Find your tribe or how to turn customers into regulars
Imagine yourself being on the other side of the counter for a moment. Put yourself back in the shoes of a customer again. Step aside from being an owner/manager of a coffee shop.
What makes you feel comfortable being in that certain coffee shop? Why do you choose that very coffee shop over others given the fact all of them serve good coffee? What makes you come back to one coffee shop over and over again?
I’m sure you came up with some ideas now. What I wanted to make clear with this little practice is, don’t just assume why your customers are coming day in and day out, try finding it out! If you don’t know who your customer is, yet, head over here to find out.
So, what can you actually do to turning your customers into fans, turning them into your tribe?
Many coffee shop owners try a lot of things to make people coming back by hosting events, posting on Facebook or Instagram or maybe even do certain other Marketing activities. This is great stuff! And, yes that can be successful, mostly short term, though.
It often is said, that a coffee shop is an extension of people’s homes or workplaces. And it kind of is. People feel most comfortable, relaxed and understood, when they’re surrounded by people that treat them with respect, be it other guests or your staff. Besides that, people are coming back because your coffee shop is offering something that all the others don’t offer, something special, a coffee drink or your food.
More so, what else is special about your coffee shop? Can’t think of something? Well, what about you? Aren’t you the one that people are connecting with, especially when you as the owner are standing behind the counter all day long?
The thing is, turning customers into regulars is not done within a couple weeks, it takes time and trust and consistent quality on your side, with your products and your service right from the beginning!
Here are 5 ways for finding your tribe:
1. Find your special
Ok, let’s go back to the beginning of this article real quick, shall we? Imagine again being the customer of your favorite coffee shop. You’re heading there, let’s say, three times a week. You’ve always wanted to try something different, but their Cappuccino is just so good because they created an own roast profile for it. Or their chocolate cake, their chicken sandwich… You name it. What I’m trying to say, is, find a certain product that only you offer in that very quality and become known for that. Make this coffee drink or food special the reason people are coming back. Remain that quality, be consistent about that quality. Stick with it, especially when you’re hiring new people.
2. Infuse your WHY into everything you do
This certain product can be the reason people choose your coffee shop over others, but think about your cafe business for a moment. Why did you open a coffee shop in the first place? What are your goals with your cafe business? Do you have a certain philosophy you are trying to follow? Whatever your culture, your core values, your guiding principles, try incorporating them early in your cafe business, so that they can guide every decision, every hire, every strategic objective you set. Most important thing you do is communicating your values - your WHY - to others, especially new staff. Not sure how to find your WHY, read that article to go find it!
3. Invest in your staff!
Have you ever walked into a coffee shop, where no one of the baristas seemed happy to be working there? No smile, no quick chat with the customers, no recommendation for a certain coffee drink? I did, and believe me, I felt awkward, I felt uncomfortable. It was a coffee shop, a well known roaster in Seattle, I heard a lot about before even heading there. And, I was wondering why did that happen? Why did every single one of the baristas/staff member seemed unhappy and stressed? In that very situation, I could just guess, I do not know, how the owners treat their staff. But, I do know, when employees are treated respectful, when they are given the opportunity to grow with your cafe business, when they’re educated constantly, according to your WHY, you’re building a strong base within in your coffee shop and your customers will see that, they will feel it. Trust me!
4. Connect with your customers
Not just in your coffee shop by serving them their favorite coffee drink each day. That’s the obvious way to connecting with them. I want you to go a step further, where else can you connect with your customers? Any other ways to connect with them offline and online? What touch points can you find? Your social media channels? What about the neighborhood you’re in? The community? Where can you get in touch with your customers? Farmers markets? Community events? Street festivals? Be there, be transparent and be open! Let people connect with you through all your ‘channels’. Remember, it’s people having a coffee shop and making coffee, it’s people serving coffee to other people. Let your customers see and feel who’s behind your coffee shop and behind the counter.
5. Get to know your customers
I can’t stretch that enough, before building a relationship with your customers, before turning them into regulars and creating your tribe, get to know them! Get to know your customers! Who are they? What are their needs and wants? Who are they visiting your coffee shop with and when? Put yourself in their shoes! The worst you can do is to just assuming who you’re serving your coffee to and why they’re coming to your shop. Unless you don’t know who your customer is, every strategy of wanting to turn them into regulars will fail. If you need some help getting to know your customer, head over here to read more.
Finding your tribe, your fans, people that love coming to your coffee shop day in and day out, should be in your focus from the very beginning. With these 5 ways of turning customers into loyal regulars, you can work on a strategy from within your coffee business. Because you already have what’s needed.
What are your strategies of turning customers into fans of your coffee shop? Let me know in the comments!