There can be little doubt that when customers feel appreciated they are more likely to stay with your company. I talked to several business owners I know to get their take on this trend. Because some of them were scared of angering their customers and didn’t want to be seen as manipulating affections, they asked that I not use their real names. I have given them each a first name moniker to protect their identities.
Pam said, “I truly do love my customers. I couldn’t run my business without them and I love serving them and helping them. I could make a lot more money in the corporate world, so I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t enjoy it and them. However, I worry that they will think I am trying to manipulate their affections or buy them off.”
Ways to Make Customers Feel Appreciated
While we at Promo Divas agree with Pam that you should never try to manipulate your customers and you should avoid even that appearance, we do believe that you should appreciate those who help you make a living. Here are just a few ideas how you can achieve this:
- Offer incentives: If your customers buys 12 cups of coffee, give her the 13th free.
- Send greeting cards and thank yous: Take the time to send your customers Christmas cards, birthday notes and even a thank you after they’ve hired you to do something for them. Let them know you appreciate their business and want to keep it.
- Host customer appreciation events: Plan a party for your customers. Such an event should be fun for them. Don’t try to sell more items at the event. Instead, serve snacks, give out goodie bags, draw door prizes. Yes, it will cost you a little money, but you will make more sales in the long run and get the word-of-mouth promotion that such events offer.
Making Customers Feel Loved Happens Every Day
Making your customers feel loved and appreciated starts in your own heart as a small business owner. Why are you doing what you do? If you are working with people, then there must be some way you want to help them. What is it?
Now, think about that reason each time you encounter one of your clients.
- Greet the customer with a smile
- Find out their needs and try to fulfill them
- Follow-up on your promises, even if it is as simple as promising to phone the customer back
- Treat the difficult customers with extra care
One of our clients here at PD shared an experience he once had with a particularly nasty customer. Let’s call this client Jack.
“This man came into my store every week on the same day and would just let me have it. He hated the color flowers I planted in the outside planter. Why couldn’t we have free coffee like the bank? He was cold. On and on it went. One day I had about had enough of him and didn’t particularly care if he never came into the store again. In fact, I kind of hoped he wouldn’t. I was to the point that I also did not care if he told others.
Just before the time he normally came in, another customer of mine entered the store. I grimaced as I saw him making his way toward the front door. She looked out the front window, saw the difficult man and said, ‘Poor Timothy (name changed). He lost his wife and two children in that car accident and he’s never been the same.’
In that moment, I was ashamed of myself. This bitter old man had seen a lot of pain in his life. I had taken an oath when I opened my store that if God would make me successful that I would use my success to help other people. It truly changed my perspective about the man and now I greet him with a warm smile and try to help him. While I don’t have any plans to change the color of the flowers out front, I do hope that my happy attitude might brighten his day just a little.”
Jack’s experience is a good reminder that you never know what someone else is going through. If you started a house cleaning business to help busy moms and you have one that gripes at you all the time, then take a step back and see if perhaps she is frazzled over something else and your attitude might help the situation. However, that doesn’t mean you should let anyone abuse you emotionally. Use your best judgement, be kind, love your customers.
How We Can Help
Lori, owner of Promo Divas shared:
“While I can honestly say that I love my Promo Divas clients and they are a pleasure to work with, I grew up helping my parents run retail stores and I also waitressed in my teens. I have dealt with my share of irate customers. About 80% of the time, you can fix things if you listen to what the customer wants and try to accomplish it. The other 20% is unfortunate, but is more them than you. If you are ever facing a difficult situation and want advice, please feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to brainstorm ideas with you and hopefully you can come up with a solution.”
You can contact PD through our Contact Us page.