Every business owner has heard the phrase, “You only get one chance to make a first impression, make it count.” There is no doubt about it, small businesses want to build a base of loyal customers and it all starts with the first impression.
Bringing in and keeping your customers loyal to your company is a challenge. With competitors building communities and aggressively advertising on price, you have to put energy and effort into sustaining a consistent customer base. Having too many daily deals and various discounts are hard to maintain, so you can focus on unique loyalty solutions to keep your customers coming back again and again. Here are ways to do that:
- Exceed expectations. Every customer has expectations when they are going to spend their money on products and services. As there are increasingly more channels for consumers to voice both their expectations and their experiences, there becomes a greater opportunity to exceed these expectations and earn credibility, respect, and loyalty. Exceeding customer happiness isn’t always about doing more or trying harder, it’s about setting realistic expectations and being adaptable to where the customer sees the value. When you’re available and accountable for your actions as an owner, your customers will see their expectations being met.
- Offer customer benefits. By providing loyalty programs for current customers, business owners are not only saying thank you, but are motivating them to be their brand ambassadors. Satisfied customers can easily spread the word about a business to their professional, personal and social networks, helping increase your customer base even more. Customer benefits can increase sales, help your company stand out, and develop long-term relationships.
- Be available. Make customer relationships a shared responsibility for your entire organization. Customers want to know who they are buying from and if your business can be trusted when something is needed. Customers want a personal experience when dealing with businesses, they do not want to wait and be put through the ringer when trying to get assistance. Your reasonable availability demonstrates respect and true concern for your accounts.
The philosophy behind a customer loyalty program is: Repeat customers are rewarded and businesses increase sales. It’s a simple but powerful strategy. To earn that loyalty, you must constantly demonstrate to the customer that the relationship is crucial. Customer loyalty cannot be bought. It is earned… not just once, but every day of each customer relationship.