Customers are at the heart of any business. They drive sales and can build up a brand through word-of-mouth marketing and social influence. Although traditional advertising and marketing play an important role in generating sales, 92 percent of customers trust brand advocates over other forms of advertising.

But it takes more than a delectable lunch to turn guests to brand ambassadors. It requires a strong brand and an exciting in-store experience. Leveraging customer influence can expand a brand’s reach and encourage sales in new demographics. It’s advantageous for experience-driven brands like Angry Crab Shack to utilize social media and the ambassadors in franchisees’ own restaurants.

The following strategies help Angry Crab franchise owners build customer engagement and take guests from customers to brand ambassadors.

Create a Guest-Centric Experience

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Today’s consumers are looking for value and a dining experience in addition to tasty fare. It’s important to engage with your guests to help them identify with the Angry Crab brand. If they feel connected with the brand through in-store experiences, they are more likely to become advocates recommending you friends, family and colleagues.

To foster these feelings in your guests, it’s crucial to focus on customer service. Angry Crab is a popular destination for celebrations, from birthdays to anniversaries. Get staff involved in celebrations and encourage the guests of honor to tag the walls in true Angry Crab fashion. Everyone from the hostess to the chef should work together to create a guest-centric experience. Customer service details differentiate a great restaurant experience from just another meal.

Customer comments can help you continually improve restaurant operations. Proactively ask for, listen to and respond to feedback. Utilize customer surveys on receipts or emails to calculate a Net Promoter Score (NPS)—the likelihood a guest would recommend Angry Crab to a friend. NPS helps a restaurant see room for improvement and implement feedback easily. Continually adapt to guest needs to generate more positive experiences and encourage guests to become brand ambassadors.

Leverage Social Networks

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Everyone is on some form of social network, and as a business, you should use this to your advantage. Customers are more likely to share bad experiences over good ones online, so it’s crucial to positively engage your customers and foster active involvement online.

A well-established social media presence can jumpstart online brand awareness. When it comes to Angry Crab Shack, the brand has grown its digital footprint in the five years since its inception, and franchise owners can leverage this in their local markets. Owners can encourage online participation in store with incentives like coupons and money-saving offers. In addition, by inspiring guests to share on their personal social channels, Angry Crab can leverage that user-generated content – photos, posts or reviews – from guests. When guests share on their personal accounts, they become ambassadors and expand a brand’s reach. With such an “Instagrammable” meal like fresh, boiled seafood, it’s not hard to encourage engagement. Online strategies can take your guest base from restaurant goers to promoters.

Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth as you market your new restaurant concept. Whether it be recommendations in person or using social media as a business asset, these reviews can bring in new diners, create loyal, return guests and increase sales.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Angry Crab Shack franchising opportunity, contact us directly at (248) 647-1989 or email Jim@angrycrabshack.com.