What’s better than a loyal customer? Two loyal customers! When you run your own business, it can be tricky to look after your existing customers and attract new ones—as well as taking care of your day-to-day. But go the extra mile for your regulars and they could be promoting your business for you. Here are five ways to turn your happy customers into business multipliers.
1. Keep to your brand promise
Every business promises something to their customers. At Jimdo, we promise our customers a professional website that’s ready to go in three minutes. Your brand promise is what your customers expect you to deliver. Keeping it is key to winning your customers’ trust and respect—and their repeat business.
What do your customers expect from you?
Take Hilton Hotels, who promise to “ensure every guest feels cared for, valued, and respected.” While outdoor brand Thule Sweden “helps you transport anything you care for safely, easily and in style so that you are free to live an active life.” Two completely different promises from two vastly different brands—but both clearly state what consumers can expect in exchange for their cash.
As consumers, we’re more likely to stay loyal to brands that always keep their promises. This means we’re less likely to shop around for different brands or lower prices. Loyal customers are the perfect candidates to become business multipliers. Why? They’ve chosen your brand not because you poured millions into celebrity endorsements—but because they trust and identify with your core values.
2. Fess up when you mess up
We all have bumps in the road—in business and in life. What’s important is how you deal with these hiccups. If you hit a problem that’s going to affect your customers, don’t be afraid to admit your mistake. A sincere apology can go a long way with a frustrated customer. Sometimes, all we need to hear is, “I’m sorry this has happened, I know it’s big deal, and I’m already working on the solution.”
Apple landed in hot water in 2015 when they launched their new subscription service, Apple Music, with an introductory three-month trial period. Apple said that they wouldn’t pay royalties to artists whose music was downloaded by users during the free trial. The company faced fierce backlash from big players in the music industry, most notably pop-princess, Taylor Swift. Realizing its mistake, Apple quickly remedied the situation with an unconventional apology to Taylor and the other “indie artists” affected. Following the scandal, Apple changed their policy and even managed to get Taylor to endorse their new Apple Music service. Not bad for “damage control.”
Owning up to your mistakes shows customers that you’re human. And they’ll be more confident recommending your brand when they know you’ve got nothing to hide. Practice honesty and transparency and even when the going gets tough, your customers will have your back.
3. Say a special “thank you”
A little effort goes a long way. And when it comes to showing your customers how important they are, how you say “thank you” can make all the difference.
Lots of brands send customers a “thank you” email or a discount code when they make a purchase. Get creative to make your business stand out! If you’re still in the early stages and don’t have a huge customer base yet, take advantage of this and add a personal touch—like sending a handwritten “thank you” note with every order. Personalized notes cost very little but will make a lovely surprise for your customers and turn your business into a talking point!
If you run a larger company, or if handwritten notes just aren’t practical, you can try these other creative ways to say thanks:
- Send free merch. Branded merchandise used to mean baggy t-shirts and cutesy stress-balls. Not anymore! Today, it’s easy to get creative with your merchandise even if you don’t have a huge budget. Online printing suppliers offer an affordable alternative to custom trade printing, and you can order items you know your customers will love—like durable sports bottles, supersoft sweaters, or even Bluetooth headphones. Choose something your customers will use on the regular and happily show off to their friends.
- Send a coffee voucher. It’s cool, casual, and caffeinated. Who doesn’t love a free coffee (or tea)? This works particularly well if your customers aren’t local. Send them a free voucher for their favorite coffee place (or yours!) and tell them to have a Chai Latte, on you.
- Send a personalized video. The rise of the video is here! And customers are going crazy for it. More and more business owners are learning how to use Facebook Live videos to engage with their customers, and this year, Instagram introduced 1-hour-long videos for the first time. Now, even if your customers are dotted around the globe, you can say “thank you” face-to-face. It can be as easy as recording a personal message on your mobile phone, or, if you want to step things up a gear you can use an online video maker like Biteable to get creative.
However, you say thank you, give your customers an experience worth sharing!
4. Teach customers about your product
Loyal customers don’t need another reason to buy from you, right? Actually, that’s a common misconception. Educating people about your product will benefit your business in two ways:
- It helps customers get the best out of your product
- They’ll be more confident talking about their purchase with friends and family
We’re always adding new features and settings to help Jimdo users improve their websites. So we regularly update our blog with small business tips and website updates, like our recent post: 10 Secret Jimdo Features You Might Have Missed. Each time one of our users discovers something new to help their business, it’s a win-win.
5. Build a referral programme
When I’m making a big purchase, I’m more likely to buy a product that’s been recommended by a friend, rather than a TV ad. According to Nielsen’s 2015 study, 83% of customers trust recommendations from people they know more than any other form of advertising. 66% of these customers said they trust online reviews from other customers. We’re bombarded with advertising messages every day, so it’s a welcome relief when someone we know has already trialed a product or service and given it the thumbs up, for us. This is “referral marketing.”
If you’ve got happy customers already, then you’re probably getting some organic referrals. Introduce a referral programme to give more people an incentive to take action.
What makes an effective referral programme?
- It’s a win-win-win. Your existing customer, the friend they refer, and your business, should all benefit from your referral programme. Your customer gets a reward, their friend gets what they need, and you gain a new customer.
- The reward is big enough to inspire action. If your product is $20 a pop, then offering $5 to refer a friend might not be enough to interest customers. Motivate your customers with a tangible reward like a free month’s subscription, a voucher equal to the price of a product, or 50% off their next order.
- It’s relevant to your customers. Rewards don’t have to be monetary—Dropbox gives customers 500 MB of extra storage space when they refer a friend. Since storage space is exactly what its customers are there for, it makes sense that this will motivate them. This initial referral programme was so successful that Dropbox gained 4 million customers in 15 months.
Check out this article from Neil Patel for more tips on how to build a referral programme that drives sales.
Want more customers to spread the word about your business? Give them something to shout about! Check out our tips on how to turn your business into a brand and test it with a free Dolphin site today.