3 Tricks for Cultivating Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty can make or break a small business’s ability to grow. A solid base of repeat customers is at the heart of a stable cash flow, and knowing that you have a core customer base that will choose your business based on loyalty is a satisfying and comforting feeling. That said, like many great things that are valuable to a business, gaining loyal customers doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work and time, as well as a real commitment to quality that the customers of your business appreciate. Fostering this type of network is impossible without great customer service, but outside of that there are a few other things that small business owners can do in order to jump-start the creation of a loyal network.
Create a rewards program. Some simple math related to your pricing will give you a good idea of how much of your product you need to sell before you can afford to give your customer a freebie. Rewards programs not only bring back the same customers, who therefore have the potential to grow closer to your business, but they also are a great way of building word of mouth buzz as people check out the cards of others or they hear about their friends getting free items.
Provide wifi or other location based perks. For businesses that rely on drawing customers to a physical location, adding some value in the form of free perks like wifi is a great strategy and can also lead to increased loyalty. A potential drawback that business owners should be aware of is that some people will loiter in the location not buying anything or drop in and out simply to use something that is free. You can take steps to avoid this problem by keeping your wifi-password at the checkout area, but if you think that you can get away with not taking that measure, then it may be better to keep it open to attract customers.
Create a contest on social media. With the prevalence of hashtags, creating and keeping track of a contest is easier than ever, provided that you pick one that is unique enough not to be flooded or hijacked. If you feel that there is a real connection between your business and your followers, let it show through your contest. The reaction of potential new customers to the social media activity of others can be considered an extra benefit; when people see how much others love your brand, they will wonder if they should love it too.
Photo Credit to thomas lapperre on Flickr