In a service business, there are few things more valuable (or more rare) than customer loyalty. This loyalty must be earned, every visit, every day. We know retaining customers is much less expensive than acquiring new ones. So, you need to examine what your do to promote customer loyalty and what you might do to reinforce this bond. The market share in the dry cleaning industry is shrinking. You can’t afford to lose any customers that you have. Below are some hints you can use to reinforce your customer loyalty. Some I know you are aware of but maybe you can give new thought to using them.
Know Your Customer And Let Them Know You
Let’s face it. Customers LOVE dealing with the owner. They feel special when you wait on them. When you are in your shop, spend some time on the counter talking to your customers. You can chat with them while your CSR (customer service representative) takes care of business. Greet them by name if possible. You are a people person so act like one. Train your CSRs to know about what is going on in your customer’s life. “How did your daughter do in her soccer game?” “How do you like your new car?” etc. In addition, your customers want to know about you and your business. If you have received an award of some sort, tell your customers. When I owned my cleaners, occasionally we would be in the newspaper for one reason or another. I would take the article and post in on the wall for all to see. Don’t be shy.
Remember Special Occasions
Send “Happy Birthday” greetings. Obtaining birthday dates is not impossible. Once you have them, enter them into your data base and pronto, you have a list. Design a special card highlighting your business. You probably get a birthday card from your doctor, insurance agent or even your Car Dealership. Why not from your dry cleaner. A blog “clientheartbeat.com/building customer loyalty, suggests “write a personal letter. For long time clients, tell them you value their business. Something like, “I was grabbing a coffee the other day and your name popped into my head.” Simple but how affective.
Start A Loyalty Program
There are pros and cons about this. Some business owners strongly believe it this; others not so much. If you do want to provide this, make use of your automation/computer system. It is quite easy to achieve using your data base. You can set up automatic coupons once a customer spends a certain amount, a coupon is generated. You can also use punch cards but those tend to be cumbersome. If you are using punch cards, look into other ways to offer a loyalty program which is easier for the customer and you.
Understand Want The Customers Want
Talk to your customers; ask for their opinion on your service. How can you improve? What other services can you offer? In order to keep customers, you need this information. Create a simple survey. Reward responses in some way. There are also surveys available online that you can use. Or how about a phone call to the customer asking how their experience was, etc. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Ignoring problems with your service is a sure way to lose customers. I was always hesitant to follow up with customers. I always thought we gave superior service and I did not want my bubble to burst. Well I took a deep breath and started a program of following up with a few customers a week. I found things that could be corrected easily to make the customer experience better. It also reinforced the things I was proud of as well.
If You Make A Mistake, Fix It
Don’t wait. I find working in my role at Henderson Insurance Agency, owners often wait a long time before attending to a claim. I don’t know if this is because they are hoping it will go away. Deal with the problem. If it was your fault, take care of it. If not, determine how valuable the customer is to you and then take care of it. In reality, you are either going to lose the customer or not. The sooner you handle it, the better chance you have of retaining the customer. Nobody is perfect. Please remember that.
Never Take Customer Loyalty For Granted
Loyalty comes down to like ability. Unless you regularly seek input from your customers, you really know very little about them. There is always someone out there offering cheaper prices or opening a location closer to the customer, you must stay on top of your game.
This has been food for thought. I want you to continue to succeed. Next year will bring new challenges and I want you to be ready for them.
Happy Holidays to all. May 2019 bring good health, much joy and some extra money would not hurt!