As a business owner, do you think the following statement is True or False?
“With the Internet’s ability to reach people all over the world, the need for customer loyalty is a thing of the past.”
If you said “False”, give yourself a big round of applause. Customer loyalty—the idea of developing long-term relationships with customers by treating them with respect and gratitude—is (and forever will be) a huge part of building a strong business.
One Ritz-Carlton chef in Bali understands the power of customer loyalty, and his story has become the stuff of legend. You see, when this chef found out one of the hotel’s guests required specialized eggs and milk because of severe food allergies, he asked a relative in Singapore (the nearest place to find the items) to pick them up for him. Why is this such a big deal? Because the relative from Singapore needed to travel about 1,000 miles to deliver the food to the chef in Bali.
Talk about going above and beyond!
Thankfully, though, a 1,000-mile journey is rarely required to show customers how much you care. In fact, here are 5 Super Simple Ideas To Drive Your Customer Loyalty Sky High.
1. The Write Stuff
We may live in the age of technology, but a handwritten (yes, actually written by hand) note or card is still a beautiful and meaningful way to express your gratitude. This step will likely take no more than five minutes and the cost of a stamp, but the potential to make a positive and lasting impression on your clients is worth the time and effort.
If you’re not used to writing these types of notes, try something like this…
“I just want to say THANK YOU for being such a wonderful customer. It is truly a blessing that someone so loyal and pleasant would choose to do business with my company. You are the best!”
2. Go Big!
The chef from Bali was on to something with his grand gesture of thoughtfulness. And we can learn a lot from him about what it means to go big with our customer service. In essence, the idea here is to do something so above-and-beyond that the customer won’t be able to stop talking about you and your business.
The recent news report about Dennis Williams and his brother Deorick is a great example. As the story goes, Dennis received a mis-sent text from a grandmother-to-be that he’d never met before. Even though Dennis and Deorick didn’t know the woman or her pregnant daughter, their unusual act of kindness got them publicity most businesses can only dream about. Read the full story here.
As a business owner, you should think about ways you can leverage kindness and generosity to your advantage. How about personally delivering one order every month…with a huge smile on your face? Include a gift card with random orders. Send birthday flowers to one customer each quarter. If a customer likes a specific sports team, give him/her a sports card of their favorite player.
Be creative and caring, and watch how quickly casual customers become loyal followers.
3. Say Hello to Good Buyers
Repeat customers are the life blood of every successful business, so do whatever it takes to keep them coming back. One great idea is to randomly offer them free or discounted shipping on their next order. And let them know why with a note that reads something like this…
“Dear INSERT NAME-
Over the years, you have consistently chosen my company as a business partner…and I am truly grateful to have someone like you by my side. With that in mind, I would like to offer you free shipping on your next order. Please use the code BESTCUSTOMER to take advantage of the offer.
Again, THANK YOU for your support.
4. Get Social
As a business owner, you likely do business with other shops all the time. You go out to lunch at local restaurants, get your car fixed at a local mechanic, buy flowers from the local florist, shop at the nearby grocery store. And so on and so on.
If you appreciate their business, tell people about it on social media. If the other business has a Facebook page, say something nice about them on your Facebook page. Tweet about their business and include a link to their Twitter account. Post a pic on Instagram with a link to their Instagram account. Include a testimonial on their LinkedIn page.
While the primary goal is to build up their business, you are actually building your own reputation at the same time by simply saying something nice. Remember, anyone who reads your post about their business is also reading about your business. Talk about a win-win situation!
5. Listen Closely
During your conversations with customers, be sure to listen for details about their lives…and then write those details down on a piece of paper (or the Notes section of your mobile phone). At some point in the future, you are going to pull out the notes and ask your customer how things are going in that area of their life.
Here’s an example. Let’s say your client reveals that his/her son is going to college next year. Maybe a week or two after the conversation, reach out and ask how the college search is going. If you really want to stand out, find an article on a relevant topic and pass it along.
Or, how about something like this? If your customer says they are going on vacation, send a short email the day before they leave wishing them a relaxing time away.
The possibilities are endless, but so is the potential for improved customer loyalty.
Do you have a customer loyalty success story? Please share it. We’d love to hear how you wowed your client. Or, if you’re looking for other ways to grow your e-commerce business, don’t hesitate to contact DotcomWeavers to speak with one of our professionals. The DotcomWeavers team can be reached at [email protected] or 888.315.6518.