In a world where there is a new business opening every few minutes - or so it seems - customers tend to be spoilt for choice. As a result, encouraging and rewarding customer loyalty is important for all businesses. While attracting new customers is a continual focus, it is also vital to ensure your existing customers - who helped make your business what it is today - feel that their continued patronage is both recognized and appreciated.
As well as showing your genuine appreciation to long-term customers, rewarding customer loyalty also helps to increase retention rates. This, in turn, strengthens the connection between your business and the individual - to the benefit of both parties. To achieve this, you may want to consider implementing one of customer loyalty rewards below…
When a business offers discounts or special rates, they tend to be targeted towards new customers. This is a viable strategy to bring new business to your enterprise, but it can make existing customers feel unimportant. Offering the occasional discount just to existing customers shows your appreciation for their continued custom and should ensure that customers feel valued.
A simple ‘thank you’ note can go a long way to ensuring your customers feel they are important to your business. This note will be of even more value if it is handwritten; choose a number of your biggest repeat customers and scribe a small note of appreciation to attach to their next order.
If you are introducing a new line of products or services, ensure that your existing loyal customers are the first to see this. Everyone likes an exclusive, and your existing customers will feel particularly appreciated if they have access to ranges that new and non-customers can’t yet access.
If you are holding a sale or temporary reduction in service prices, provide your existing customers with early-access for a limited period of time. Not only does this ensure that existing customers feel rewarded, but it also means that the people who have helped build your business are the ones who benefit from substantial discounts. While sales and discounts are often used to attract new customers, solidifying your reputation with your existing customers is just as - if not more - important during promotional periods.
For long-term, high-value customers, providing an additional level of customer service will always be well received. You could, for example, introduce specialist account managers rather than requiring established customers to go through the same customer service channels as everyone else. Not only does this appeal to the desire for exclusivity, but in a world where customer service is incredibly anonymous and unaccountable, your choice to provide valuable customers with a single point of contact is sure to be noticed and appreciated.
Many businesses focus on the need to attract new customers to their business; while this is important, your existing customers are arguably far more vital to your enterprise. By choosing to implement established customer loyalty rewards such as those described above, you are both saying “thank you” for their contribution to your business as it is now, and making a concerted effort to retain their valuable custom in the future.