If you ask any business owner who the ideal customer is, they will all tell you a loyal one. You know, the customer who continually purchase from a company over time. These customers are what I like to call relational customers. To truly gain a customer’s loyalty, you must relate with them and ultimately build a business-customer relationship. Unlike transactional customers, relational customers aren’t looking for the next big sale. They are looking to purchase from a company whose values align with theirs.
There are a variety of ways companies can use to relate with customers to gain their loyalty. These ways include solutions for a variety of budget ranges, so there are options for even the smallest of businesses. Choosing which is right for your company to offer depends on the product or services that you provide your customers. Why does this work? Customers care about their needs; they also appreciate companies who care about their needs as well. Showing customers you care and that you are just as loyal to them, as they are to you makes a difference. Here are a few things your company can do to give a little loyalty, to gain a lot of loyalty back.
Slap A Guarantee On It (And Follow Through)
Appelt’s Diamonds is a jewelry store with several locations across Manitoba, Canada. They were looking for a way to set them apart from their competition and gain customer loyalty. After brainstorming a variety of ideas, they came up with their “Rock Solid Diamond Warranty.” This guarantee shows clients that no matter what happened, even if they lose the diamond, it will be replaced for free. In fact, all maintenance on their jewelry is free… forever! If you think I’m kidding, look it up. They even advertise it on their website!
One of the easiest ways to gain customer loyalty is to show them you care about their experience. Putting a guarantee on your products or services even goes a step farther! It promises your customers that they will be satisfied, no matter what. Guarantees make a big difference for customers who are purchasing high-priced items, such as jewelry, cars, and high-end electronics. This method is also extremely advantageous for service industries as well. People like to work with companies that they feel have their best interest at heart.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Joe’s Coffee Shop always seemed to have new faces walking in the door. However, the highly competitive, local coffee industry was constantly changing up their prices. Joseph knew he didn’t want to attract the transactional customers; they always run away at the sight of cheaper deals. His coffee was about high-quality drinks and friendly, reliable customer service. He knew he did this well; he just needed a way to excel the loyalty of his customers. That’s when Joseph discovered Belly, a smartphone app that gives customers the benefits similar to traditional loyalty punch cards. It also gave him the opportunity to entice customers with “bites,” limited time offers or discounts to get new customers to his store. Joseph was thrilled with the success! His business is doing better than ever, with many customers coming in several times a week.
Customer loyalty programs can be very beneficial to offering your customers incentives to visit on a regular basis. These programs allow you to reward customers for showing their commitment. It also demonstrates how much your customers matter to your business. Giving back to your customers is a good way to show them you value them. Customers who feel they are valued and appreciated are more likely to purchase from a company on a consistent basis. Achieving this doesn’t always have to be done based off of a loyalty program. Many businesses give their loyal customers gifts at the holidays or on birthdays. Gifts are an equally as effective way to give your customers a little “thank you” that they can enjoy.
Membership Programs With Benefits
James is a dentist who runs his own practice. He grew his practice from the bottom up and was proud of what it had become. During the recession, dental care was one of the areas that people neglected to save money. This change in financial priorities affected James’ business, as well as the entire dental industry. He knew he had little time to discover a solution; patients needed a better option to afford quality dental care. He created a Patient Wellness Plan; this plan was membership based. Instead of paying for each treatment, patients who chose to be on the Wellness Plan paid a pre-determined monthly fee. This fee covered two yearly cleanings, all x-ray work, all comprehensive exams, emergency dental visits, any periodontal treatment and a discount off all other dental work. His patients were thrilled with the idea. They knew that they would be saving money, as well as having the opportunity to pay over the entire year, as opposed to each visit. Not only did his patient loyalty increase, but he also gained some new patients who had heard about the offer through advertising.
One of the recent trends in business is membership based benefit programs. Traditionally these were reserved for businesses such as gyms, golf courses, and country clubs. However, many businesses in the service industry, entertainment industry, and even the medical fields are beginning to pick up on the trend. These businesses are reaping the benefits just as much as their customers are. By giving their customers peace of mind, they are increasing their customer loyalty tenfold! Membership programs are an excellent way to show customers they are appreciated and that you truly have their best interest at heart.
Attracting relational customers and increasing their loyalty to your business is an important part of building a successful brand. There are many ways to achieve this, including the three ways listed above. For more information on how your business can attract relational customers and increase their loyalty, please feel free to contact us today.