Your business is as strong as the loyalty of your customers and clients. Regardless of the quality of your company’s services or goods, minor shifts in the economy can drastically change shopping habits or what other businesses are willing to invest in, in the case of business-to-business sales. One way to ensure that your customer or client base remains constant in the face of an economic downturn is to ensure that you have a strong relationship with your customers. In order to build lasting relationships, your company must convey that you are willing to go the extra mile for their patronage, because you understand that they could easily chose another business.
The easiest way to build relationships is to say “Thank you.” This may sound like a no-brainer, but when was the last time you sincerely thanked customers for their patronage and trust in your company? While it may seem like a small gesture, customers will surely remember how your company went out of its way to show its appreciation, which increases the likelihood of repeat business. Read the following ways to show your customers how much they are appreciated to build strong, lasting customer relationships:
Product/Service Giveaways – Giving away products or services for free may seem counter intuitive for those wishing to make a profit (all of us). However, giving valued customers, or potential customers a taste of what they might receive if they continue or begin their patronage with your company may make them more likely to come back for more. Of course, this must be done strategically, so there must be a plan to properly execute a product or service giveaway. If selling a product, a simple “The first 50 customers in the store receive…” works. For those selling a service, the same idea applies, but instead of offering the giveaway for those who enter the store, the select service could be given away for those who respond to the advertisement.
Have It Your Way Contest – Show your customers you care about what they really what with a “Have It Your Way Contest.” Simply have customers put comments in a suggestion box. At the end of the month, determine which customer suggestion is the most valuable to the company and its customers and implement it as a new policy. Announcing the process will let your customers know that you truly care about their experience and are willing to go as far as changing company policy to ensure that all needs are met.
Special Coupons for Top Customers-Giving coupons away to already – loyal big spenders is a great way to ensure that they will continue to be regular patrons.
Open House – Everyone loves a great party! Host an open house for customers, clients and other key stakeholders to show your appreciation. Open houses also present the prime opportunity to showcase new products or services.
Customer/Client of the Month Drawing – Each time a customer or client makes a purchase, they earn one raffle ticket to be placed in the monthly Customer/Client of the Month drawing. At the end of the month, draw one name from the raffle. The lucky winner can be rewarded with special coupons, company merchandise, or something as simple as a mention in the company newsletter. Either way, he or she will surely feel appreciated.