Sometimes you want to show your loyal customers how much you value their business, and a simple thank you doesn’t quite cut it. Delivering consistent, quality products and services goes a long way toward your bottom line, but it’s the personal touch that will have your clients singing your praises and coming back time and time again.
These six entrepreneurs share the perks they offer to improve retention and, just as important, demonstrate to customers that they care.
Buy their products and services.
Loyal customers reward you with their business, and you can return the favor. Brett Farmiloe, founder of digital marketing agency Markitors, shows appreciation by investing some of those hard-earned dollars back into client companies that can solve his business needs.
“Customers invest in us. We invest in their products and services when we have needs as well. For example, we built a website for an insurance broker. When it was time to purchase a few different insurance policies, we turned first to the insurance broker that had originally invested in us,” he says. “What goes around comes around. By investing in customers, we're making sure things go full circle.”
Send out branded swag.
Matt Murphy, co-founder of after-school fitness program Kids in the Game, sees recognizing customer loyalty as an opportunity to market the brand to new customers, too. After all, long-term customers are your best brand evangelists -- especially when they have the gear to show for it.
“Our most loyal clients receive a simple gift from us: something high quality with our brand on it, like t-shirts or a hat. Since they love our organization, they end up rocking the gear we give them, and it continues to fuel our marketing efforts,” he says. “They send us pictures of themselves in our gear traveling or hanging out with friends, which makes our team proud of what we do.”
Give them a voice.
“Something that will help bring customers back to your brand again and again is a feeling of empowerment,” says Bryce Welker, founder and CEO of CPA review site Crush the CPA exam. Asking for feedback makes customers feel valued, and you might receive some useful recommendations in the process.
“Give them an opportunity to fill out a survey expressing what they like about your service or product and offering input into future decisions,” he says. “If they feel that their ideas are being heard and implemented, they will form a relationship with your business that can't be easily replaced.”
Offer occasional discounts.
Loyal customers who pay for your services month after month and year after year deserve a cut every once in awhile. That’s why Piyush Jain, CEO of mobile app developer SIMpalm, includes discounts on customer receipts in addition to follow-up calls to answer questions.
“We build software products for our clients and provide them ongoing support. We often give some discount to our customers on invoices to convey that they are valuable to us,” he says. “This is coupled with a phone call to ask if they have any issues or what could be done better in the future. Discount plus lending an ear equals loyalty.”
Remember their birthdays.
Cynthia Johnson, co-founder of personal brand development and management agency Ipseity Media, knows that a thank you goes a long way, especially when it’s accompanied by a gift. Special occasions offer a perfect opportunity to remind your customers that you care.
“Record and track special occasions and then deliver a special discount, promotion or free product on these days,” she says. “Always include a thank you in your correspondence that accompanies the gifts.”
Provide free information and tutorials.
“We reward our most loyal customers with free information,” says Jared Atchison, co-founder of WordPress form builder WPForms. When you invest in your customers, they can invest back in you, so look at the resources you have available to help them succeed.
“We prepare helpful tutorials and how-to guides to help them navigate the waters of the blogging industry,” says Atchison. “In this competitive world, we hope to give our customers the most valuable tools to give them an edge in their market.”