We live in a world that is so digital, we often overlook the value of human connection. Clients crave human connection that allows them to feel valued. When starting a new business, it is often overlooked how a business is making their clients feel. Owners can get so consumed in selling themselves to stay afloat, they might forget how valuable clients’ feelings are in the whole process. All businesses, from content to lifestyle services, sell hope. The world can be a frightening place. With so many people feeling neglected or taking selfies for approval, it can be difficult to feel good enough. Your business can stand out by making clients feel appreciated, but more so acknowledged.
Think of your friendly neighborhood restaurant. When you say “the usual” to the server and she/he understands, it is a great feeling. This shorthand shows that your presence there commands attention and demands respect. Maybe the food isn’t that spectacular and they are stingy on the pickles, but you go for the feeling of being known. The drive to seek new customers will always be a temptation for businesses. After all, new customers can be interpreted as a sign of your business moving forward. However, it is preferable to have a customer base rather than constantly seeking new additions.
Here are some tips to allow loyalty.
- Always deliver
You must always deliver on what you say you will. People have already experienced through their parents, friends, or significant others the sting of failed expectations. Your business will be projected upon by customer’s personal negative experiences if you disappoint them. The best way to avoid this is not to set expectations that cannot be met. In the old days, businesses used to say best or lowest prices in town. This was way before Walmart and Target could make those claims obsolete. Make your claims manageable. If you will can have their car cleaned in thirty minutes, do not promise fifteen and then blame a faulty vacuum. Customers remember whether their expectations were met.
- Focus on experience
Most restaurants go all out for Valentine’s Day. They will fill their establishment with balloons and candles to make it a great experience for their patrons. Other businesses will at least put up decorations and perhaps even offer a special. The goal is to be included in life’s special occasions so the business will be associated with a positive experience. If your client feels that they will have a positive experience with your business, they will become loyal. Treat them well and your business will be rewarded with allegiance.
- Listen to needs
Targeting your client’s needs or price points is necessary for any business. The time to figure out who your audience should be is when drafting your business plan, not when your literal or figurative doors are open. The signs will be there for you to interpret, but most customers will not always be forthright with what they want you to know. Some products will not be purchased and add on services could be ignored if you do not learn how to take notes from your clients. Business owners have a tendency to go with what they think is best, not always what the customer will buy. For example, let’s say a salon owner offers their grandmother’s special hair treatment without regard that the customer’s don’t buy it. No matter what the business, if a product or service does not sell, it does not work. Your business can be chewed up by your ego if you do not learn how to listen to your customers.
- Loyalty builds loyalty
When I was a little girl in ballet class, our instructor told us the shop to go to for our shoes and recital costumes. This store had brisk business because of our loyalty to our teacher. If you can seek out the same for your business, then you will not have to worry about earning loyalty, as someone will have it already in spades for you. Take some time to figure out how your product or service can attract those with built-in loyalty. Consider that many restaurants comp meals for food critics or food bloggers and other businesses offer swag at events. If someone with influence declares your business one to trust, then you can focus on making the leader the one to focus upon rather than their followers. This does not mean taking followers for granted, after all, a queen bee must have helper bees in order to function. Instead, pay extra attention to the leader and fulfill their needs with extra care.
Loyalty is earned one customer at a time.