There are many things you can try to build customer loyalty (and I’ll go over a few in this post).
But in the end, it really comes down to your service and your product. Is the food you deliver high quality and delicious? Do you treat your customers well? Are your prices in align with both of the above?
If you deliver great service and a fantastic donut, much of this battle is already won.
One of the most common ways companies try to build in loyalty is with a rewards program.
There are many different ways to set up a rewards program.
But for local businesses and restaurants, I’m a fan of the stamp card.
It’s cheap to implement, requires no tech (other than a stamp), and can be given to every customer because it requires zero effort on their part.
One way you could set up your card so that they get one stamp for every order and two stamps every time they order a box of donuts.
Or you could keep it simple and just give one stamp for every order.
Then the reward could be a free donut, breakfast sandwich, colachie, or whatever other item you feel comfortable giving away.
Then, to help your customers get in the habit, you’ll want to ask every person as they check out if they have a rewards card for you to stamp. It gives you a chance to hand one out if they don’t and those that do will appreciate the reminder.
Rewards programs also open up many opportunities to run different donut shop promotions.
Remember Customers Names
I’ll admit, this is a daunting task for me. Trying to remember new names, especially a bunch of them, is challenging.
However, as you begin to remember customers names they’ll begin to feel that you truly care about them. You’ll become a part of their life and it becomes far more difficult to break the habit of coming by your donut shop.
There are many different tricks you can use to help you remember names. Here’s a helpful video with some name memory tricks.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting you try to remember every customer’s name. That’s completely unrealistic. But if there are a few faces you start to see more often, it’s worth it to try and remember their name.
Thank You Notes
This applies primarily to your frequent customers who you get to know. Whether you do this during the holiday season or on some other day, write out a few thank you cards for specific customers and give them out.
All you have to say in the card is thank you for their business. Be sure to use their name in the card so they know this was truly meant for them.
And if you want to make it extra special you can drop a coupon for a free donut inside.
New Customer Bonus
If it’s a customer’s first time in your shop you could give them something special. This could be a coupon for a free donut on their next visit or free donut holes for first time customers.
Just something that says thanks for coming in and we hope to see you again.
Personally I’m a fan of the coupon for free donut on second visit because it will get them in again.
But the free donut holes will make them feel extra special on their first visit.
Seek Customer Feedback
Any business that not only listens to my feedback as a customer but also acts on it has always received greater loyalty from me.
When a software service has altered their product because of a piece of my feedback I felt valued and saw that they actually did care about their customers.
So if you want your customers to feel that way be sure to seek out their feedback.
There are many ways to seek customer feedback. In person, over email, receipt prompts for feedback. All of them have pros and cons.
The place I’d start is with people you see often enough that you have some repor with them.
Ask them what you could change to make their experience better. While you won’t necessarily get their complete and true feelings, you can at least get a sense of what is going well and what isn’t.
But remember, just because a customer says you should change something doesn’t mean you should. But if you start hearing a lot of the same thing it may be time to reevaluate that specific feedback.
Email is still one of the best methods of staying in touch with customers and the one channel customer universally accept as a way for businesses to stay in touch with them.
If you collect customer emails make sure you are actively using it. I’d recommend emailing at least every other week so you are at least fresh in their mind.
I dive more into email marketing for donut shops in another article.
The idea here is if you are already collecting emails then use it as a channel to increase customer loyalty. If you use an integrated checkout system you could set it up to email when a customer comes by the store.
Send them a copy of their receipt and say thanks for coming by and we can’t wait to see you again.
Have more ideas on how to increase customer loyalty for your donut shop? Share them in the comment section below.
Need more marketing ideas? Check out my article on donut shop marketing ideas for more help.