Independence Day gets a lot of attention, but there is another July celebration worth commemorating—especially if you are a small business owner with the desire to build strong relationships with loyal customers.
We’re talking about Get to Know Your Customers Day, a quarterly event recognized on the 15th of each January, April, July and October. Consider it an opportunity to not only get to know your customers better but to also think about how you can enhance the customer service experience overall. The outcome? How does repeat business and the development of a strong customer base sound (because data indicates that this will be the result)?
Here are a few ways you can enhance customer experience (with the ultimate goal of winning new customers and solidifying relationships with existing ones) on Get To Know Your Customers Day, and all the days that follow.
Be strategic about free consultations
In service-based businesses, free consultations sometimes seem par for the course. Unfortunately, free consultations often fail to convert prospects into clients because the consultations are nothing more than thinly veiled sales pitches. If you run the type of small business known for offering free consultations—like a hair salon, a personal training studio, a photography business or a tax preparation firm, for example—and you choose to offer them, make sure that you are conducting each consultation in manner that leaves your prospect with a positive impression of your business. One way to do this is to focus on getting to know the customer during the consultation rather than just telling them about all the goods and services you have to offer. This way, potential clients will know you truly committed to serving their needs rather than just getting them to swipe their credit card.
Keep customers in the loop
Are you changing your hours? Re-evaluating your COVID-19 protocols? Eliminating or adding services? This is certainly your prerogative as a business owner, but you need to make sure your customers (and potential customers) know what’s up so they aren’t caught off guard. Imagine how frustrated they’ll feel when they show up at your door and find the place all locked up (on a day you are normally open for business).
This doesn’t have to happen, though—customer experience is greatly enhanced by the simple act of keeping people updated on your hours, policies, procedures and offerings. All you have to do is regularly log on to your website to update pertinent information, edit your business listing on Google, post updates on social media, distribute the information via email to customers, etc. Your time investment is minimal, but the payoff is tremendous due to the fact you are eliminating the risk of losing a potential customer over them receiving outdated information about your business.
Listen to feedback from newer and loyal customers alike
Soliciting feedback is the first step—and you can do this in a variety of ways, like surveys, questionnaires or asking them directly about their experience—but the important part is to really take that feedback to heart. If someone expresses concern about a customer service encounter, for example, make sure that customer knows that you are committed to making it right. If the customer survey you send out reveals a pattern of behavior among staff members that needs to be addressed, address it. If your online reviews leave something to be desired, investigate and make changes as needed. Most importantly, thank your customers for sharing their thoughts with you so they know their voices have been heard.
Positive feedback is worth acknowledging, as well. First and foremost, it never hurts to say ‘thanks’ when a customer gives you a five-star review. Also, keep in mind that if customers say they appreciate something they may want more of the same. Whatever it is, continue to provide it to them and their customer experience is bound to be enhanced.
Offer incentives to loyal customers
Well-established, larger companies often have the resources to set up attractive loyalty programs, and statistics indicate that customers love them—according to the 2020 Bond Brand Loyalty Report, 78% of folks surveyed say they are more likely to continue doing business with brands that have loyalty or reward programs (and 72% are more likely to recommend brands with loyalty programs to friends).
Small business owners can get in on this, too. Even if your resources don’t allow you to put together a multi-tiered program with all the bells and whistles, you can still reward loyal customers in other ways. Simple incentives like gifts, freebies, discounts and special insider deals can go a long way toward enhancing the customer relationship with your loyal patrons.
Pay attention to social media analytics
If you choose to use social media to engage with existing and potential customers (and data suggests this is a good idea, especially if you are targeting Millennials and Gen Zers), posting regularly and learning the ins-and-outs of the individual platforms is important and beneficial—but don’t stop there.
All the major social media platforms, from Instagram and Facebook to TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn and Snapchat, provide usage analytics to small business owners. In order to really get to know your customers (and grow business, to boot), consider taking the time to study these analytics—they provide valuable details about the demographics of your social media audience, as well as information about how certain posts are performing, how many people are clicking through to your website and more.
Once you have this information, you can use it to more effectively reach the folks most likely to interact with you on social media. Rather than just posting updates randomly, for example, you’ll have insight as to the types of posts most likely to appeal to active users, and you’ll know when these active users are logging on to your page. As an added bonus, through the process of elimination you’ll also learn which demographic is not responding to your social media posts so you can find alternative ways to get to know them better.
Need more ideas to help you grow your small business and keep your customers coming back again and again? Check out Fundbox’s Resource Center for lots of useful tips.