What is the biggest marketing tool for a restaurant? Definitely not the IoTs and the digital marketing strategies and ads but the power of word of mouth. As pity as it may sound, word-of-mouth marketing has the ability to surpass all the heavy jargons that the new age marketers may use to promote a restaurant business. Technically, word-of-mouth is the oldest and the most effective form of restaurant marketing that we can think of.
The fastest and most effective marketing technique is one where one investment (one customer) can yield more outputs (more customers). According to a report, 92 percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family. It’s estimated that 1,000 pleased customers could generate 500,000 additional customers in a restaurant.
Let’s talk maths. Building brand loyalty assures you that it will increase your customer retention rate. According to the National law review, Cost of acquiring a new customer = five (Cost of retaining a customer). And Bain & Co estimate that a five percent increase in customer retention can boost a company’s profitability by 75 percent. The most important aspect of this is that positive word of mouth marketing will land you new customers.
The traditional four Ps of marketing do not work for word of mouth marketing for restaurants, and getting people talking about your restaurant is not as easy as it seems. However, smart restaurants know how to make people talk about their restaurant and leverage it as a potential restaurant marketing strategy.
Taking cues from Swarna Daga, founder of Social Neeti who has helped many restaurant brands to get the much-needed traction, she suggests following three E's of word of mouth marketing - Engage, Equip, Empower.
Give your fans the gift of you. Engage with them. Listen to what they are telling you. Be part of the conversation about your brand. Be a presence in your fans’ lives. In simple terms, let your customer base know that their opinions matter, get to know what they are looking for from your restaurant and menu, and make the conversation a two-way street.
Give them reasons to talk. It can be amazing products, great service, insider knowledge, social elevation, incredible stories, unbelievable facts or even funny disclosures. Equipping customers with reasons to start talking should be the core mission of your restaurant.
Give consumers different ways to talk and share. Let them know that they are important to you and that sharing their opinions is important to you. In order to conjure up the best word of mouth marketing for your restaurant, you’ll need to provide them with different avenues to share their opinions.
Focus on relentless customer and product
For any food brand, relentless customer focus is a tenet they cannot do without. The founder of Zomos, Shouvik Dhar informed that they have processes in place that enable them to listen to the customers better to serve them better. “This helps us prioritize what offerings to come up with, enhance the ones that see similar complaints and remove ones that our customers don't like. Over time, this proves to be the most powerful tool to increase word of mouth,” he added.
In a food business, every order is a moment of truth. Very few things run on autopilot. Having a back-end process to ensure that the same quality products are enjoyed by customers across geographies is very essential. Dhar was happy to inform that his team has cracked this code to have the right mix of automation and stringent process to ensure that the products are of the same superior quality every day across every location.
Positive word of mouth is the after-effect sales emotion
Gaining positive word of mouth is the goal for every restaurant business which means the restaurants should deliver what they promise and never under-deliver and over-promise to meet the satisfactory level. “Our first few important techniques to gain a positive piece of mouth is identifying our top customers and creating a unique experience for them by creating a unique product after detailed market research. Next, we move to create an exceptional customer experience by connecting to the needs of the customer by training and grooming our staff,” Azra Golam, DoSM of Aminia commented.
Golam further shared that one should take every review/feedback in account and work on the negative review to understand the loophole to make our customers feel that their opinion matters and it is also an important way to boost business since more than 52 percent of the customers order after going through the reviews.
Provide avenues for word of mouth marketing
Give customers different reasons to offer feedback. Have competitions where customers can suggest a new dish they’d like the restaurant to serve. Offer customers who give feedback on the restaurant a lucky draw for a meal voucher or another suitable reward. Give them different options in how they give their feedback. Prompt them online to subscribe to a weekly email listing any promotions and other news.
When customers are empowered with knowledge and incentives for reviews, they are more likely to participate. In addition, they will be more willing to spread the news about the establishment. If you want to get people to offer you the word of mouth marketing, offer them a reward.
The Nielsen study concluded that only 33 percent of restaurants surveyed are actively seeking feedback. This means that they are not exploiting the potential for word-of-mouth marketing. Management marketing meetings are focused on conventional marketing strategies.
These are important tools. However, they are not the only tools at the restaurant’s disposal. Word of mouth marketing is growing in importance. Restaurants that use it will soon see that it eclipses most other mechanisms. Word of mouth marketing is an organic and long-lasting way to get the brand talking and help more than 2x conversion ratio of customers compared to online marketing strategies.
Garnering customer loyalty is the only way to influence word-of-mouth tendencies. With happy customers and appreciative business owners comes the type of marketing that you can’t pay for. The secrets of word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) aren’t secrets at all.