What would you say if we told you that a 100-year-old mouthpiece manufacturing business has remained successful year after year without adding a single new customer in 20 years?
Indiana-based J.J. Babbitt continues to run smoothly and profitably by doing what it does best, AND staying close to its customer base.
As you know, consumers have a wide range of brands to choose from these days, so it’s more important now than ever to communicate with your customers frequently and across multiple channels. Doing so will help you stay top of mind. Keep in mind, too, that communicating with your customers is something that should happen before and after a sale.
ThriveHive offers these effective ways of staying in touch with your customers:
- Recognize special occasions such as birthdays and other landmarks with a handwritten note.
- Send informative emails to keep your customer base up to speed on the products or services they’re using, new offers available, and other items of interest or value. Focus the emails on how you can help them, rather than centering on your business.
- Share previews of new products and services. Not only does it allow you to promote your most recent offerings, but it also helps to make your customers feel special because they’re part of an exclusive group.
- Host VIP events for your loyal customers. Whether you throw a seasonal party or host a simple beverage and snack night, it gives you the opportunity to interact face-to-face with customers and shows your appreciation for their continued business.
Another business practice that never goes out of style and ensures a company’s success is building strong customer relationships. Building relationships with your customers foster’s loyalty and customer retention which, in turn, affect your company’s revenue.
According to Trade Press Services, “Powerful customer relationships are essential to business success. But, they aren’t built overnight. Just like personal relationships, it’s important to cultivate and nurture customer relationships.”
Here are some ways Entrepreneur suggests to build long-lasting relationships:
- Communicate – Don’t just tell customers about your business, have conversations with them. Find out what they need and find solutions to their problems. Teach employees how to effectively communicate with customers, preferrably in the onboarding process. Require timely follow-up, making sure that employees promptly return voicemail messages and emails.
- Exceed expectations – Under promise and over deliver. Impressing your customers will result in them coming back. You should always be raising the bar on what your company’s offerings
- Ask for feedback – Encourage customer feedback to show you care. Whether you place comment cards on your business counter or conduct a survey, feedback helps you get to the heart of your customers’ specific needs so you can address them. Just be sure to respond promptly to the feedback you receive so your customers know you’re listening.
- Connect – Today, they’re more ways to have conversations with your customers than ever before. Whether you use comment features or social media platforms, make sure you’re not creating one-way conversations. Ask questions and respond to inquiries. Make sure your website features easy ways to connect with users.
- Show appreciation – Reward VIP customers with a loyalty discount program, allowing them earn points for buying your goods or services. Alternatively, you can give away inexpensive branded items, from pens and notepads to hats and shirts. Both are small yet effective ways to thank customers while keeping your business top-of-mind.
The third business practice that never goes out of style is making a good product. Just ask Illinois-based school music retailer, Quinlan & Fabish—a company that’s been in business since 1959. Listen to what the brand has to say about their success:
“Make a good product. Take care of customers … Do the right thing … It can help companies go a long way toward getting to their own 60th or 100th anniversary.”
With so many options available to customers, managing quality is crucial for small businesses. In fact, studies have shown that customers will pay more for a high quality product or those that exceed the standard. Fail to meet the customer’s expectation, and they’ll most likely go looking for alternatives.
Quality is a key differentiator in a crowded market. Apple, for example, can price its iPhone higher than any other mobile phone in the industry because it has established a long history of delivering superior products.
Bottom line…quality is critical to retaining customer loyalty so they continue to buy from you in the future.
Can you imagine being in business for 60 to 100 years like the 2 music companies mentioned above? Both of them are committed to staying in touch with customers, building long-lasting customer relationships, and delivering quality to satisfy and exceed customer expectations.
Mastering these three business practices—which never go out of style—will gain you a loyal customer following, along with referrals and increased revenue.
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