5 FREE ways to improve your customer relationships and your bottom line.
We have all heard the saying “you’ve got to spend money to make money” and whilst this may be true a lot of the time, it isn’t true all of the time. The easiest option to increase your bottom line without outlaying money is through your customer relationships and it is often overlooked because it takes a little effort.
If you put in a little effort each day focusing on your current customers and building relationships with them, you would see an increase in not only how often and how much they spend with you and their word of mouth referrals to your business. Neither can be bought they must be earned and that is often where small business owners don’t consider their current customers as their biggest marketing asset.
Here are 5 FREE ways you can increase your relationship with your current customers and improve your bottom line:
Keep track of your customers. It never ceases to amaze me how many businesses don’t record their customers details i.e. name, phone number, postal address and email address. I see this a lot with those in the beauty industry i.e. hairdressers, nail technicians, massage therapists etc. I’ve personally lost count of the number of these businesses that have never asked for my information and those that have, do nothing with it. Put in place at the very least, a list of customers or index cards for each customer and at the other end purchase some computer software to make it even easier. All this information can help you to market to your customers without costing you a cent for external advertising.
Collect your customers date of birth. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it. That’s because it is! Collect their date of birth, add it to a calendar (in the very least) or utilise software to track it and send them an email or card on their birthday and give them a gift voucher for your business. Think about when that happens to you; what do you do… for the most part people spend the voucher because who wants to let a gift voucher go without using it! You can even use an automated system that you just add the details and it sends the cards for you each month.
Engage. Seems simple doesn’t it. Engage with your customers, ask how they are and listen to their response, ask how their families are, how work is etc – get to know them and their likes and dislikes and make them feel listened to and wanted. After all, isn’t that what you like? Are you more likely to go to the takeaway shop that knows how you like your chips cooked or the one that has never seen you before?
Make notes. Whenever your customer visits and you get chatting to them, make notes. I know that may seem time consuming but work out a system where you can easily note down anything that stands out. For example; when I go to the hairdresser I purchase a specific product twice a year. It lasts me about six months so that is two bottles of this product a year that I purchase and it isn’t something I can buy just anywhere. If my hairdresser was proactive she would have it written down on my card when I purchased the product and noted when I should be due to buy it again so she can a) remind me, b) offer me a discount) c) ensure she has the stock for my visit at that time. An additional two bottles of product may not sound like much however, at $50 a bottle if you were adding that to your bottom line for every customer you would see a substantial increase in profits.
Implement a VIP system. It’s basic. It doesn’t cost you anything but it makes the biggest impact with your customers when they find out they have been made a VIP because you value them and their service. A VIP system can be as basic or complex as you want to make it however, the one guarantee is that a customer who is a VIP and is rewarded for being one is going to come back to your business time and time again.
Whenever I suggest these tips I am often met with “we are too busy to do that” or “I don’t have enough time or staff to worry about that”. Work out the cost of advertising and trying to get new customers and then work out what it costs to pay a staff member an extra hour or two a week to set these things up and ensure they are maintained.
Every business has the time and the ability to put these in place and reap the rewards without any outlay, however only a few will bother, and it is those businesses that will thrive.