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How to Build Coffee Shop Loyalty with a Positive Guest Experience

Try these tips for winning over guests who like to think of your coffee shop as a second home.

If you want your guests to keep on walking when they pass by one of your competitors, you’ll need more than just a loyalty program to keep them coming back. Coffee shop guests also want a consistently positive guest experience that makes them loyal customers.

“With loyalty comes a sense of belonging, a protectiveness, and the suggestion that there is a close and direct link between the business and the customer and all of that results in greater revenue and profits,” according to app development and consulting company Messapps.

“Loyal customers of coffee shops won’t just come each and every morning for their cappuccino.  They’ll also get to know the staff, spend longer in the cafe and spend more money as a result and introduce their friends, family and colleagues to the business, too.”

Want your guests to see your coffee shop as the perfect place to escape, meet with friends and business associates or fuel themselves for the drive to work?

Here are four tips for building customer loyalty with a positive guest experience.

1. Be gracious and generous

A little grace and generosity can go a long way with a guest who’s stressed, forgot their credit card or could just use a mood boost. If a daily customer forgets their credit card, let them have their drink on the house that day. Chances are, they’ll pay the next day and may even leave a bigger tip.

“An act of generosity can pay for itself many times over in the goodwill and customer loyalty it creates,” according to customer loyalty marketing blog Loopy Loyalty. “Overhear a patron on a phone call talking about their stressful day? Hand them a free cookie along with their coffee. People remember generosity, and they tell their friends and family about it.”

2. Offer an easy-to-use loyalty program

Guests love to accumulate punches on a rewards card or points on your coffee shop’s loyalty app. Offer a simple loyalty program that’s easy for guests to use and keep track of their progress. This can be as simple as asking baristas to sign up guests for the program and entering their phone number in the cafe’s rewards system for easy access and tracking when they order.

Make sure you hand out punch cards at the register for a free drink after ten purchases, too, so your loyalty program is accessible to everyone, including those who aren’t internet-savvy.

3. Offer a customer app

“The apps we choose to download on our phones are a reflection of our favorite brands and businesses, and also a reflection of our lifestyle in general,” says Messapps. “If your regular coffee shop asked you to download their app and promised that it would enhance your customer experience, it’s hard to imagine saying no to such a request.”

Features to offer in your coffee shop app include:

  • Virtual queue and pre-ordering options

“Virtual queuing and pre-ordering apps have been around for some time in the catering business and in other industries, too, and this particular feature can be very simple to set up, and highly effective once established,” according to Messapps.

  • Loyalty programs

“Moving your loyalty card onto an app that’s automatically updated with each purchase makes your loyalty program “more streamlined, more reliable, and a whole lot more contemporary,” says Messapps.

  • Notifications about specials and events

4. Build a coffee shop community

Hopefully, your baristas are already making guests feel welcome and appreciated with a warm and friendly greeting by name (for regular customers). But also build a “community” of coffee lovers centered around your coffee shop with the help of social media posts.

“Choose a charitable organization or community outreach to support and then invite your customers to be part of it,” suggests Loopy Loyalty. “Post periodic updates on the progress of your cause to build relationships with your guests and introduce them to other like-minded patrons.”

Messapps suggests opening a direct messaging feature of your app that allows customers to submit comments, complaints or compliments regarding the service or ideas on ways to improve: “Any way of building that sense of community is a surefire way of increasing loyalty.”