Your customers are the most valuable asset of any business. The ability to connect one on one with them is an advantage that small businesses can have over larger competitors. When customers feel valued, they’re much more likely to remain loyal to your business. Here are some simple and affordable ways to show your customers how much you appreciate them.
1) Offer great customer service
Appreciating your customers starts with great customer service. Make sure that when customers reach out to your business, they get the help they need quickly and easily. Having a full-featured small business phone service can help. Call routing, easy mobile-device integration, powerful voicemail features, and Business SMS can help your staff stay on top of customer needs. Add in conference calling, online meetings, and unified team messaging and collaboration, and your small business is poised to offer top-notch service to your customers that big companies often can’t.
2) Teach them something
Teaching customers something new is a great way to get them to connect with your business. If you run a bakery or restaurant, offer a short cooking demo and provide recipes. A clothing boutique could preview new merchandise accompanied by a short presentation from the designer. Creating a workshop gets customers excited about your business and in your store trying out your products. No matter what business you’re in, there’s something you can teach your customers—they come to you for a reason, after all. Harness the knowledge of your employees or suppliers and turn it into a special learning experience for customers. You don’t need a physical store to do this, either. If your business is mostly online, you can create blog posts or videos that teach your customers about something related to your business.
3) Reward loyal customers
Loyalty programs are everywhere because they work. If you can incentivize a customer to keep coming back, it’s a win-win situation. Your customer feels connected to your business, and you’ve got a repeat customer. If a “buy ten, get one free” type of program makes sense for your business, those are easy to implement with punch cards. Or you could occasionally offer regulars a surprise discount on something they purchase regularly—or a new product they should try. The key is getting to know your customers and the things that they buy from you.
Using social media and email, you can communicate directly with customers for little more than an investment of some time. Make sure your small business is visible on social media, and promote your pages to all of your customers. Build an email list by offering a special discount, and then you have a direct channel for interacting with customers.
With social media, in particular, remember that communication is a two-way street. Responding to comments and questions in a personal and welcoming manner will make customers feel appreciated. Take their feedback and use it to make your business even better.
5) Have a party
Everyone loves a party. Host a customer appreciation party with light refreshments and offer a discount. Make sure you’ve got plenty of staff on hand to answer questions and help customers. Introduce yourself to people and thank them for being your customer. It’s all simple stuff that can help your business connect to people in your community. Winter holidays are a natural fit for a party, but they can also be busy enough as it is. Try celebrating at other times like the beginning of the school year, the start of summer, or during a local street fair or other community events.
Running a successful small business is about connecting with customers. When your customers feel valued and appreciated, it’ll come back to you in the form of loyalty and repeat business, which is what every business strives for.