How to Improve Customer Loyalty for Your Small Business
Why is customer loyalty important to you? Repeat customers are proof that your business is a success. A satisfied customer, however, does not necessarily mean a repeat customer. The fact is that if you do not put your focus on how you can improve customer loyalty, you can lose a lot of your loyal customer base over time to competitors who do. Your goal is to make sure that your loyal customers feel like they are an important part of your business so that they will not be lured away by other businesses. The following are just a few things you can do to improve customer loyalty for your small business:
Thank Your Customers
In all the hustle and bustle of the modern business world, it is sometimes easy to forget the good manners we were taught as children. “Please” and “thank you” are necessities in daily conversation, and can now be expressed in a variety of ways. In-person sales should be told thank you after or during a purchase, as should those made over the phone. Digital customers and those who have signed up for a customer loyalty program can be appreciated in a variety of ways. Text message follow ups and email thank you notes are other ways that merchants can show appreciation to loyal customers, promote customer loyalty, allow for customer feedback, and improve the customer experience.
This one is a simple step you can take to increase customer loyalty, but some small business people forget to do this during their busy work days. Nothing says appreciation like saying “thank you” to a customer after they’ve made a purchase, or sending a thank you card to new customers after inking a big deal. For a large purchase especially, a hand-written note would let the customer know their value to you. Each of these actions helps retain customers, contributes to cultivating customer loyalty, and improves the customer experience.
Anticipate the Needs of Your Existing Customers
If you take the time to get to know your existing customers, it will be easy to anticipate their needs and increase customer loyalty. You may be able to provide loyal customers with the answers to questions they didn’t even realize they had, introduce them to another product or service that will benefit them, or upsell them by recommending other products related to their purchase. Anticipating these needs will undoubtedly improve customer satisfaction and the overall customer experience for both new customers and existing customers.
Be Prompt and Professional
While thanking your customers is a vital part of customer retention, if you fail to show up on time, return phone calls in a prompt manner, or forget to email a client, they are not going to put their trust in your business. Take care of your customer and they will take care of you. Provide a consistent customer experience. Conduct yourself with the utmost professionalism, and customers will reciprocate by treating you with respect, increasing customer loyalty and telling others about their customer satisfaction.
Be Honest and Stick to Your Promises
It is very easy to make promises to your new customers to get their business. The key is to stick to your promises. However, you also have to be honest. If there is something that your customer wants that you just can’t deliver, be honest with them and find them a business that can. You may not get that particular sale, but you can be guaranteed that this customer will still be likely to return to your business for the next sale because you’ve established yourself as a trustworthy, straight-shooting businessperson and earned their customer loyalty.
Offer Diverse Payment Options
Nothing can turn off a new customer quicker than finding out a store is “cash only”. Because some credit card processors charge such exorbitant costs, many businesses have opted to not accept credit cards at all. Since so many people rely on credit and debit cards for their daily purchases, this is no longer a feasible business strategy. With discount credit card processing from Payment Depot, you’ll never have to turn new customers away because of their choice of payment option.
As a small business, it is important to remember that your efforts toward customer retention will lead to repeat purchases and overall customer satisfaction. Improving customer loyalty is your ultimate goal, as without your loyal customers, you will never have a successful business.
Utilize Software for Loyalty Software
There are many software options for maintaining customer loyalty out there that will allow you to reward loyal customers and allow those loyal customers to leave reviews and provide customer feedback for your products and services. A customer loyalty program can also make your existing and new customers feel special – like they are part of a club. Loyalty program members (rewards program members) receive incentives to shop at your business more frequently, which can increase the number of repeat customers and increase customer loyalty and improve customer retention, if done properly. Customer loyalty programs can be a valuable asset to not only increase customer retention and encourage repeat business, but also for referral program purposes and attracting future customers.
Contact us today to learn more about your loyalty software options and how they can increase customer loyalty and improve the customer experience.
Having loyal customers is just one facet of what it takes to succeed as a small business. Take a look at these simple tips if you are just starting out, or if you want to improve your current business processes.
10 Tips for Running A Small Business
As a small business owner, you need to consider everything from organization to marketing and promotion and all that lies in between. The reality of running your own small business can be both thrilling and overwhelming. If you are considering the thought of running your own business, or you are already operating one, see below for our tips and suggestions that may improve your chances of success.
Determine what your capabilities are and then plan accordingly. Evaluate your product or idea to see if it is feasible to ensure you will make money. Make an objective assessment of your plan and business idea. Having a clear view of your service or product will guide you in identifying resources, funding required and time frame needed for a successful venture.
2. Business Structure
You have a concept for a viable business and now you are ready to start. The first step is to register the business name, but before you do that, determine whether you will be a sole proprietor, a partner, or a corporation. When setting up the structure of your business, consider the definitions as follows;
•Sole Proprietorship – Sole proprietorship is the most simple of business forms under which individuals can operate a business. A sole proprietorship is not a legal entity, but is referring to an individual who owns said business and is individually responsible for its debts.
•Partnership – A business group where two or more persons control and operate a business. Both partners are equally responsible for any debts.
•Corporation – A company or group of people who act like a single entity (which is technically considered a person for many financial & legal purposes) and legally documented as such.
3. Register Name and the Business
Register your name at your local courts and once the name of your business is approved you will register your business. Submit your business name online or in person depending on guidelines set forth by your city and state.
You will need to open a separate business account to keep your personal and business finances apart from the other. Make sure you have documented DBA and contact your bank of choice for specific requirements.
Create a website, something simple to being with. Online, you can research about PPC and SEO. If selling B2B services, marketing on social media can improve your search engine efforts. If you’re not well-versed in web design and online marketing, it can be useful to hire a professional designer and SEO company to help you out.
6. Accounting & Loans
Set up your business account and apply for a loan. Consider using an accountant, and utilizing one of the many business accounting software products available. It is imperative you properly account for any business receivables and payable. Also, if your starting capital is not in place to start your business, you will need a loan from your banks or through (SBA) Small Business Administration loan programs. You may also consider funding the business yourself if you have enough capital on-hand to do so.
7. Pay Period
You may have the payroll process in place but if not, set up a pay schedule. This may need to be determined by your state law. Most states favor a bi-monthly payment schedule but this will need to be verified. The IRS requires withholding income tax, even if the employee has not worked a full period.
8. Set-up Payment Processing
Payment Depot is a payment processing service that helps small businesses develop in an aggressive market with an assortment of flat rate, affordable processing plans. Using our services, you can accept credit cards from your existing and new customers at bargain rates. You can also integrate rewards programs, implement recurring payments, review customer data, and measure customer loyalty for opportunities – all of which will continue to improve customer relationships and allow you to build customer retention and customer loyalty.
Whenever you do hire people to carry out work for you, you have to adhere to laws and regulations set to guard workers’ rights. Be sure that your hiring practices align with all laws pertaining to your industry. Business insurance will guard your investments by minimizing risks financially related to unexpected events. Research business insurance plans that will help you run your business protected from all negative eventualities.
10. Opportunity to Expand
Benefit from opportunities of expanding your small business. Look for new services or products to offer and add to your list. In some instances, you may consider expanding your business by adding new locations as well.
Remember, research is your friend. Think about taking a small business course or accounting class. Ask for professional advice and find out the most frugal ways to stay on budget and make a nice profit. Good luck!