Large enterprises are able to make substantial investments in customer loyalty programs, but that option isn’t always readily available to small businesses. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not equally important. According to Forbes contributor Micah Solomon, the key to maintaining loyalty with customers is giving them a reason to come back rather than merely keeping them satisfied. Solomon explains that beyond just providing an excellent experience while customers are in your store or using your services, merchants must go the extra mile to show they care through attention and recognition. The only way to boost a business’s bottom line is to keep patrons coming back so you can make the next sale. A great way to cultivate this enhanced form of loyalty is by reaching out to customers when they aren’t in the store. Keep customers around by surpassing their expectations with these simple tips:
Say thank you
All business owners should demonstrate gratitude to their customers at any available opportunity. This is especially true when your customers do you favors, such as referring you to a friend. Have a referral program set in place so you can recognize those loyal patrons who are helping you boost your business. If they suggest your services to someone else, be sure to send them a referral thank you card. A handwritten note will demonstrate that you went the extra mile, just as they did for you.
Give out customer perks
Everyone loves freebies, but it would be economically impossible to constantly hand out products free of charge. However, you can give out customer perks on special occasions, such as birthdays or customer anniversaries. Mail birthday cards on your customers’ special day, and include a coupon for discounted services. A greeting card is better in this situation than a promotional email, because too many messages will overload their already busy inboxes. Plus, this isn’t just any regular sale, it’s for his or her birthday! When flipping through the daily mail, they’ll be happy to spot a handwritten card amidst the piles of bills.
Follow up on complaints
One of the biggest mistakes business owners can make is to disregard negative feedback. It’s easy to jump on the defense when a customer has something less than positive to say, but that’s only going to push them away even further. Plus, they’re likely to tell their friends to avoid your business, putting your referral program at risk. People who complain are already upset with a flop in customer service, so if you want to keep them around, you have to not only adjust your service to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again, but you should also take time to say you’re sorry. An apology letter effectively does this. Your customers know that a handwritten note takes some extra time, and they’ll appreciate your attention. Additionally, the card gives you an opportunity to cater the message to the customer.
Don’t let them forget your business
A major reason customers stop using services from a particular company is that they get an indifferent vibe from it. Show your customers you appreciate their business, even if they aren’t currently using your services. By just letting customers know you’re thinking about them, you can bolster their loyalty. Take advantage of major holidays by sending out greeting cards to each of your patrons. Additionally, if they haven’t used your services in a while, find out why. Send thinking of you cards, and ask if there’s any way you can improve the customer experience. Perhaps there’s a reason they aren’t coming back, or maybe they just forgot. Either way, you need to get to the bottom of it in order to keep customers coming back.
Building an effective customer loyalty program doesn’t have to take up a lot of time or money. With a few greeting cards and a little bit of effort, you can keep customers coming back for your services.