The goal when creating a customer is to give your customers an unexpectedly positive experience that keeps you and your product at the top of their mind.
Your goal is to have frequent interactions with the customer, so when the time arrives for them to purchase your product again, they will think about you and your business first.
By doing this you start to add value to them that your competitors aren’t doing. This value is often the point of difference that sets you apart and stops your competitors moving in on your key customers.
Remember, it is always easier for your competitors to steal your market share rather than trying to find a new customer that has never purchased that type of product before.
By using some of the following loyalty gaining ideas you not only give your customers a reason to return to your business, but also you build a brick wall around your customers against the influence of your competitors.
The following 10 ideas have been tried and tested all over the world, Yet the amount of people that use these techniques to master their market place is limited which is very good news as it makes it easy to create that unique point of difference.
- Personalised thank you note: I think one of the most powerful ways to create a point of difference is by saying, “Thank you for your business” or “I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you”. Less than 2% ever say thank you in a written format. Think about your last five major purchases, did you ever get a note to say thank you for making that purchase? The important issue here is, when you write the note, make sure it is handwritten. Think about it, when was the last time you received a handwritten note, saying thank you in the last six months? It will set you apart and your customers will rave about you.
- What to do if you don’t get the product sale: Just as you say thank you for the business, you need to say thank you if you don’t get the sale, contract, win the quote or if you are not the successful applicants. Before you say, “Why do I need to do that?” you will see that there are basically two reasons. Firstly, because you were given an opportunity to be considered in the first place, some people are not even asked. Secondly, you get the last say. If the successful business drops the ball or does not produce the right results, then you are at the top of the list for next time. You may even get re-considered because you went the extra mile. How many people are totally 100 percent satisfied after they make their purchasing decision? Remember, 60 percent of people give up after the first “no” and 95 percent of salespeople have given up after the sixth “no”. Perseverance is a positive, proactive approach.
- Follow up phone calls: Everything you do needs to be followed up with a note, phone call, personal visit or an e-mail. Never assume that your prospective customer received the information in the post, are totally happy with the purchase; are able to work out how to use the product; all their questions are now answered. So few people follow up a product sale or request for information.
- Prior notice of new products or your sale: If you are about to launch a new product or update some of your product range let your customers know in advance. Don’t let them find out through the media or through someone else. It is a perfect way to continue to educate your customers about the benefits of your products. You may want to give them an inviting offer to purchase or try your new product before it’s released to the public.
- The product-of-the-month focus: If you don’t have new products you may want to have a product-of-the-month focus. Even if your customers don’t buy your product, you are once again taking the opportunity to educate your customers about what you do and sell. Give them a special to entice them to try it, check it out when they are next in your store or perhaps give them a free demonstration.
- Personal birthday greetings: In businesses that sell direct to consumers this is a great one. Whilst this may seem like a real chore, it definitely pays dividends. The tricky part is getting their birthdate in the first place. Some good ideas for this are: ask them to complete a survey form, include it in your account application form or loyalty program application.
- Company anniversary: Take a moment to send a card or fax to the company and employees on the anniversary of its foundation. You may even want to congratulate them with a gift or send them a birthday cake. This information can usually be found by checking their company brochure, visiting their website or by asking their people within the company. Few people do this, but if you did this loyalty gaining activity, what would your customers think about you?
- Product purchase anniversary: Contact your customers at times relating to the history of the product. It could be that you contact them about 12 months after their purchase to give them an update on your business or simply to check that everything is going well with that product. You may want to let people know that the product is just about to come off warranty and offer to check it for them. At this point of contact, it may be an opportunity to offer some type of special up-selling offer for an extended warranty or maintenance agreement.
- Your company’s birthday celebrations: Many companies tell you about their birthday sale or celebrations. But perhaps a nice touch would be if you thanked your customers for helping you continue being in business. Without their business, you wouldn’t be having too many more birthdays! You could send a sincere note, or even an advertisement attached to some type of editorial about your business in the local paper or your Association publication.
- Deliver your product with an unexpected gift: Give people the unexpected and they will be pleasantly surprised. It needn’t be elaborate. Imagine receiving an order from a supplier and in the box is a little something. It brings a smile and the next time you think of ordering, who will you go to?