We probably have all heard the saying #LittleThingsMeanALot – it is VERY true for businesses, especially the smaller, locally owned and operated ones…..
There are many ways a small business can keep their customers happy, THANK and reward them, which will help increase business. Many that don’t cost much or anything at all! REWARDS – we learn at an early age when we do something good, we get a REWARD. Cookies, trophies, prizes, freebies, there are a lot of different rewards – and people love them all.
Businesses can reward existing, loyal customers through credit card or email database programs. If someone is a Frequent Customer, reward them after a certain number of visits (or it can be a certain $ amount spent). Once a month or a quarterly reward can be the incentive for a customer to return more often. Rewarding NEW customers is also a smart move, give them a reason to come back.
Knowing someone’s name: When people walk in to a business and are greeted by name, they feel important and tend to become loyal customers. Owners and staff that remember customers, welcome new customers and offer help make it more comfortable for people to return. And happy customers will bring others with them.
Birthday clubs rewards – create a data base that rewards customers in their birthday month – a great way is to give a FREE item with any other purchase, so customer has to come in to redeem. And WHAT you give also needs to be worth it to customer to come to your business. Do NOT offer a % off or something too small to be worth a trip. If you wouldn’t go somewhere to redeem it, neither will your customers.
Test NEW items, food or merchandise – ask your loyal customers to take part in a testing, and allow them to bring a guest. Examples are FREE wine tastings (on off hours if possible) or new menu tastings in a restaurant; a service business, for example a day spa doing massages or facials, which are typically 1 hour or more, can offer a free 1/2 Mini session to long time customers., or a free sample of a beauty product with any paid service.
Rewarding long time and loyal customers means a business should be starting off each month with a higher base of customers than the previous month, and therefore the business will grow. Little things add up, but some can also detract from a customer deciding to patronize one business over another. Be very careful when raising prices – ANY raise can cost a business 10-15% of their existing customer base – so make sure the raise is worth it! Find ways to #CreativelyIncreaseSales.
Check out future blogs on some hints and ideas on how to increase sales revenue – and how to incentivize your staff to help grow your business.
We all know bringing in #NewCustomers grows a business. Advertising and Marketing help find those new customers. But if not done correctly it can actually HURT a business. Many of us that deal with small businesses know how tight their budgets are, and, unfortunately how they usually feel that advertising and/or marketing is an expense they can afford to cut.
I once had a client, a service business (people had to make appointments) that swore the advertising & marketing was not working. They were not growing. I knew something other than the advertising was probably the reason. So I suggested we look over the income, customer base, old and NEW customers, types of service – basically an overview of the business itself.
What I found was astonishing – they were getting NEW customers every month, but the owner was right – they were not growing. The owner blamed the advertising. Amazing! I tried to explain that it has to be an internal issue causing the lack of growth. Customers were not coming back. I tried to explain if you are bringing in new customers each month and your customer base was not growing, then it seemed obvious – at least to me- that the customers were not coming back and you were losing existing customers. It was hard for the owner to see and admit that something internally might be the cause. I explained we needed to find the reason before spending any more money on advertising and bringing in more new customers.
Owners need to realize that advertising and marketing has to have in-house systems supporting the plan for it work properly. Businesses need to work on How to #KeepCustomersHappy so they return. Once the Marketing Plan shows results, the business and staff need to do their part to make sure it continues to work. It is better to start off each month with an ever increasing customer base than to have to spend more $$ to just maintain numbers. It should not stop at bringing in NEW customers – you need to appreciate your existing customers.
They are a number of ways to achieve #CustomerSatisfaction; Rewards Programs, some of which are built into credit card company services, are a great way to track # of visits and/or $$ amount spent each month by customers – and then reward them with a special. WHAT you reward is important. A % Off is NOT a reward. It has to show the customer that they are important to you. It should also help increase your business, have an expiration date, have and not be too complex with restrictions. For a restaurant an example would be 2 FREE desserts with any 2 meals purchased in house, and have an expiration date. Service industries – add an extra service, for example a Spa can add a product or longer service. a Marketing person can help pick the right item so it helps your business.
This accomplishes a few things – it shows the customer you value them, brings them back in, maybe sooner than they would have without the offer, is an add-on item so it does not take away from an existing sale, and it can get them to try something they had not. If the product, service and experience are GOOD, customers will return.
Future blogs will be about how #GoodCustomerService can make or break a business. Little things businesses can do to help make decision in their favor when people are ready to shop, dine, or have a service done.