And it’s not just my local. Pubs up and down the country are taking the time to create newsletters to keep in contact with customers and re-affirm a sense of community. For example, I know of another pub that is encouraging its customers to share ‘lockdown’ contributions for its newsletter (they have also started a number of local care initiatives). These are local community initiatives, underpinned by care and authenticity.
These pubs are busy building a renewed sense of belonging and demonstrating responsiveness (even though they haven’t seen their customers for weeks). Obviously pubs want to still have a business when they are able to open the doors again. But this is still an authentic example of how to retain customers and grow a business by building target communities.
Building strong communities gives customers a deeper sense of connection that impacts their experience with your business. Stronger connections inspire stronger loyalty and brand advocacy. You’ve probably never heard about my local pub. You have now.
These are great principles to talk about within larger organisations to work out how a deep-rooted sense of community and increased loyalty can drive growth.
The perils of radio silence
This all got me thinking about the other lessons that larger businesses can learn from our local pubs on creating new meaningful touchpoints. We’re talking here about those companies with customers who live with radio silence for most of the year. We are all customers. Wouldn’t you like your insurance company to send you useful information during the year and not just hear from them at policy renewal time? Or wouldn’t you like to hear from favourite hotel about how to live like a local, or new experiences to try, when you next stay?
Investing in creating more meaningful touchpoints means businesses are able to create more meaningful connections. These are a catalyst for building emotionally committed relationships that drive loyalty. Businesses that are happy to live with radio silence will find that their customers are not. Their local pub is probably telling them that they are part of a community that cares about them regardless of whether they’re open or not. Is your organisation?
Taking care of your internal customers
I then started thinking about the strong message my local pub is sending about how it is taking care of its internal customers – its employees. If my local pub shows me it cares about my well-being during lockdown, this tells me that it is caring about its team too. There is another big lesson here for larger organisations. Customers care about how businesses look after their people. If you are not showing your customers that they are front of mind and thinking about how to create new touchpoints to strengthen connections (even during a lockdown), then why would they think that you care about your people who will deliver your customer experience when things get back to normal? Don’t make it last orders. The time to act is now.