Customers are at the heart of a business in any industry. According to data from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on client retention surveys, 68 percent of clients leave because they perceive the business does not care for them. Compare that to 14 percent because of product dissatisfaction. You can bounce back from a bad product, but it’s much harder to reverse the impression that your business doesn’t value customers. It’s no wonder many businesses focus on a variety of ways to make their clients feel like VIP’s.
When it comes to showing appreciation, a little effort goes a long way. This is especially true for small businesses owners working with tighter budgets. They need to be more creative with their strategies. Here are a few ways to show kindness to your customers.
A Sweet Surprise, Just Because
Pick a small sampling of customers who have recently done business with you and surprise them with a simple gift. A small token is a big way to show customers they are valued. Offer them half off a product they regularly purchase. Slip in a hand-written note thanking them for their loyalty. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, even a gift certificate for coffee or dinner at a local restaurant would be a pleasant leave a lasting impression.
Build a Rewards Program
Developing and investing in a rewards program isn’t just a great way to give back to customer, it also serves as a way to actively draw customers back to your business for future sales. When starting a rewards program, first create a quarterly or monthly report of your top customers by amount spent. Send the rewards to the top 10 percent in the list – these are your best customers. Repeat this each month.
Give Customers a Say
Customers love to know their opinion matters. Consider running an appreciation campaign that turns their input into innovation. For example, if you run a restaurant, ask customers to help create a new dish or specialty drink and then name it. Giving them stake in your business is a great opportunity for them to integrate and furthermore, emotionally invest with your brand.
Throw a Customer Appreciation Day Sale
Who doesn’t love a good flash sale? Invite your customers to attend with an email or text thanking them for their loyalty. You can also use these sale events to help move old inventory and increase revenue during slow seasons. Throw in a free raffle entry to sweeten the deal on a sought-after product or service you offer.
Reward Social Media Savvy Customers
A photo contest is perfect for engaging your customers online while driving your brand awareness. Social media platforms give customers the chance to interact with your company, and in turn, you can reward them for it. For example, if you own fitness company or health food brand; ask your followers to post a photo showing how they use your product/services to stay healthy during the holidays. Giveaway a high-value product or services package to the top three winners. You can use this tactic to grow your online following as well.
There is no “right” way to show your patrons you value them, but the approach should be a tailored one. For all businesses, but especially for small and medium-sized businesses, a loyal customer base is the backbone of it all. With a little creativity and effort, you can implement a budget-friendly appreciation strategy to grow clientele. Nurturing the relationship to ensure it lasts longer than a single transaction is a key element to meaningful growth.