Treat Me Like Royalty

23 Jan

When you see me out and about, I’ll expect you to show me the respect I deserve. You see, I’m important to the world, as I’ve recently been named a Duke – Yelp told me so. How does someone living in Indian Trail get such a distinction? In my case…a lot of wine and a lot of visits to the same establishment. If you’ve ever used the Yelp App on your phone, you know that when you visit most businesses, you have an option to “Check In” at the location. The more times you “check in” at a business, Yelp will keep track of them and name you a regular. If you have the most check-ins, you’ll be named the Duke or Duchess for the business (Foursquare top dogs are known as the Mayor).

But what does such a title get you besides a boost in ego? In a perfect world, such check-ins were set up as a marketing tool to encourage and reward repeat customers. The Mayor or Duke might get a discount on their bill, or a free drink. But businesses seem to be missing out on the opportunity at hand. A restaurant goes to the trouble of making sure they’re on Yelp, but don’t bother to take it any further. Isn’t the cost of a small discount worth the potential of creating some buzz and friendly competition amongst customers? But when I check in at a bar, am dubbed the Mayor, and the owner him/herself doesn’t even know what it means, I’m a bit disappointed there’s even an option to check in.

Christy and I regularly check-in at the Black Chicken Wine Cellar (you’ll hear a lot more about this place in the coming posts) in downtown Matthews. With each check-in comes a sort of free advertising for the business on our Facebook and/or Twitter pages. We actually have friends who visit that ask to go to the bar when they come into town – all because they’ve seen our Facebook and Twitter page updates mentioning the business. They think, “Wow, Christy and Jason sure do go there a lot. It must be a pretty fun place.” Isn’t that worth something to a business owner?

Now I admit that we have no issue with not getting a discount when checking in at Black Chicken, as getting to know the owner has resulted in the occasional sampling of a wine or special beer/cider that he opens for himself and isn’t readily available to all customers.  Smart business owners understand that even a small gesture to their regular customers goes a long way in keeping their repeat business. And we don’t need something for free every time we go somewhere – but once in a great while, it’s nice to know a business genuinely likes its customers and isn’t just trying to make a buck.

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