When you’re running a small business, it can be easy to get caught up in the details, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But when you picture the following scenario, the risks of becoming too involved in the nitty-gritty can be seen.
Say a man walks into a restaurant and waits 10 minutes before he is greeted by a host. When he’s seated, he’s denied the happy hour special because he’s a few minutes late, so he gets up and leaves. In this case, being overly strict about the rules lost the restaurant a valuable customer, regardless of how phenomenal the food may be. But this scenario doesn’t have to happen to you.
After you’ve led people through your door, you may ask yourself, “Now what? How do I keep my customers coming back?” Find the answers to this question and more with these three ways you can create customers for life.
1. Your People are Your Greatest Asset
There are endless articles about customer service, hiring the right people, employee appreciation, employee retention and so on. Read them all, and then put the best ideas into practice.
For example, word of mouth is one of the greatest forms of endorsement you can receive, and it’s easy to forget that our employees talk about their workplace to others. So, whether you’re a team of 2 or 30, it’s important to remember that your employees have the ability to help you make or break your business.
Show your employees how important they are and your business is to you by creating a culture of outstanding service, such as treating your employees the same way you want your customers to be treated.
2. Thank Your Customers
Take a pointer from Elvis Presley and tell your customers, “Thank you. Thank you very much.” Additionally, it’s great to be creative in the ways you and your employees thank them. You can keep it simple or be more extravagant in your approach, such as:
- Walking around the counter and personally handing the customer their bag while saying, “Thank you for your business.”
- Thanking your customers on social media.
- Celebrating your milestones (such as 5 years in business), and for that week, treating each customer to a little gift as a thank you for their support.
- Applying a “This one’s on the house” attitude by throwing in something extra to show you appreciate them.
- Profiling a Customer of the Month, just like you would for an Employee of the Month).
Plus, make sure you engage your employees by challenging them to help you come up with unique ways to genuinely thank your customers.
3. “You All Come Back Now, Ya Hear!” – Beverly Hillbillies Theme Song
Make sure you let your customers know that you’d love for them to come back again, and you’ll see your wish come true. You can incentivize them to be a returning customer by:
- Telling your customers about upcoming promotions or specials.
- Implementing a loyalty program.
- Providing a freebie or discount on their birthday.
- Contacting customers when special deals occur or new products arrive.
- Scheduling time for a follow-up call for in-depth customer interactions.
These little extras can be quick, inexpensive ways keep your customers coming back time and time again, which will give you a leg up on the competition.
Running a business is extremely hard work, and it’s often difficult to think much beyond the immediate tasks at hand. But, at the end of the day, all your efforts are really just about creating the best possible experience for your customers, which you can do by creating a customer for life.
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