Every business has those loyal customers. These are the customers who stick with you through years of doing business together. You might have gotten a thing or two wrong, but they forgive you and continue to refer other people to you. Perhaps they invest in a maintenance plan, so you do business on an ongoing basis.
Whoever your top residential and commercial customers are, it is important to keep these loyal followers engaged. These are the people who are the backbone of your customer base. These are the people who can help keep your business going even during the hard times.
According to the Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is as high as 25 times more expensive as keeping a customer you already have. It makes sense to develop programs to keep your loyal customers engaged.
1. Offer Discounts
One of the most obvious methods is to offer discounts to loyal customers. For example, if you have a customer who signs up for a spring and fall heating and cooling maintenance package year after year, send them a letter and let them know you’re giving them a month free as a thank you for their ongoing business.
You also can send out special offers that are only available to your elite level customers or that they can share with family and friends. Imagine that you are a customer of ABC Heating and Cooling. Your best friend calls and says her 30-year-old furnace just went out and do you know anyone who can replace it? You are able to not only say yes you know of a great company but to give her a 10% family and friends discount because of your own customer loyalty. This makes the customer feel good and makes the referral happy.
2. Celebrate Special Occasions
Most people appreciate a quick shout out for a birthday or anniversary. Take the time to send out a card or social media post to your loyal customers when they are celebrating a special occasion. You’ll need to get your techs involved in this as well.
Let’s say that your tech, Joe, is at the home of an elderly couple. They share with him that they are going to be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in another week. Joe informs you and you are able to send them a card and a small gift to mark the occasion. The couple is going to tell everyone they know about your thoughtfulness and gain you a lot of goodwill with their circle of family and friends.
3. Reach Out for No Reason at All
You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to show your customers you appreciate them. Take the time to send out a note thanking them for their loyalty. Or, offer a special event just for regular customers, such as a night out at the local baseball park on you. What you are able to offer depends upon your promotional budget, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money either. Even an email just saying thank you is better than not showing them you appreciate their ongoing business.
4. Share Good News
Take the time to share good news with your customers. Did your secretary just have a baby? Post a cute picture on social media and ask customers to share your celebration of a new addition to the ABC Heating and Cooling family (insert your company name, of course). Did you just reach a new company milestone? Tweet it out.
At the same time, follow your customers online. If they post some happy news, such as a job promotion, share their post and congratulate them in the process. It shows you care and you take enough time to prove it. Not only will your customers appreciate it, but others will take note that you care about your customers.
5. Start a Fun Campaign
Create a fun campaign and ask your customers to take part. For example, start a “pink ribbon” campaign to support breast cancer awareness month and ask your customers to share images to social media and tag you where they are wearing or wrapped in a pink ribbon. You could even offer prizes for the best, funniest, most creative pics.
Mike Bal, Director of Social Media and Content at Single Grain, shares on Kissmetrics that this is an effective strategy. He points to Dollar Shave Clubs campaign “Sponsor Your Thing” where customers simply offered something they were passionate about. In return, Dollar Shave Club chose some of these things to sponsor.
Take the time to really talk to your customers. Poll them and find out what they like and what they don’t like about your company. Communicate that you are listening and share your plan to fix the things they don’t like. If you focus on keeping the customers you have while encouraging loyalty, your retention rates will go up, but they’ll also tell others about what you have to offer.
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