Customer loyalty isn’t hard to create, but it can be hard to maintain. Even when the simplest of expectations aren’t met, people can jump ship and go to your competitors. The best way to maintain loyalty is to continually generate it.
The truth is, existing customers can feel unappreciated when special deals are given only to new customers because they feel undervalued. While it’s great to offer incentives to new customers, you should also provide rewards to your loyal customers on a regular basis.
Here are four tips for gaining and maintaining customer loyalty:
1. Reward customers and clients periodically
There’s a reason coffee shops hand out loyalty cards that provide a free drink after the purchase of ten drinks – it works to establish customer loyalty. When people feel taken care of and appreciated by a business, they’ll come back. This doesn’t mean they won’t visit your competitors when it’s convenient, but they will continue to use your services.
As an appointment based business, you need a good customer loyalty program that will appeal to a wide range of people. A successful loyalty program for your business will not be as simple as handing out a punch card for a free office visit, so the following are some creative ideas for you.
2. If you’re in the healthcare industry:
- Provide a free visit when a client has been with you for a year.
- Offer “happy hour” half price B12 injections once a week.
- Extend your corporate discount on vitamins and minerals to a client for their first purchase.
- Provide a $10 voucher that can be used for anything once a client has spent $200.
- If you offer chelation therapy, or nutritional IV therapy, offer clients one session for half price for every 6 sessions they complete.
- Send people a $10 Starbucks gift card on their birthday.
- Send people’s kids a small gift for their birthdays.
3. If you’re a coach or you provide ongoing training in the form of consultations or sessions:
- Offer a free session for every new client referred to you.
- Create a reward that is purchased on your dime if your client reaches a specific goal by the end of the timeframe of coaching.
- If you’re late for a call, take $10 off your client’s next bill.
4. Create crystal clear communication and scheduling
One of the biggest problems appointment based businesses run into is figuring out how to schedule clients when they have multiple staff members with availability that varies. In the healthcare industry, not every client is happy seeing someone different for each visit. This makes scheduling a bit more challenging.
Manual methods are reliable but not workable
The old way of having clients call in and then writing their appointments in a paper schedule might be effective for your business, but it’s no longer suitable for the client. Clients today expect to be able to book and manage their appointments online, and they also expect to get automated email reminders. This is work that takes too much time manually, so scheduling software is a necessity.
A great solution is to use all-in-one scheduling software, like Yocale. Clients can book online, leave reviews, and receive reminder notifications to reduce no-shows. You can also use it for email marketing, and your business will be listed on the website as a mini landing page that can increase your visibility in Google searches.
If you’re in direct sales where you need to vet your prospects, qualify them, and have a team follow up with an appointment, you would benefit from a B2B system like Launch Leads that takes the hard work out of prospecting. This is a system designed to help you identify your target demographic, build the right list, and increase the effectiveness of your sales funnel.
Once your leads are generated, Launch Leads automatically fills your calendar with highly targeted, qualified B2B prospects so you don’t have to struggle with manual sales appointments.
Think about your clients first
Scheduling snafus can cost you client loyalty because from their perspective, it’s an internal communication problem. They might not be aware that your software has bugs. All they know is their scheduled appointment didn’t get entered into the system, or their time slot was double booked.
Consider that your clients want a smooth experience where they can book their appointment and be sent to the right person, whether it’s a practitioner, a coach, or a sales rep. When you use the right tools, you can maintain client loyalty by providing the experience your clients expect.