It’s a question that’s on the mind of many business owners as the world spins on in 2013. Maintaining the love of your current customers can be tough in a world where the internet has expanded the marketplace into an invisible horizon. We’ve talked about the big things that drive customers away, but what about the little things that make them stay?
To answer that question, we put together three simple rules that will help you be more than just another vendor, and keep your customers coming back.
Treat your customers like people.
This may seem like a given, but at the end of a hectic day it’s sometimes hard for even the most personable salesperson to treat the next face in the door as more than a number, but there are several ways you can combat this seller’s apathy.
Have a sales philosophy that emphasizes relationship building. Encourage your sales team to speak with customers, even if it’s just a simple greeting and a “thanks for shopping with us” at the end of a transaction.
Listen to what your customers are saying. Set up a way for customers to give comments or suggestions. It will help you stay aware of their needs.
Get to know your regulars. Learn to recognize their faces and call them by name when you can.
Connect with your community. Support local charities and sponsor community events, and offer incentives to employees and staff to do the same.
Remember, the key to maintaining happy, loyal customers is to put the interests of the customer ahead of your own.
Be imaginative in your rewards program.
These days most companies need some kind of customer rewards program in place to stay relevant, and you need to stand out in the sea of buy-10-get-one-frees.
Turn rewards from a process into an event. Think about how you offer your rewards. A giveaway or drawing offers customers instant gratification and a change of pace from the standard buy so many and get one gratis.
Offer variety. While everyone likes free stuff, the same reward every month can get boring. Think about switching up what you offer. Try establishing a program where customers get different rewards every time or can select their own.
Have a program that instigates interaction with the customer. Offering a prize at the end of a game or interactive contest brings in customers and gets them talking.
Let yourself have a little bit of fun with your business. It shows customers that you’re not some kind of joyless, corporate automaton out to make money and helps to encourage the growth of customer relationships.
Use social media!
It doesn’t matter if you’re an online retailer or a brick-and-mortar store. Your customers are online all the time. Have you seen an under-30 lately that didn’t have their thumbs grafted to the keypad of a smart phone? Probably not.
Diversify your outlets. You may already have a Facebook, but look into other social media channels like Twitter or Instagram.
Interact. Post photos and comment on your customers’. Initiate conversations. Share stories and events.
Speak on subjects outside of your business. Engage your customers in conversation on topics that interest them.
Social media presents avenues for casual communication that engages in your customers’ lives without seeming pushy or invasive. Use it wisely and you’ll find that you’ve created relationships that translate into loyalty.
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.