When looking at large businesses and the key players in your industry, something will become apparent – retaining customers and ensuring their loyalty is what they do well. Small businesses are built on the loyalty of their customers, just as businesses can be broken by customers that take their business elsewhere. There are a few easy ways to ensure customer loyalty – even if you don’t have unlimited resources – that can be implemented in any business.
#1 Lines of Communication
Maintaining contact with your clients is key to keeping them close. In mail order marketing, the key time to send a new catalog or a discount voucher is with the latest purchase. This is a key targeting time – next time you have an item delivered to you, check the box and you’ll probably find some engagement from the company in there too.
If you are selling a service rather than a product, keep in touch with your customers via newsletters, Christmas cards and phone calls – just to gently remind the customer you care. You don’t need to bombard them with communication – people are prone to getting fed up with an attention seeking business who drown them with messages. But keeping in touch with people is never a bad thing and ensures that you are on their radar and your brand, product, or service is in their thoughts.
#2 Everyone Loves Something for Nothing
Whether offered in a reward and referral type setup or customer reward card for doing something good is an effective way to get them coming back. Loyalty cards are great for this – customers can see that they are on their way to getting something back every time they use your services, and who doesn’t love getting a gift? Whether it’s a freebie of the service/goods you offer or a free gift (even something you’re trying to get rid of), people love getting something for free and this will stick you right at the top of their list for places to return to.
#3 Good PR
Good PR can be a great way of prompting customers to come back. Editorial coverage is a credible way of giving existing customers a nudge in the right direction, plus it will help you attract new customers too. People who are too savvy for advertising are often bought, hook line and sinker, by clever PR that doesn’t let on. Good PR can strengthen a relationship between your business and your customers, and gives them a renewed perspective on the services that you offer.
#4 Do What You Do Best
The most important thing to remember is to give your customers not just what they were expecting, but above and beyond what they thought they were going to get. Think about your own personal shopping habits. The brands that you stay loyal to – why is this? The Supermarket you shop in every week, the mechanic that you always take your car and the phone company that you renew your contract with – all of them satisfy you with their service and deliver what you want them to. Consumers are fickle and will take off at the first hint that they could get a better deal somewhere else – but if you provide them with good service they will never have the need, or want, to go elsewhere.
Terry is a champion of his industry. He enjoys nothing more than reading an air conditioning maintenance manual and keeping abreast with the latest HVAC industry news. He supports Manchester United and has a dog named Beefy.