5 Retail Ways To Get Closer To Your Business Customer

A customer needs care and attention in order for him (her) to be happy and content in your relationship. A happy customer is a loyal customer and this is where retail outlets  score high because it is relatively easier for them to form a direct connection with their consumers. 5% off the final price! Back 2 School Offer!! Everything Must Go Sale!!!  There’s a positively endless list of offers they can use to win their consumer over.

In business scenarios, things aren’t that straightforward (and how unfair is that!) but we shall not let that deter us from trying to adapt the successful ways employed by our retail brethren.

and your name is..?

[pullquote]When we become “Harry of HappyFox” and not just “HappyFox”, we know we are doing something right![/pullquote]It is easy to stay hidden behind technology in this fast-paced world and so, the customer service agent that takes the extra time to know a client’s name and his preferences, clocks up a win.

Knowing the person you are talking to, addressing him (or her) by name and above all, treating them like how you’d treat your favourite aunt all go towards winning their trust. Hairdressers employ this superbly with their customers – they remember their regulars by name and ask them after their family / pets / interests and thereby assure  themselves of better tips and a loyal customer base.

Personalising your experience works wonders in fostering a good relationship with your customer, especially when it is a two-way street. When we become “Harry of HappyFox” and not just “HappyFox” or “the guy from HappyFox”, we know we are doing something right!

and the prize goes to…

Offer from Slack
Gifts And Loyalty

Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Nando’s…. eateries do this so well. I am talking about the loyalty programme. Give your customer a loyalty card, make it worth their while to come there repeatedly (free muffin! extra sides!! bigger chicken!!!) and watch the footfalls grow. It isn’t so easy and straightforward as that for us, right?

Not true. Dropbox tailored this method by offering storage – gave 5 GB free storage space to the referrer and referee. Slack, the team communication platform, offers $100 credit for you and the person you bring in. Win-win!

It is that simple! Reward your customer for their custom – show them you appreciate them choosing you over all others. More points to you if you do it as a referral campaign that ensures their custom and gets you new customers!

surprise!

A popular jewellery store celebrates its clients’ milestones by getting a cake and throwing them a surprise party. Isn’t that awesome! You never thought there’d be a cake at the end of it when you filled out your birthday and anniversary details on your new membership card, did you now?

Everyone and their mother loves a surprise and your customer is no different. So, make their day and do something out of the blue for them. Just, because… The best kinds are the one done without a reason.

British Social Research company NatCen sends out a book of stamps to all the people chosen to participate in its Transport survey, stressing that the stamps are theirs to keep whether or not they participated in the survey. Great tactic or just a brilliant surprise? You decide.

ask and thou shalt receive

[pullquote]UGC is invaluable because it helps in establishing a 1-2-1 relationship with the customer![/pullquote]How many of us do actually (and truthfully) fill out the “how was your experience” questionnaire handed to us religiously at the end of every meal, at every fine-dining restaurant we go to? That’s such a valuable customer feedback tool and it helps to keep our favourite eating joints on the right track. And it works because it puts the consumer in the driving seat.

B2B companies can do the same – send a select few personal emails and ask them for feedback on a service they received recently. Ask them if they were happy with the X service rendered to them and if yes, what did they like and if no, what would they have done different. This user generated content (UGC) is invaluable because not only do you get direct feedback from your customer, you have also established a one-on-one relationship with them.

Just like publicity, bad feedback is also good feedback as it will help you fix your troublesome areas.

I can see your halo!

How many of us recommend the products we like to our friends and family? I do this for all products / brands I believe in – if I like their service / ethos / ethics, I will cheerfully support them and talk them up to all and sundry. I am the brand evangelist for my favourite store, my eco-friendly brand of soap and my fitness trainer and on any day, I will be singing their praises on cyberspace and real time.

Get in touch with your most loyal consumers with news of your offers and promotion drives. Make them feel a part of your product family and they will reward you manifold by advertising your product for free!

Loyal customers make the best brand evangelists. Jackie Huba, co-author of Creating Customer Evangelists, says emphatically that this is the ultimate marketing approach and  building a solid customer base and creating targeted marketing programs involving our biggest fans a.k.a evangelists is the best way to produce a ‘legion’ (her word!) of loyal supporters.

What other loyalty practices employed in the retail industry can we adapt to fit our business customers? Share your ideas in the comments section below!

Lavanya Donthamshetty

Writer. Apple-lover. Follower of big brands. Interested in talking about all things customer support. Follow me on Twitter @lavanyad