Behind every successful brand is a team of experienced marketing leaders working tirelessly to build a predictable business engine. Every decision — from which paint color will give the coffee shop the right ‘feel’ to which specialty drink will generate the best sales this quarter — is deliberate and measured.
These leaders are committed to designing a brand that delivers a consistently positive customer experience that people can count on, no matter which location they visit. Why? Because consistency generates trust, trust breeds loyalty — and loyalty is the key differentiator between moderate success and explosive growth.
The big question is, how do you grow a coffee shop that generates repeat customers?
Looking at Successful Coffee Chains for Inspiration
A company’s physical locations, reputation, product quality, and core values all influence its potential for long-term success. So, which one is most responsible for outcomes? Coffee giants like Starbucks, Dunkin’, and Dutch Bros have one critical shared virtue: they put customers first.
The team behind Dutch Bros was inspired by businesses like In-N-Out Burger, a burger chain known for great service, treating customers and employees well, and using quality ingredients. To mirror this approach, Dutch Bros operates by an employee and customer-centric mantra: “Whether we’re slinging drinks or serving up smiles, Dutch Bros is all about you!”
Research has repeatedly shown that companies dedicated to supporting employees are more likely to cultivate a workforce that prioritizes customer care. Dutch Bros is deeply committed to providing a great work environment for their team. They also empower staff at each of their 421 U.S. stores to do whatever it takes to make customers happy. This can mean anything from replacing a spilled drink free of charge to remembering a ‘regulars’ name and favorite order. As a result, the coffee chain saw consistent repeat customer growth in 2021, despite COVID challenges.
Other successful chains take a similar approach. For example, Starbucks is known for providing fantastic training programs and generous employee benefits across their 15,000+ U.S.-based stores. Meanwhile, Dunkin’ built its entire brand around consistently delivering fast and friendly service at each one of its 8,500 U.S. locations.
With all that in mind, it’s clear that employee and customer-centricity serve as a great foundation for coffee shop growth. So, what proactive steps can you take to build a loyal customer base?
Leverage Your Digital Presence to Grow Your Coffee Brand
Implementing well-thought listing and reputation management strategies can have a massive positive impact on your business growth trajectory. Here are three steps to get you started:
Step 1: Proactively Manage Business Listings for Each Coffee Shop Location
For potential customers to find your business, it needs to be easily found on all popular search engine directories, map apps, and review sites. New to listings management? Start by claiming listings for all your locations on Google, Apple Maps, Facebook, Bing, and Yelp.
For each location’s listings, always include an accurate business name, address, phone number, website, categories, hours, and description (NAPWCHD). Once that’s done, begin adding more details, including photos, menu items, and other relevant attributes. It’s also important to keep your profiles up-to-date.
If any business details change, even temporarily for holidays or an unexpected event, update your listings ASAP. Search engines prioritize pages with the most current information, so acting fast can improve your search rankings. Inaccurate information on your business listings can also cause customers to lose trust, resulting in damage to your brand reputation.
Step 2: Reward Loyalty and Encourage Feedback
A 2019 study examined what motivates customers to choose a coffee shop and rated several factors on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the least influential and 5 being the most. A customer’s past experience or familiarity with a coffee shop ranked at 4.09, taking the spot as the number one motivating factor.
This data further supports the idea that adopting a customer-centric approach to how you do business is a smart call. Customers want familiarity, security, and an experience that meets their wants and needs. Coffee shops that consistently offer those things get more repeat business. Many big coffee chains, including Starbucks, Dunkin’, and Dutch Bros, also use incentive programs to reward customers for their loyalty. These programs help coffee shops maintain their existing customer base while increasing repeat sales. Using a ‘join’ bonus (free drink with sign-up) is also a great way to attract new customers.
The second-highest motivation, convenience in relation to a physical location, ranked at 3.99. Generally, when people want coffee, they want it now. As a result, it’s very common for potential customers to search for “coffee near me” when they’re out and about. When listings pop up, they take a quick look at distance, scan star ratings, and tap “driving directions” next to the coffee shop that stands out.
As of November 2021, 21% of consumers use this feature to find businesses on a daily basis, 35% use it multiple times a week, and 22% use it weekly. In total, 78% of consumers use map apps to find local businesses at least once per week. You definitely don’t want to miss all that traffic! Taking a proactive approach to listing management, like the one described above, will help you make sure your coffee shops always show up in ‘near me’ map searches.
Frequency of online searches for local businesses according to consumers in the U.S. (Nov. 2021)
To make sure your listings make a positive first impression, follow your ‘star ratings’ on various review sites and prioritize promptly responding to every customer review. Search engines reward proactive review management by boosting your business listing’s visibility in search results.
If you have multiple locations and your team struggles to keep up with volume, utilizing a solid reputation management platform can be a gamechanger. For example, Chatmeter’s reputation management tool allows coffee brands to pull reviews from multiple platforms into one aggregate dashboard. Marketing managers at individual stores can see detailed sentiment analysis that picks up on any review trends and use intelligent AI to effortlessly craft and publish personalized replies.
Step 3: Use Analytics to Listen, Learn, and Optimize
Modern reputation management tools help coffee brands analyze, visualize and interpret listing and reputation performance at a corporate and local level. Having the ability to slice and dice metrics to evaluate performance is invaluable for decision-makers. The power of proactive listening allows leaders to quickly turn customer feedback into an actionable response.
Using software to get insight into your coffee brand’s performance allows you to:
- Spot and respond to issues before they become long-term problems.
- Use auto-generated custom reports to keep leaders in the know.
- Gauge the success of each business listing by evaluating how often it generates clicks, impressions, phone call requests, driving directions, and more.
Marketing leaders can also use AI-powered sentiment analysis tools to reveal location-based trends in real-time. This intel helps leaders identify opportunities to deliver employee training or accolades, easily set baseline performance metrics, keep an eye on core competitors, and create friendly competition among local and regional stores.
Consistency is the Key to Exponential Growth
Experts across all industries have always touted the importance of consistency. Scaling up a successful, revenue-building coffee chain is no exception. The more consistent your business is at keeping your customers happy, the faster it develops the long-term loyal brand advocates who will ultimately propel your business to new growth locally, nationally, and even around the globe.
Let the experts at Chatmeter support the growth of your coffee business! Book a demo today with our friendly experts and discover how our brand reputation management solutions can get people buzzing online and off about your amazing company.