As your small business prepares to make the most out of this holiday season, you have an opportunity to increase customer loyalty, or squander it to the hustle and bustle of the season. Obviously, you’d rather maintain, and even build on, the momentum of what promises to be a busy holiday shopping season, so let’s look at three ways to build customer loyalty in the next two months.
The cornerstone of customer loyalty is knowing which experiences your customers value and then delivering on that experience better than most. If you have data from which to pull, now is the time to use it to develop your own customer loyalty secret sauce. If you don’t, the following list will help you get started.
1. Hassle-Free Returns
The holidays are full of gift-giving and therefore gift-purchasing but if your return policy is anything less than easy, you will not likely see the customer again. Beyond that, you risk a nasty online review warning others to avoid your company. It’s also important to post your return policy prominently, and to empower your sales staff to use their best judgement in questions of ambiguity.
If your small business is in services, this applies to you too. Find ways to extract exactly how satisfied your customers are with your service, then look on how you can improve and deliver a hassle-free return. Doing so will show your commitment to your clients’ success and your willingness to do anything to meet and exceed their expectations.
2. Pick Your Own Sale
Retail customers increasingly value this still relatively new experience. Rather than issuing a coupon for 15% off, which customers prefer to avoid when they’re paper or even mobile coupons, customers this holiday season will value stores and services that allow them to use that 15% off anything you sell. And why not? The point of a sale and coupon is the same; to get people to use you to fill their needs. So do you really care if they use it on a PC upgrade or a yoga class? You shouldn’t. Your goal is to get them to come to you, over and over again.
3. Have A Person on the End of the Phone
As high tech as we’ve become, a real live person on the end of a phone number can have a significant result this holiday season, when your competitors are so busy they use automated systems to filter calls and infuriate customers. Take advantage of this by training your staff to answer customer calls in a quick and effective way. This should include an invitation to come to the store if they call for store hours. Or an offer of free shipping if they call your customer service hotline.
While these three customer loyalty building techniques may seem to cost more, remember that loyalty is a long game, not a short-term reward, but one with considerable financial benefits.