Customers you can depend on are priceless—they will be evangelists to friends and family, spreading great word-of-mouth about your offerings; they’re a logical starting point when testing new products and services and asking for feedback; and their support can help you get by when times are tough and business is slow, whether it’s because of a shift in the industry or an overall economic downturn.
But building and cultivating loyalty with your customers isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes perseverance and tenacity, as well as plenty of time to build relationships and prove you and your products are worth their hard-earned cash. Fortunately, there are some easy tips that are applicable to business owners across many industries, including ecommerce, restaurants and other service sectors. Check out these ways to draw in customers and earn their loyalty.
If a customer takes the time to inform you of a problem, it can be easy to feel irritated—but be thankful. They care enough about your business and returning as a customer that they are taking time out of their busy day to let you know of an issue that needs fixing. And you can bet that if they have that problem, another customer does, too. Use it as an opportunity to show your complaining customer that they made the right decision in coming to you rather than going to another shop. Take it in stride and find effective ways to fix the problem for good.
These days, people are coming to except more of a tailored experience when they shop, whether it’s online or at a brick-and-mortar location. Plus, personalization is one of the best reasons to shop at a local business rather than a big box store. If your product offerings aren’t inherently customizable, try using sales data to send targeted promotions via email based on their likes and interests. And don’t forget to add that personal touch by getting to know your customers, offering free giftwrapping, delivering exceptional customer service and sharing handwritten thank-you notes. Your customers will appreciate feeling more like a person than a number.
Smaller businesses have the advantage of being more nimble and flexible, allowing them to adopt the newest technology and features that customers want. Choose a payment processer that has contactless payment options and accepts more innovative payment methods like Apple Pay and Android Pay, which are essential for the modern consumer, especially if they’re part of the elusive millennial generation. If your business is service-based, conveniences like an online appointment booking system and text or email reminders are other great ways to build customer loyalty through technology. You can even go green and offer to email their receipts instead of printing out a paper bill. When looking for new tech, be sure to get topline security features, which are also very important to customers in this age of data breaches and privacy hacks.
A loyal customer is a valued customer. Find more on how you can help build loyalty at elavon.com/staycourageous.