Any business will tell you that retaining customers is easier than acquiring new ones. And, it can be at least five times more costly to acquire a new customer than to keep one, making customer acquisition an important focus for any local business owner. So what can you do to build customer loyalty and show your customers you love them?
1. Create a Customer Loyalty Program
Develop and execute a loyalty program that will keep your best customers coming back again and again. Use a punch card or customer identification number to track customer purchases, and then reward loyal customers with a freebie after a certain number of purchases. To make your program even more appealing, consider going beyond a discount to offer a free product or service. And, if you want to go mobile, consider a loyalty-card app through a service like Cardstar— which gives your customers one less card to keep track of and provides you with customer analytics that you can apply to future promotions.
2. Reward Customer Referrals
If you run business like a kitchen remodeling company or bridal boutique that rarely has repeat customers, you may rely on word of mouth for much of your business. So, rewarding customers for referring new clients to you can be a great way to instill loyalty while thanking your customers for their business. For instance, you can send a gift card to customers who refer a friend or family who becomes a new client for your business.
3. Build Gamification into Your Retention Strategy
Businesses of all types are using games to recognize and reward customers with not just discounts, but also with fun experiences that can result in repeat business. For example, many health and fitness clubs offer small attendance rewards to customers. One such business, Sunstone Yoga, gives out colored wristbands for completing a certain number of classes. Providing customers with a small token or prize incentivizes them to achieve certain levels of membership and tell others about your business.
4. Offer Your Online Fans a Special Deal
Often, your best customer advocates will publicly “fan” your business on a social media platform like Facebook, so craft a special deal just for them. This not only rewards your existing fans, but sharing deals online is also an easy way to boost social shares and new followers for your business
5. Say “Thank You”
Whether it’s in person, over the phone, or via a post card, thanking a customer for their business is an easy and inexpensive way to let your customers know you appreciate them. Giving your customers personal attention makes existing customers feel special , and personalized service can drive both online and offline word of mouth that can result in new customers for your business.
6. Give Your Online Followers a Shout-Out
Thanking or recognizing a customer publicly on a social media site like Facebook or Twitter is a great way to show your customers you care about them. So, publicly recognize, mention, “tag,” or tweet your local customers online as a way to show your appreciation. Most people love being recognized online, and chances are, they will share your post or retweet it to their networks, creating online word of mouth that could mean even more online traction and engagement for your business.
7. Provide Excellent Customer Service
Of course, the most effective way to show your customers you love them is to provide exceptional customer service again and again. Some cornerstones can include: making sure your staff is always polite both in person and on the phone, ensuring that you deliver service in a timely and efficient manner, and apologizing and addressing the situation immediately when you make a mistake. If you always make an effort to make the customer experience pleasant, they may reward you with repeat business and positive reviews that can lead to even more customers.
What has your local business done to show your customers you love them? As a customer, what has a business done to reward you in a fun and interesting way? Share your experiences with a comment!