As a small business owner, you understand how important it is to make your customers feel appreciated. Unfortunately, showing your loyalists some love isn’t always easy. And it certainly isn’t a responsibility you want to take lightly.
According to a 2006 study by the Harvard Business Review, it often costs five times more to attract a new customer than to simply retain one who already patronizes your business.
So what extra steps can you take to butter up your best customers with some serious small business love? Here are a few helpful tips.
Communicate With No Catch
Customers love to be thanked for their support and business. But they are savvy enough to know when a company’s expression of gratitude is either shallow or shaded by a larger promotional effort. Whether it’s through snail mail or email, reach out to your customers occasionally with a no-strings-attached message of appreciation. That is, no coupons or special offers on the postcard or in the email. Simply dash off a concise, heartfelt message of thanks. It’s perhaps the easiest and most personalized way to show your customers some love they won’t soon forget.
Shout About Your Supporters
It isn’t enough to shout thanks at your supporters. It’s important to shout about them too. Thanks to the advent of ubiquitous social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, small business owners can extend words of thanks, “tag” customers in a post, or spotlight special patrons at any time for no cost. Not only can social media serve as the ultimate digital greeting card, it’s also the most effective billboard of the modern marketing age.
Introduce a Customer Loyalty Program
Don’t just use your words to express affection for customers, use your business to communicate that feeling through special perks, opportunities, and rewards. Whether it’s a club-style rewards program or a simple member punch-card, a customer loyalty program can take any shape. It’s one of the most endearing ways to show customers that you care while drawing them back into your establishment — something they will be more inclined to do if they feel valued for spending their money on your products and services.
Make Your Marketing Customer-Focused
Whether you splash images of customers (with their permission of course) across your website, or include customer testimonials and humorous customer stories in your newsletters, be sure to allocate some space in every marketing effort to your regulars. It’s the small business equivalent of a parent always carrying photos of their children. As a general rule, people prominently display that which they are proud of. Let your customers feel the love from your company’s spotlight.
Show It Through Customer Service
At the end of the day, there’s no better way of expressing appreciation and affection for customers than through the steps you take at your business to provide the best customer service possible. From training staff to always go the extra mile for patrons, to ensuring that the products and services you provide are always of highest quality, nothing tells customers that you care like a job well done and an experience thoroughly enjoyed.
There’s almost no aspect of your company’s operations that you can’t use to show customers you love them. For example, Intuit Online Payroll shared its love for its customers in the month of February by sending them a “love note” within their app. The pop-up message allowed customers to return the love by providing an app store rating or by sending an email directly to Intuit if they weren’t as happy.
What steps have you taken to show your customers that you care? Please share your experiences and any tips you may have to offer below.