A business that fails to appreciate its customers won’t get very far. As a result, part of your company’s strategy needs to involve focusing on members of your customer base and making them feel important. Likewise, if they sense your business doesn’t care about them or value them, they’ll move on to others that do.
The watchword here is appreciation. You want your customers and prospects to feel valued for their patronage. When they do, they will lift your business up with increased revenue and positive word of mouth. Here are a few ways you can make that happen.
1. Develop a rewards program.
The customers you really want to show your appreciation to are the ones that continue to show up time and time again. Returning customers provide a lot of value and consistency to your business. As a result, a rewards program makes it worth their while to stick around, while also drawing in new customers to take part in your program.
What typically makes a rewards program desirable is the ability to save a significant amount of money. Points earned with each appointment can make subsequent appointments cost a lot less. The more appointments a customer books, the lower their average cost becomes.
However, you don’t have to develop a complicated rewards program with points and tiers in order to express appreciation to your customers. Even a small rewards program like a punch card or a referral bonus can be positive. Just make sure that whatever benefits you offer make sense and are worth pursuing.
2. Provide early access.
If you’re preparing a brand-new product or service, consider giving your loyal customers a sneak peek before releasing it to the public. This could be a perk that’s included in your membership rewards program. Likewise, even opening early access a day or two for long-term customers can help them feel extra appreciated by your business.
Let’s say you operate a beauty salon. Your team has decided it wants to take advantage of the hottest hair-coloring trends and expand your line of services.
Instead of just adding balayage and “curl-lights” to your list of offerings, consider taking this opportunity to ask your regular customers to try the services first. Consequently, they’ll love this unique opportunity and will be more reliable sources on whether or not the results were what you hoped for.
3. Get personal.
Businesses that develop sincere relationships with their customers can more easily show their appreciation. As a result, this is one of the biggest positives that come with running an appointment-based business. You often see the same faces repeatedly, giving you many opportunities to learn customers’ names and stories.
Developing a personal relationship is all part of a good customer service strategy. Likewise, speaking with customers and making them feel welcome enhances their appointment experience. A positive experience makes it much more likely that they book a return visit.
Do things like address customers by name and ask how their family members are doing. Hair stylists are known for being good at this. It enables them to build relationships with clients and helps those clients feel more comfortable during an appointment.
4. Listen to feedback.
Another way to treat customers like human beings and not like metrics is to solicit their feedback and genuinely listen to it. Consequently, customers whose voices are heard feel appreciated. Plus, customer feedback can actually lead to major improvements in your business.
Look to provide numerous opportunities for customers to leave their feedback. Links can be included at the end of emails and in text reminders for upcoming appointments. Additionally, you can also add a form on your website for feedback and invite guests to leave a review for your business online. The more feedback you can get, the better.
Once the responses start rolling in, put them to good use. Likewise, look for trends in responses that point to positive and negative aspects of your customer experience. Keep the things that receive good marks and work to change the processes that leave something to be desired.
Finally, thank your customers for their feedback. You may even incentivize feedback responses by offering discounts to individuals who share their thoughts.
5. Celebrate special occasions.
When adding new customers to your database, one thing you might ask for is their birthdate. If this intel is something you record, you can celebrate the birthday of each of your customers. Sending a simple birthday message with a discounted appointment voucher or free product coupon can mean a lot to your customers.
Celebrate regular holidays as well. You can put on a trunk-or-treat event for customers and their kids to celebrate Halloween.
The holiday season provides numerous opportunities to give gifts to everyone who walks through your doors. Even smaller commemorations like National Donut Day can make for a special occasion that allows you to give back to your customers.
As you get to know your customers, you can celebrate more special occasions with them. You can offer congratulations for graduations, anniversaries, and work promotions. Likewise, you can even celebrate the anniversary of the first appointment they ever made with your business.
Customers who feel appreciated will return the favor to your business time and time again. As a result, pay attention to their needs and desires, and you’ll rarely go wrong when directing your business.
Featured Image: Antonio Sokic; Pexels.com. Thank you!