Repeat and referral customers are the lifeblood of any business. And just as you wouldn't only show your spouse or partner love on Valentine's Day, you should consider how to show your customers appreciation all year long. These tips are cost-effective and genuine ways to keep you top of mind and prove how much you value your customer's business throughout the year.
- Reward Loyalty - Loyalty programs are great but they can be cumbersome, hard to manage and time consuming for little payback. But you don't have to be fancy about it! Simple things like a hand-written card in the mail or a flower/fruit arrangement can really show your appreciation for someone coming back to you with their business. Make the reward commensurate with the size of the sale or business they're bringing you. People don't forget when they're thanked for being loyal!
- Be Generous with Praise - One of the easiest ways to show your appreciation is using social media. Calling out a customer with thanks for their business will net you more followers and encourage engagement which leads to more exposure for you.
- Engage Genuinely - Involve customers and clients in your decision-making and actively listen when you're getting feedback. People want to be heard and if they see you listening intently, they'll be more inclined to work with you in the future.
- Be Flexible - Just because you've always done something a certain way doesn't mean there isn't value to changing things up on request. Your client will appreciate your flexibility and willingness to meet their needs and be more likely to use your service the next time they need it - and they'll tell their friends about how you bent over backwards for them.
- Incentivize Referrals - Again, simple is best when it comes to expanding your customer base with referral business. The simplest way to gain referrals is to ask for them. And when someone agrees or comes through with a referral, go back to tips #1 & #2 above!
- Focus on the Experience - Each time you interact with a customer or client, you're forming experiential knowledge and history with them. Those experiences will determine whether they want to use your service again so always keep this in mind with any knew client or potential client.