The key to business and revenue growth is not just about bringing in new customers, it’s about retaining the customers you have, especially those of most value to your business.

On the back of lost business due to the extended lockdowns in the past 18 month, a lot of clubs and pubs are understandably tightening their belts. However, many are missing their biggest opportunity to keep costs down, and that is to build even stronger relationships with their most valuable customers.

Research from Bain & Company, one of the world’s leading management consulting firms, found that increasing your customer retention rate by just 5% could increase profits by 25% to 95%. We also know from well documented research that acquiring a new customer can be anywhere between five and seven times more expensive than retaining an existing one. It simply makes sense to invest the time and resources necessary to retaining existing customers, rather than just chasing new ones.

Unlike a lot of other businesses, Clubs in particular know exactly who their most valuable members are through the data they collect via their rewards programs. Not only does this data identify who these valuable members are, but it also identifies what they spend and when and where they spend it. And we are not just talking about the top couple of tiers but using your data to identify valuable customers who you already have in your program and who have potential growth.

You need to remember that high-value customers don’t always stick around. If you do not look after them and work continuously on the relationship, they can slip through the cracks and quickly turn into low value customers, or even take their business elsewhere.

The real keys to a high retention rate for any property, whether it be a club, pub, or casino, are customer satisfaction and customer experience. That all starts with making sure you directly engage with your customers. We don’t mean just sending out offers through direct mail, texts, or emails, but making sure you also engage with them on a personal level, be it through face to face conversation or by phone.  Communication is a two way street, so make sure you also listen to your customers, seek their feedback, and understand their wants and needs.

Do not forget to make sure any offers you do send are targeted and personalised. Don’t treat these valuable customers as just part of a crowd. Show them some personal attention and you will find that recognition can be more powerful than reward.

Every venue strives for great customer service, but few actually deliver. The key lies in focusing on a seamless guest experience starting with the first digital or phone contact and ends with a wave goodbye from the door attendant. Every team member in every department should know how their work affects and influences their guests, and ultimately the business bottom line.

Due to technology advances, customers today are more sophisticated and better informed than ever. Smart operators recognise this and focus on ease of use and convenience that allows the customer to move through your venue experience effortlessly. Easy parking, easy redemptions, no lines, easy ordering, prompt service, personalisation, and recognition all add to the experience as much as the amenities and décor.