Incentives for Return/Repeat Business
There are so many options for customers these days that you have to keep dangling a carrot in front of them. What’s your carrot? What creates urgency?
Here’s our list of “stunts” to consider:
- Discounts: Let customers know there’s a price reduction that makes it worth their while to come back.
- Free offers: Notify customers that giveaways or additional products are being offered with a specified amount of purchases.
- Limited-time offers: There’s nothing like racing against the clock to create a gestalt of urgency.
- Contests: Competition and gambling are natural “buttons” for people, and if you press them, you can tempt return business.
- Gift cards: These require you to give away product, but statistics show that people often buy other products at the same time. So all in all, you’re making money.
Once you get customers back and buying, do whatever you can to reward them for their loyalty (and create more of it!).
The classic is a frequent-flyer program, but there are others on a smaller scale, like a punch card at the ice cream shop that gives customers their 10th cone for free.
Gifts for being loyal
Consider simple and thoughtful benefits like a coupon for a treatment at the local spa. You get it at rock-bottom prices, but your customers get the same value as full retail, which they’d have to pay if they were to go on their own.
Donate a portion of proceeds to charity
Let customers know their loyalty has meaning by donating partial proceeds from their purchases to an important non-profit.
Write simple "thank you" notes
Using “old school” methods goes a long way toward building a bond in this techie age – send a handwritten note by snail mail.
Make it personal
After the purchase, direct contact with the customer can separate you from the competition.
Cultivate Passionate Employees
As you’ll learn in Step 8, “Create a Culture,” having happy employees goes miles in creating a positive customer experience.
Hire for “happy” first, then teach the skills
We learned this from one of the biggest small businesses in the world, Southwest Airlines. They’ve stayed “small” in perception by focusing on hiring the kindest and most charismatic personnel, then training them in the necessary skill sets. The result? A happy workforce, great pride and a contagious spirit that customers just love.
Add fun to the work environment
We have a good habit of loudly – some would say, obnoxiously – attaching a sound effect to e-mails we send to people inside our company who’ve done a great job. It’s that of a lightning bolt and rolling thunder. When someone gets unexpectedly “struck by lightning” in the StartupNation offices, others hear it and want to get their own strike for fast and outstanding work. This informal and creative recognition adds fun to the office environment.
If sound effects aren’t your cup of tea, how about getting folks together for a drink after work, or a no-pressure contest among employees, or periodic celebrations of specific individual and company achievements. All are ways to add fun and create passionate, engaged employees while promoting that contagious energy customers just love.
Add employee incentives that encourage happier customers
Give specific rewards, financial and otherwise, for customer service excellence.
Shift power to the frontlines
This is all about encouraging the people closest to your customers to innovate and respond to customer needs and opportunities, instead of simply being worker-bees taking orders and marching in tune.