Customers can be rather fickle people. One minute, they’re singing your praises and the next they’ve snubbed you for another supplier. It’s difficult to keep them happy, but if you’re looking for new ways to get your customers excited, you may like to consider the following.
We’re all familiar with discounts. They can take many forms, such as the ‘BOGOF’ (buy one, get one free), ‘20% off’, or ‘nothing to pay for 12 months’. Whatever the form, they are useful, but if used too often or injudiciously they can backfire on you. They can de-value your products or services. Also, if you do offer them frequently, people expect the discounted price to be the only price they’ll pay, so they wait for the next round of discounts.
2. Give away
A tried and tested method of retaining your loyal customers is by giving away free services or products for them to sample. These may be products that you offer but that your customers are not currently buying. It may be that you are able to distribute sample products in the hope that your customers will later purchase the full version, or perhaps you could give away one of your services, hoping that customers go on to purchases other units.
Whatever you offer, it should be something that is substantial enough to be meaningful, but cost-effective enough to be worthwhile as an incentive.
3. Special events
Consider giving your most loyal customers a free pass to any business event that you host. You’ll be offering them networking opportunities, plus the chance to hear industry expertise, and you’ll benefit too because you’ll be inviting great ambassadors of your brand to the event. They may even be willing to help in your promotion by speaking to new customers.
If you look after your loyal customers, they’ll be happy to support you. Make them feel like special customers by covering their expenses and making the experience a genuine treat.
4. Exclusive clubs
Some businesses establish an exclusive ‘club’ for their most loyal customers. This usually takes the form of an online community. Members are privy to the latest company news and are given early notice of events or promotions.
Such a club can even take real form, whereby your selected, loyal customers are invited to a social event specifically for them. Choose a swanky hotel for evening drinks and networking. It can be a very uplifting evening, with all of your greatest fans in one place!
5. Assign personal attention
Make your loyal customers feel special by assigning them a personal account manager. Make sure this person meets with the customer regularly, face to face. S/he should be your customer’s first contact with queries or questions, so ensure you choose a knowledgeable, capable member of your staff who is up to the task. This person should become a trusted partner to your customer so that s/he becomes the first port of call for any requests or problems (that can be nipped in the bud!).
It’s difficult to find new ways to keep your loyal customers excited in you, but making this your new project will be time well spent. After all, your customers aren’t just your customers. In the words of American businessman and entrepreneur Sam Walton: “there is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else”. Well, if that’s the case, perhaps you’d better start your new project today…