build business for your competition is to neglect customer relationships. That personal touch, extra something, or friendly smile goes a long way toward earning repeat business and new customers.
Building Repeat Business
When times get tight, you need to provide your customers with a reason for spending money beyond the usual enticements. Building a relationship with clients makes them eager to return to your front door after a long day, just to see a friendly face.
Providing a warm, pleasant atmosphere filled with genuine laughter and concern is worth the price of a meal for many consumers, even when their budget is shrinking by the minute. People are creatures of habit. They will return to an establishment to relive pleasant memories, reminisce with family and friends, or celebrate new milestones in a familiar setting.
Relationship Building Tips
• In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, customers long for a chance to unwind. The private dining atmosphere provides the perfect opportunity to fulfill this need. Meet the needs of the client and they will return again and again, singing your praises.
• Encourage honest feedback and always acknowledge a customer’s concerns before moving on to a solution. Never dismiss or gloss over a complaint. (This leaves the customer feeling unappreciated and frustrated and is not conducive to building a positive relationship.) Address the feeling behind the concern, apologize when appropriate, and then offer a solution that satisfies both you and the customer.
• Provide a personal touch for every customer interaction. This could be as simple as calling them by name, showing attention to children, or meeting a need before it is voiced.
Building positive client relationships ensures repeat business, even in a down economy. Good relationships provide better advertising than full color billboards, and create a sense of quality service in demand. Private dining customer relationships are key to survival in financially uncertain times.