I’m sure most of you have that regular coffee shop you always get your order from. Now imagine going in there every morning and you see the same barista greet you and take your order. Then visualize ordering the same complicated twist on a cup of coffee with some form of soymilk and pumps of some syrup to sweeten your cup. Then, how would you react if that same actual person you see about 261 days a year just doesn’t remember you, what you order and acts like it’s the first time you’ve dropped in?
If your answer was an exasperated, “Really?” followed by frustrated inquiries on why you’d continue frequenting that place, well then I’d say you are not alone. The reason behind your dissatisfaction lies at the very core of the human psyche. You see, we are social beings, we enjoy the interaction and we seek to find common ground in just about anything we do. This is the reason why communities have developed from a common ancestral heritage or this is why clubs are formed between people with common interests and hobbies. The motivation to assemble to share common experiences is only secondary to the actual motive to network because this satisfies the social aspect so instinctive with us.
This human desire to connect and to socialize is the key to turning your regular customers into your business’ loyal promoters. Promoters of your business are more than just regular customers, they are an extension of your sales team. These customers identify so much with your brand that they feel like they are a part of it even if they don’t own any stock or have any stake in your business. This situation seems ideal doesn’t it? Well it is and there is an entire study aimed at identifying how many of these dream customers you have called the Net Promoter Score, which we can discuss in a future article. Here are some tips on how to take that relationship to the next level and create more promoters for you.
Know Them Personally
Making efforts to personally know your customers will satisfy the need for common socialization, will make them feel important and can be a future opportunity for you to provide them with more products that are in accordance with their taste. Asking them sincerely how they are and following up on it at a later day, like if they told you they were going to a job interview and you ask them later on how it went, goes a very long way with customers.
Customizing Their Product
If a regular customer always orders a particular product from you then make sure you customize it just for them to make them feel special. For example, if you’re running a coffee shop and they always order a particular brew of coffee with a certain twist pair it up with a little biscotti or cookie just for them. Make sure you let them know why you customized it for them keeping it close to what their interests are.
Treat Them Favorably
In the world of entrepreneurship a strong customer relationship is the equivalent of gold bullion. This kind of mindset is what you should have all the time. Even if it means spending a little bit more to treat that regular customer with a little extra special flair. It could be as simple as a regular discount for them or a freebie every Monday to get their week started right or it could be something thoughtful on their birthday. It can even be something that doesn’t cost you anything like a reserved spot for them in your café or special delivery terms for them or not requiring a down payment from them if they order something from you.
These favors don’t go unnoticed and if your regular customers receive them if they are with peers or friends or family, it elevates them to a level of importance that they will be grateful to you for. This approach not only means more business from your regular customers, but the people brought in will notice this level of engagement you have with your regular customers and they will want to be regular customers of yours as well. This doesn’t even factor in the positive influence your regular customer will have on other people to patronize your business when he becomes a promoter for you.
Ask for their Feedback…
Establishing that relationship with your regular customers means that there is already a deeper level of trust between both of you. This allows open and transparent communication channels to flow freely. Getting their feedback on your processes, your product and the entire experience will provide you with a gold mine of information as your regular customer will give you extremely accurate and candid feedback. The great part about this is that this feedback will be constructive as your regular customers would only wish for you to improve and soliciting this feedback voluntarily creates an impression of proactivity and makes them feel like they are treated favorably.
… And follow up on it
You need to be very sure that when you solicit this feedback you provide updated communication lines on the process of this customer’s feedback. When you enact the changes make sure the customer also gets the credit when things are running smoothly and thank them for it. Doing this saves you a ton of money compared to hiring a consultant to tell you what to improve and it will surely turn this customer into a promoter.
These steps seem fairly straightforward and simple but some businesses still struggle to get it right and create a strong base of promoters to sustain and grow their business. An essential component before following all these steps is to create regular customers and identify who they are. It seems easier said than done but there are steps to create regular customers and we can discuss this in a future article.