CUSTOMER SERVICE • November 19, 2015
2 minutes Read
By Rieva Lesonsky
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you may be thinking about ways to give thanks to your customers and clients. But why show your gratitude only at Thanksgiving? Loyal customers are valuable—one study by BIA/Kelsey and Manta reports that repeat customers spend 67 percent more than new ones. Here are some ideas for rewarding your loyal customers all year long.
Start a rewards program. No longer are rewards programs limited to paper punch cards that clutter up customers’ wallets. These days, there are digital loyalty program apps that can do everything from tracking customers’ purchases and rewards points on their mobile phones or tablets, to developing personalized marketing campaigns you can use to reach them. Belly, SpotOn and Punchcard are three loyalty programs for small businesses to check out.
Remember important dates. Use customer relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of customer contact information, as well as other details such as past purchases, interactions with the customer via email or text, and important dates such as birthdays. Send a small gift, card or discount voucher on special days such as the customer’s birthday, wedding anniversary or anniversary of when they first purchased from you.
Hold special events. Celebrate your loyal customers (and have fun, too) by holding special events for them. For example, you could host a holiday luncheon or dinner and invite your accounting firm’s biggest clients, hold a special late-night sale at your clothing boutique that only your most loyal customers are invited to, or invite long-term patrons to a wine tasting event at your restaurant.
Make them VIPs. Everyone likes to feel special! Create a VIP program where customers who spend over a certain amount with your business earn special treatment. That could include early access to sales, additional rewards or discounts beyond what normal customers receive, or a dedicated customer service representative to handle their questions. You can also create different VIP levels, such as silver, gold and platinum, and offer different perks for each level.
Ask for feedback. Create a customer “board of advisors” you can contact for surveys or focus groups. They can give you input on changes you’re considering, such as which new products to launch or where to open your next location. Your clients will feel honored to have a say in the direction of your business. (Be sure there’s something tangible in it for them, such as a gift card or credit for your business, in addition to the honor.)
Provide useful information. Consider rewarding customers with content that’s tailored to their interests or helps them do something better. For example, you could give loyal customers of your fitness studio free access to videos that help them learn new exercises, or give clients of your accounting business an ebook about preparing for tax time.
All of these loyalty rewards ideas not only thank your customers for past purchases, but provide plenty of opportunity for you to sell them on future purchases, too.
Small business influencer Rieva Lesonsky is a guest blogger for CAN Capital. She is a nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship and has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years.
(Photo credit: gmast3r/iStock/Thinkstock)
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