Rewarding our loyal customers is not without its challenges. We are EXTREMELY vigilant with our cost-control. So to do anything over and beyond, in an industry which is notorious for low margins, is a huge deal for us.
But we know the value of our returning loyal customers. For many of them, we have made birthday cakes for them and their partners and family. We have been referred to their friends, family and colleagues. We have then gone on to make their wedding cakes, baby shower cakes and even kids birthday cakes. A massive chunk of our business is from returning customers over the last decade and it's a remarkable statistic. It is something I am most proud of about our business. Our returning customer rate increases each year and was at an all time high increase last year at 27%.
The cake and confectionary industry is extremely competitive. As a luxury cake maker, we cannot compete on price. What we can compete on is our offering. Providing a consistently high quality product is a given - but doing it alongside an efficient and empathetic approach to customer service is what makes our customers return to us year after year.
Word of mouth is by far our most effective form of marketing. We are too small of a business to spend on advertising, and my distaste for "influencer marketing" has been long-documented.
Hence, we focus on our customers as it is THEM who have helped us reach where we are.
How we Reward our Customers
We proactively seek feedback after every cake order by personally sending an email asking how it went. I want to know everything - the taste, the texture, the service, the delivery. This helps us keep on top of quality control. And as a reward for their time, we offer a discount voucher for a future order.
2. Free Delivery
We offer our customers across most of Greater London, Berkshire and Surrey free delivery. This comes at a direct cost to us however we feel our customers deserve it for choosing us over our competitors.
3. Personal Delivery Service
In an ideal world, we would love an effective tracking app that sends automatic updates to our customers with live tracking on their cake deliveries. However, as our in-house driver hand-delivers our cakes personally we are currently unable to offer one as we haven't found the right app for us. So instead, our driver personally sends a text message each morning to our customers' mobile phones with an ETA of their cake delivery. We hope in time we can get a suitable app (because spending ages on typing in countless mobile phone numbers each morning to text is not the most fun task for our driver hah). But until then, we have found an interim solution to give our customers a better service.
4. Referral Reward
Whenever any customer's friend or family lets us know we've been recommended, we send the recommending customer a discount voucher as a thank you.
5. Bespoke Cakes
We are more likely to accommodate bespoke cake requests from our returning customers. This is because they are aware of our offering and standard and it pleases me, as an artist, to create something for someone I know will appreciate the extra effort and time it took to create their bespoke cake.
6. Complimentary Cake Messages
A free chocolate plaque with a hand written message is included on every cake order. It costs more in time and ingredients, but it's a finishing touch that makes our cake truly special to our customers.
7. Complimentary Cake Sparklers
We don't shout about it, but our cakes come with complimentary sparklers (as long as we can source them!). I feel it completes the cake experience and it just makes me happy knowing we've somehow made our customer's day that little bit more extra.
Rewarding our customers does not need to break the bank. Being thoughtful and occasionally going above and beyond without any expectation can have surprising benefits. It has helped us build such wonderful relations over time and it's a joy everyday making cakes for customers whom we have gotten to know and love to serve year after year. That's exactly the type of business I want.
If you are a fellow business owner, I hope this helps with brainstorming on how to better your relations with your valued customers. If you are already a loyal customer, thank you! We LOVE seeing your name popping up in our orders :) And if you are a prospective customer, I hope you can sense how personally vested we are in our cakes and customers and I hope to bake for you soon.
Lots of love,