So here’s a little dose of reality for the food truck owners out there: in most cases you are not meeting the expectations of your customers.
This may seem a little off putting to some of you because in many situations you actually exceed the needs of your customers. However, there are times when something in your mobile food business falls short of customer expectations and unfortunately it’s often the little things that add up to make a big difference in whether a customer comes back to your food truck.
In this article I will discuss some strategies to make the little things add up (instead of subtract) in your favor to strengthen your food truck’s customer retention rates.
Differentiation Helps Build Customer Retention
Many of the food trucks across the country have good customer retention but good should never be acceptable. The most popular trucks have great retention rates, but why? The simple answer is, they have found a way to differentiate the quality of their products and services from the rest of the trucks in their area.
Yes, most trucks have different menu items than most of the trucks in their region, but when a prospective customer begins their quest to fill that void in their stomach…having a specific cuisine on your menu may not be different enough for someone to track your truck down to step up to your service window.
Differentiation that leads to better customer retention is based on the little things. While 80 percent of food truck owners believe they provide a superior experience, statistics show that typically 10-15 percent of their customers agree. Here are a few tactics for setting your food truck apart in a way that your customers will keep coming back.
Food Truck Differentiation Tactics
The Throw-In: Throwing in something small and inexpensive will really ramp up the customer experience. This could be as simple as a small package or container of your top selling sauce or rub for customers to take home with them.
Sampling: This is a classic carnival tactic, but you can take it to the next level, gift a free sample of a new menu item to try, and throw out a tweeted picture of customers fantastic expression after trying it. Personalization and generosity go a long way in customer acquisition and retention.
First/last impressions: Enhance a customer’s experience with first and last impressions. They’re the most lasting impressions they have of your mobile food business, so don’t overlook them.
Follow Up: A personal email, tweet or Facebook mention go a long way. But it’s easy for follow-ups to slip through the cracks when something goes wrong, and that’s the most vital time to make an overture. The next time someone complains about a food product or the service they receive at your truck, reach out privately and personally to discuss the situation and work out a way you can make it up to them…such as a comp’d side dish on their next visit.
Food Truck differentiation tactics that set you apart should be always include having a signature menu item and providing fantastic service. The tactics provided in this article can help you separate your food truck from the rest of the pack. These differences will increase your customer retention and keep your food truck’s service window full, every time you open it.