As a small business owner, being grateful for your loyal customers — and showing them appreciation — is a gift that keeps on giving.
A Bain & Company study found that loyal customers are worth 10 times as much as their first purchase. So showing these customers extra appreciation can increase your bottom line and be more cost effective than acquiring new customers.
Here are 10 easy ways to show your customers you care:
1. Start a loyalty program
Keep your customers coming back for more by rewarding their loyalty with perks. A Bond Brand Loyalty survey found customer loyalty programs are highly valued by millennial customers. The data showed 68 percent of 20- to 34-year-olds said they would change where they shopped if it meant being rewarded for their purchases.
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2. Throw in a free gift with purchase
Offering a free gift when customers purchase something from your store makes them feel appreciated and more likely to return in the future. You can gift anything from free skin lotion to wrapping paper to help customers prepare their favorite items from your store during the holiday season.
3. Invite customers to exclusive events
Reward your most loyal customers by inviting them to a special VIP event at your store. This could be anything from a holiday party to tasting a new menu item. The special invite, and rolling out the proverbial red carpet, ensures your customers feel the love.
4. Respond to customer complaints right away
Nothing says “I appreciate you” like listening to your customers’ suggestions and complaints. Customers appreciate it when you listen to their complaint, respond with a genuine apology, and rectify the situation. A strong customer feedback program integrated with your point of sale gives you a cohesive way to keep in touch with customers.
5. Send a handwritten note
In a world of tweets and mass-email blasts, sending a handwritten note with a delivery or an in-store purchase shows customers you’re taking the time to care. Send them to the first 50 shoppers in a day or to your top customers — either way it’s a great way for you to show appreciation for your customers’ business.
6. Provide an upgrade
If you provide a service, give customers a free upgrade to say thank you. If you’re a retail store, make it a one-time discount. If you’re a restaurant, maybe you add a free drink or appetizer. You might add a free product sample if you run a salon.
7. Feature your best customers on social media
Featuring a “Customer of the Week” on social media helps your customers get their 15 seconds of fame, makes them feel appreciated, and shows customers that people just like them shop at your store. If you want to get your customers to participate and promote your brand on social, clearly communicate what they can do to be featured, whether it’s taking a picture of a recent purchase and posting it with your hashtag, or sending you a video about why they love your brand that you can post.
8. Host drawings, raffles, or giveaways
With each purchase over a set period of time, give customers a raffle ticket or enter them into a giveaway for a special treat. It gives customers the feeling of winning something special and that gives them a reason to come back to the store. Make sure you post all official rules for your drawings in your store and on your website, so customers know how to participate.
9. Take advantage of your CRM software
The right CRM not only keeps track of your customers’ contact information but also tracks purchase history and shopping preferences and logs interactions you’ve had with the customer. This makes it easy to follow up with your customers and show them you care by catering to their specific needs and preferences.
10. Create a thank-you video
Create a thank-you video for your customers and email it out to them. Try to get all your employees involved in this one so you can help customers put a face to your business. Feeling like they know you and your employees makes them more likely to come back.