Before your guests even a take a sip of beer, their brewery experience has already begun. Your guests’ first impressions of your business can greatly influence their likelihood to return, no matter how delicious your beer may be.
The statistics mentioned below have been collected from Secret Hopper, a mystery shopping service for craft breweries that is helping breweries monitor their tasting room, increase their in-house revenues and create more repeat customers. We have found that guests are greeted with a smile, “hello,” or other welcoming gesture on 81.4 percent of brewery visits. When a brewery employee greets a guest in this manner, that guest will recommend, and return based on that experience 94.9 percent of the time. When a brewery employee does not begin the experience with a smile, “hello,” or other welcoming gesture, that guest will only recommend/return 75.9 percent of the time. This is a difference of 19 percent. A simple greeting lets your guests know that you’re glad they decided to drink with you.
First impressions are critical. Studies in customer experience show that loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. With more than 6,300 breweries currently operating in the United States, and thousands in planning, it is little touch points like the “hello” and “goodbye” that should not be forgotten when crafting the ideal tasting room experience. The initial “hello” interaction opens doors for guests to build a deeper connection with your brewery.
Following the greeting, your tasting room staff should focus on connecting with each guest on a unique level. For a new beer drinker, this could entail teaching your guests about the brewing process and the difference between styles. For a beer nerd, this could include discussing hop varietals and unique aspects of your brewery and offerings.
No two guests have the same expectations. It is important to understand your customer types and to create world class experiences that speak to them. The tasting portion of their experience is the core touchpoint moment. Many businesses often only focus on this portion of a guests’ experience. However, it is this period, combined with the “hello” and “goodbye,” that create a guest’s overall perception of your brewery. According to Nicholas Webb, author of What Customers Crave, “One poor core touch point can unravel everything positive in the customer experience.”
You may give a guest a perfect greeting, perfect beer and perfect goodbye, but if one part of the experience goes sour (and I don’t mean the beer), they may fail to return. It is in each moment that brewery staff should strive to always enhance a guest’s visit.
Guests are given a sincere “thank you” upon leaving breweries 86.1 percent of the time in our experience. When a guest receives this goodbye, that guest will recommend and return based on that experience 95.4 percent of the time. A guest who does not receive a sincere thank you, will only recommend/return 70.7 percent of the time. This is a 24.7 percent difference. The “thank you” is one of the final moments of your guests’ experience and maximizing it is extremely beneficial in creating a positive memory.
Guests receive both a sincere “hello” and “thank you” 75 percent of the time in our experience. In situations where a guest receives both a sincere greeting and “thank you,” they are 96.6 percent likely to return/recommend. On the flip side, if they receive neither, there is only a 39.6 percent chance they will return/recommend to your brewery based on that experience.
While other factors play into their decisions on whether or not to recommend/return, these two touch points are important connections you can make with your guests to increase that likelihood — and they are perhaps microcosms of your total customer service experience. Creating a memorable experience inside your tasting room not only creates a future stream of revenue at your brewery, but also creates an advocate that will help build your brand outside your four walls.
Andrew Coplon is a founder of Secret Hopper, a mystery shopping company for craft beer businesses.