Every successful business relies largely on a solid, steady base of loyal customers that have already connected with the brand, using the company’s products or services on a regular basis and in a routine and habitual way. Having an exceptional product or service is certainly the most important factor when it comes to building this base, but it’s simply not enough. To be ahead of your competition, you’ll have to take care of numerous other things, and you might have to resort to some tricks in order to retain your one-time customers and turn them into regulars that will further recommend you to potential new customers. Rewarding their loyalty is often a very good way to achieve this. Here are a few tips on how to do it properly.
The biggest advantage of offering loyalty programs to your regular customers is keeping them involved and invested at all times. They feel as if they participate in some kind of a game or a contest, and this is something that can potentially make a difference between you and your competition. Once you get them involved, your customers usually won’t be too eager to give up on you and spend their money elsewhere, as they will see the points they have collected through the program as a sort of an achievement.
You can also add an additional feature to keep them even more engaged. According to a study, it’s better if they believe that they’re not starting from zero, even at the very beginning of a program. For instance, if they need 6 points in order to get a reward, you could tell them that they actually need 8 and pretend like you gave them 2 for free at the very outset. This way, at the beginning of the “game”, they will feel more engaged and involved although the program remains essentially the same.
Giving away small gifts to people who buy your products or use your services regularly goes beyond thanking someone for being loyal. If you give away things that are practical and can actually come in handy to your customers, they will remember you every time they use those things. Two more factors are important to remember here. Firstly, you should personalize these rewards and not just give random stuff to random people – always try to think of a particular gift that is related to what the customer has bought or usually buys. Secondly, make sure that whatever you give away is of good quality and long-lasting. For example, if you decide to give away office material, choosing some quality gel pens is a good idea. If you go with T-shirts, don’t use the cheapest materials and design, but instead give people something they will actually want to wear.
A preview evening is also a good way to reward loyal customers, especially if your business is predominantly local. Invite those customers that matter the most to you and present them your new product or feature. Give them a chance to test it and give you feedback – this will make them feel like they actually matter to you and it will give the whole event a touch of exclusivity. Of course, organizing this event can be demanding – you’ll have to worry about the venue, catering, seating and plenty of other issues, but it can be well worth it.
Special level of service
There’s a whole array of special services you can offer to your VIP customers, ranging from different working hours to free delivery or special discounts. However, you might not want to do this openly so that other customers don’t feel discriminated. By doing this covertly you can keep your big spenders happy and avoid upsetting all the others.
When deciding how to reward your loyal customers, make sure you know them well – familiarize yourself with their needs, preferences and values. It’s not about how expensive a gift is, it’s about personalizing it and making it useful and interesting for your customers. Try to intrigue them, get them interested or simply make them feel appreciated and be sure they will keep coming back.