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Critical Customer Retention Tactics to Improve Your FEC

Alex Keller
Jun 25, 2019 7:00 AM

“Should I be thinking about my customer retention tactics?”

“We’re supposed to be focusing on new, different business walking through our door… right?”

You’ve probably asked these questions to yourself at least once before. 

Complex questions deserve complex answers, but I’ll keep it brief: yes, and yes. Simply put, customer retention maximizes your revenue with all new guests. 

With that in mind, let’s take some time and focus on our customer retention tactics.

Customer Retention Tactics

Who are your “regulars”?

  • If faces (and names) just came to mind -- awesome! You’re on the right track.
    • *Bonus round* -- why do they keep coming back?
  • If you know they exist, but can’t remember anything about them, we may need to time travel back to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  We’ll cover that in a future piece. 
  • If you don’t have any regular guests, this article might explain why.

We’ll touch on that question more later - I promise. For now, there is just one question I want you to focus on:

“Do I have any customer retention tactics in place today?”

Key Customer Retention Tactics

Let’s see if these customer retention tactics align with what you already have in place.

“Franchise” Your Customer Experience

Michael Gerber’s E-Myth Revisited covers why most businesses fail, and how a small business owner can be truly successful. One of the points outlined is to operate your business like you’re going to franchise it. 

Now I’m not saying you need to franchise, and neither is Mr. Gerber. What we’re saying is that your business must rely on systems that can be analyzed and followed, as opposed to relying on people doing a great job working for your business.

Here are some examples of how this can impact your customer experience:

  • Last summer, you had the best staff ever assembled. The cleanliness of your facility was even mentioned in a few Google Reviews. When summer ended, two of your hardest workers headed off to college out of state.
  • This summer, you aren’t so lucky. People are making comments on Facebook about the trash not being taken out. You start blaming your staff, or worse, doing everything yourself.

As a leader, it is important to be willing to perform the work you’re asking others to do. 

As a business owner, it is even more important to create a system where you (or spectacular individuals) aren’t relied upon for that work to be done.

Think about the processes you have in place and how often you have to “do it yourself.” Why?

A consistent experience is one of the most important customer retention tactics. Outline a few key behaviors that can apply to every interaction. A few examples:

  • Every guest is greeted when they walk in. Think of the chorus when you want to grab a burrito -- “Welcome to Moe’s!” 
  • A standardized phone greeting
  • Two-way name exchange

Key behaviors and checklists can help you standardize any aspect of your business.  

Meet Them Where They Are

You provide an amazing experience, have an amazing attraction, and are in a great location. Why aren’t you seeing more familiar faces revisit your facility? 

Here is an easy way to view this. 

Just like customer retention tactics, your customers have evolved with time. Expectations change, and you’ll need to be waiting where they expect to find you. 

  • Website
  • Location on Google Maps
    • Hours of operation
    • Relevant links and content
  • Social media presence
    • Facebook
    • Instagram

A more advanced customer retention tactic caters to your highest paying customers -- those that book events at your facility. You should want more than anything for Timmy’s birthday party to come back year after year, and to impress his attendees so they book with you, too.

What hoops are you making these guests jump through to set up their event? 

Phone tag isn’t fun for you, or your potential customer. By the time you make contact:

  • Both parties are worn out
  • They could be looking at or have already booked with another option

Eliminating this barrier is one of the most important customer retention tactics you can implement. To do this, you need online booking

One of the many benefits of party booking automation is to keep up with demand at any time, day or night. Aside from booking parties after your operating hours, think about customers calling at the worst possible time to inquire about your availability on a given time and date.

In 2018, we saw an increase from 44.9% in parties booked online to 47.6%. Perhaps I’m biased here (I did book my wedding venue via email), but we have the data to show where customer evolution is trending. 

Ask Your Audience

As promised, let’s revisit that question about your regulars.

Are you asking guests about their experience, or just waiting for a positive/negative review?

A couple weeks ago at LaserTAG 360 I had the pleasure of hearing Jeremy Hoyum,  Owner/Operator of Jake’s Unlimited (2018’s Top FEC of the World), speak about a problem they faced during the recession. 

To make a decision, they simply surveyed every customer on their way out.  

They quickly found they were headed in the wrong direction, and avoided making what could have been a bad decision. 

What you think is or isn’t important may differ from your client base. What decisions have you made without consulting the customer first?

Your Customer Retention Tactics

New business is critical, but customer retention tactics are key to long-term success.

To learn more about meeting your customers where they are, check out our 2019 Online Booking Study, or book your consultation so we can talk about your digital presence. 

Click here to download your copy of the 2019 Online Party Booking Study now!

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