Every business owner has a long list of daily “chores” to keep the ship running smoothly. Cleaning, cooking, scheduling your staff, ordering products are done behind-the-scenes with the intent that this hard work will help establish long-lasting relationships with customers, who are loyal to you, and will spread the word about your business.
With this in mind, the #1 priority for ALL businesses is to create a great experience for customers, every time they visit.
Jeff Bezos (Founder of Amazon.com) says it best, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It is our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
You, and your staff know when you’ve crossed the chasm from “have a nice day” to “nice to see you again” with casual passersby (Hooray!). But what are ways you can ensure that you are following the necessary steps to keeping customers engaged and invested? Below are 10 small business tips to do just that.
1. Get Personal.
More than 8 out of 10 consumers say it’s important that small businesses are “personal, intimate, human and face-to-face.” So get to know your customers on a personal level. Learn their name, favorite drink (if you are a local café), and don’t be afraid to have a conversation and ask them about their day. This falls first on our list of 10 tips for small businesses for a reason; creating personal connections is the beginning of any long and successful relationship!
2. Create a Mission Statement.
Help your community understand what makes your business unique by creating a Mission Statement. This will ultimately set you apart from competition and help you create a culture that your customers can appreciate and relate to. (See Writing A Mission Statement For Your Business )
3. Train Your Employees.
It’s important to provide a consistent experience for customers. Make sure to train your staff on products, services, discounts, rewards programs, specials, and most importantly how to greet, thank and communicate with each customer.
4. Listen & Care.
It seems fairly simple, but many times we can get caught up in the lunchtime rush or counting change, and suddenly someone is out the door. Remember to listen to what your customer’s needs are, look them in the eyes, respond to what they are requesting, and make sure to let them know you care.
5. Get Feedback.
sking customers to share their feedback with you is an invaluable experience. Yelp is the most widely used consumer review site of restaurants, spas, etc., but it’s equally important to get 1:1 communication and ask for ways you can improve upon your service.
6. Reward Them for Coming Back.
These days you don’t have to explain to your customers what a Loyalty Program is, you just have to introduce them to yours. Most consumers will tell you that they feel more loyal to businesses that reward their frequency. On the flip side, it also helps you gain insight into who your most valuable customers are.
7. Stay in Touch.
etting customers know about promotions, sales, new locations, and specials positions your business at top of mind. With a loyalty program, emailing customers who have not visited for long periods of time and offering Double Belly Points is a great way to incentivize people to come back!
8. Celebrate Holidays.
There are many special occasions and holidays that businesses can take advantage of throughout the year. Celebrate holidays with promotions, special products, and surprise your customers with something unexpected!
9. Be Social.
The benefits of promoting your business and engaging with customers via Facebook and Twitter are exponential. It’s a modern day search and discovery tool, a word-of-mouth marketing facilitator and a way to strengthen your relationship with inspiration and relevance.
10. Stay True.
The last item on our list of tips is a reminder that the vision you create for your small business will be reflected in products, culture and customer service every day. It’s also important to be authentic and stay true to who you are as a business. For example, setting the right expectations with customers, providing honest updates, solving problems immediately and taking accountability are ways that you can ensure you are fostering stronger relationships with customers, and building trust.
Have some small business tips to share with us? Great! Tweet us @BellyCard.
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