If you’re a small business owner with clients, you probably have a favorite or two. Bad customers stand out and can ruin our day, but good clients can bring out the best in us and make the whole process feel worth it. Sometimes, we may take our “good” and “okay” clients for granted though, which is a shame since we rely so heavily on them. To help retain good clients, we suggest the following tips for our fellow small business owners:
- Remember who they are. If you can remember their names, their preferences, and even a little more personal facts about your customers (without being creepy), they are far more likely to stay with you. Making them feel remembered and special with a more intimate connection is a surefire way to hold onto good business for years to come.
- Create loyalty programs and benefits. Punch cards are great ideas, as are mailed out (snail mail or email) coupons that are special for only returning customers. Give your clients even more incentive to use you for business whenever possible.
- Appreciate them. If a client gives you a referral, take the time to make sure they know they’re appreciated. Verbalized your appreciation when you see them, and be sincere. Skipping this step makes individuals feel like they’re a dime a dozen, and they are more likely to stray elsewhere for a better price or sense of service.
- Bend backwards when you can. When possible, be flexible with your loyal clients. You don’t need to be with everyone, especially those you don’t know or have a relationship with yet. But if you’ve known a client for a long time, it will be beneficial to bend when and where you can to maintain their business and help them out where possible. This isn’t to say you should give them services for free, but say they are one coupon punch away from that 25% discount and they came in thinking they’d be able to use it. If they’ve been to your business 9 other times, maybe it’s worth their happiness and genuine referral to others to just punch that card an additional time (if you’re the business owner and can make that executive decision!). Play this by ear, but showing humanity and flexibility is likely to only build upon your relationship and keep them coming back for many more years.
- Out-do your competitors in providing the service they need. This may sound like a little bit of a no-brainer, but if you strive to be the best of your industry AND manage to do it with a smile on your face that recognizes clients, individuals will have a much tougher time moving elsewhere, even if the price is better with a competitor. Be the most genuine, as well as the most skilled at what you do in any capacity possible.
If you’re new at being a small business owner, it can take some time to build up client relations. But fret not! In next week’s blog, we’ll discuss ways to make great first impressions on customers and associates to get your business booming in no time.