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Will you lose customers because you don’t use enticement?

Part 4 of 6 lessons about selling print learned from a visit to the pub

Pubs have to work hard to keep enough business

Loyal customers make up an important part of every pub’s turnover. If a pub does not have a large group of faithful customers who keep on visiting regularly then it is doomed to failure.

The pub that I visited recently does a lot of activity to make sure that their regulars keep coming back. This pub is located in the middle of a city, so pub goers are more fickle than if the pub was in in a smaller town. They are more likely to visit more than one pub in an evening. Alternatively, they may choose to go to another venue on another night. So the pub has to work especially hard to attract regular custom.

The thing that was immediately noticeable on my visit was the table football. This takes up space that could be occupied by another table and chairs. But it is also a well-used attraction. It certainly brings customers back to the pub, as I don’t know anywhere else in the locality where you can enjoy beer and table football.

The table football is not the only attraction for regular customers. The pub also runs quizzes and music nights every week. They make sure that their customers have plenty of reasons to keep visiting the pub on a regular basis.

What do you do to make sure your customers keep coming back?

The pub trade is highly competitive these days. There are plenty of venues around. Most pubs face stiff competition. And there are plenty of pubs that are going out of business.

Do you see any parallels with the printing industry here?

Printing companies are having to work harder and harder to win enough business. Customer loyalty is at an all-time low. However, few companies do anything to really try and keep their customers. Naturally, nearly all printing companies offer good customer service. But clients expect great service. To turn customers into regulars, you have to offer more than this.

Here are some ideas to encourage customer loyalty

Table football can help printing companies!

Table football can help printing companies!

Offer loyalty bonuses

This strategy will typically work better in a business to consumer or online purchasing environment. But regular customers could have the chance to earn extra print, bonus presents, Amazon vouchers or similar.

Offer bonus service levels

Your biggest customers may earn the right to higher levels of service. These could include dedicated account handlers, specific fast-response phone lines and e-mail addresses or a higher level of delivery, such as tracked rather than standard. Loyal customers could also receive exclusive training or networking events.

Offer better workflow

Customers above a minimum spend level could gain access to extra functionality on your workflows. Perhaps they could receive extra reporting or more in-depth access to scheduling updates. Web to print customers could earn a certain number of free template alterations.

Offer sweets

Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference. I have heard a number of stories of companies winning huge customer loyalty simply by including sweets with all their deliveries and communications. Other companies include free promotional print items. This can be all it takes to make sure that your customers keep on choosing you.

Here’s a good starting point to build customer loyalty

Ask your customers what they would like. Ask them to give you ideas on what would build their loyalty. After all, they are the ones that you need to appeal to. So they are the ones that are best placed to suggest what you should do.

You could try phoning some of your best customers and asking them directly. Alternatively, you could run a simple online survey, or include the question with every quotation.

Give them a few ideas to start with. You can use the ones in this article for inspiration. But make sure you give them the opportunity to come up with their own suggestions as well.

You can also use pubs for inspiration

I’m not suggesting you hold a regular music night. However, I know of at least two printing companies that feature air hockey and golf in their buildings. So maybe table football could be a good way to keep customers dropping in!

Whatever you do, make sure you tell your customers about it. We are going to cover this in the next article in this series: “State the obvious when you sell”. Look out for it next week.
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