Your small business will never have customers as loyal as this friendly face. Instead, they will expectant, frugal, unpredictable and hard to please.
But there are some things you can do and be to help them feel just a bit more attached to you and your company. Whether you own a flower shop, a web design firm, run a consulting business or an advertising agency, matters not.
Your customers are still people. And will react positively or negatively to you and those people or processes you put in their path.
So what can you do?
Here are ten ideas that shouldn’t cost you too much. If anything.
1. Smile – Call me corny, but think about how you react to a smile. And then think about the business that never looks up at you. Or sees your pending payment as a nuisance. You decide.
2. Create a brand promise – Create a brand promise as a way to differentiate your business or brand from everyone else in your industry who does what you do. Once you have it, educate your staff and share it with your customers. Oh, and then live it.
3. Establish a social presence – Yes, it takes time to do it right. And not everyone has the time or social makeup to chat with people online. But if you can carve out a few minutes each day, you can create a small but loyalty-building presence. For example, use this simple Twitter checklist for your daily use. And then follow these golden rules for Twitter as you enter your first month.
4. Pay attention – Are they happy? How’s their energy? Good customer service comes when a heightened understanding of needs meets with an attentive employee or service provider. How attentive are you?
5. Ask great questions – Ask how your services could be made better. How they might be easily customized. How your services or products compare to others in the market. People like to share their opinions if given the right opportunity. It makes them feel smart.
6. Remember people – Remember my name and you’ve got me halfway there. Everything else still has to be good, but help me to feel valued one more time in my day and I’ll feel a little bit more loyal. And when it’s time to choose again, I may choose you just because of your good memory.
7. Reward them – Customers don’t need a significant value here. Just recognition. That a % of their hard-earned money was sacrificed at your business. And that you appreciate it. So what simple way can you recognize their return visits?
8. Create a Facebook page – Give people a place to engage with you. On a platform they already seem to like. A facebook page will give you another connection point. A place where you can reinforce your value. And offer unique specials to those who agree to connect with you there.
9. Blog – Or find another way to establish your subject matter expertise. If people see that you are credible and see evidence of that every week, you build some basic insulation. It is harder for people to pull their business away from you. Lower prices or shorter drives are less attractive sometimes when you’ve given a customer reason to believe in you.
10. Leave your business – Not literally. Get out of your office or place of business and go meet people. Press the flesh. In just a couple of hours a week, you can establish trust and a link between you and your business that your competitors are missing.
How will these work for you? At little cost, you can begin to establish loyalty with customers.
And create a sense that you are the only gig in town.
Thanks Randy Son Of Robert for the great photo via Flickr