Focus on customer loyalty and word of mouth.
You’re always thinking about ways to grow your business, but chances are, you may have overlooked your best customers – the ones you already have.
According to an analysis by Bain and Company, investing just five percent into your current customer base in retention can result in a 25 percent increase in profit. It makes sense to spend money on those people who have already given you their business.
What’s more, focusing on retention and loyalty will cost you less than acquiring new customers. Targeting your existing customers is relatively simple and cost-effective. You can think about incentives like noting when their birthday is and providing a free battery inspection – something that may have no cost associated with it, but the average consumer doesn’t know that. It’s seen as a value-added service.
The point is, you want to ensure your customers keep coming back and don’t leave for some other shop. And if they do come back to you with a deal they’ve found somewhere else, offer to match the price. It’s a small gesture but will be appreciated.
Marketing trends that are showing up for 2013 are increasing customer satisfaction and retention. There’s no better way to ensure that your business will keep growing than to keep your customers satisfied with great service, giving them a wonderful experience that they’ll enjoy and want to repeat.
Referrals are a powerful way to build business, with word of mouth still ranking as one of the most effective marketing tools. It’s been overlooked recently, but set to make a comeback. When a customer has an outstanding service experience, not only will they return for more, they’ll spread the word. They will tell their family, friends, neighbours and co-workers about it. They’ll let them know not only does the shop they visit offer excellent service, but also has a loyalty or incentive program, with free or discounted service at various intervals. What kind of advertising could you possibly buy that’s this valuable?
But it’s up to you to keep track. Perhaps with a follow-up email or text after the service, thanking them for coming in (which you are probably already doing), letting them know how many points they’ve accumulated, how close they are to a free oil change or tire rotation or whatever service you have chosen.
It may take a bit of planning and strategizing to put your plan into operation. Maybe you want to have a customer of the month; choose a customer to feature on your social media channels, and give them a free oil change or carwash. You can be sure that person will be referring others to you!
Once you have your plan in place and have it rolling out, the benefits will start to show. Even if you implement a loyalty plan with various levels – for example, silver, gold, platinum, like many other retailers do, it may not offer anything of concrete value. But it offers a perceived value, so the customer feels like they have achieved something, and have a goal – the next level.
As everyone tightens their belt, it’s good to have a low-cost marketing strategy that will, in turn, offer your customers a little extra bang for their buck. They’ll be glad to receive that reward, and you’ll benefit from a stronger, more loyal customer base.