The adage, ‘give, and you shall receive,’ has never been more appropriate than in business. Programs that reward customers with additional value can be a key strategy to building long-term, profitable customer relationships.
Looking to create happy customers and repeat business? These value-centric tips can show you how.
Good customers expect to be treated well. So when you’re considering offers, keep in mind that a mere ten-percent discount or something similarly paltry may insult more than incentivize.
Be prepared to take a calculated hit by offering big discounts to your best customers. While it may reduce your profit margin in the short-term, repeat business over the long haul will more than make up for it.
A classic example of a big-time offer would be buy one get one (BOGO). Choose a product or service with a hefty profit margin and give two for the price of one. Make it a limited-time offer to create a sense of urgency. And use it sparingly to avoid the perception that the giveaway is cheap or of poor quality.
That’s right, kash, not real money but a form of currency unique to your business that a customer receives with each purchase. The more real money they spend, the more kash they earn that can be applied to future purchases.
Kohl’s provides an excellent example of this with their Kohl’s Cash program. For every fifty dollars a customer spends, they earn ten dollars worth of Kohl’s Cash. This currency can be used on almost anything Kohl’s offers, including online. Deadlines apply which creates a sense of urgency.
Customers love access, and inviting them to be a part of your inner circle can be the perfect way to turn them into long-term consumers and brand advocates. So, if you operate a food truck, create a ‘Taster’s Club’ that meets once a month to sample new menu items and provide feedback.
Other ‘inner circle’ activities can include inviting well-established customers into focus groups, or giving them the opportunity to suggest new products. You might also create a ‘discount passkey’ program that entitles one customer each week to a percentage discount off anything.
If you operate in a mall or strip mall, collaborate with other store owners to offer special deals to each other’s best customers. The more businesses that participate, the greater the perceived offer is.
Not only does this encourage crossover business, it supports initiatives that encourage consumers to buy local. To further incentivize good customers, hold joint events that offer exclusive perks, such as an after-hours sale or special Black Friday opportunity that gives them priority access.
Consider your best customers and determine what needs they have that aren’t getting met. Do they need time to shop without nagging children in tow? Consider adding an activity area where their kids can safely play.
Do customers need a vehicle to get large purchases, like furniture, home? Provide free delivery service. Perhaps your best customers are busy and don’t have time to eat. In this case, keep fresh fruit and bottled water on hand for them.
When it comes to showing good customers you care, it pays to consider perks that encourage long-term loyalty. For more reasons on why loyalty programs make sense, check out this piece on entrepreneur.com.