Sometimes even when it comes to business, it’s personal. Or, at least it should be personal for any marketing professional or small business owner looking to drive revenue. Establishing a true customer relationship can impact the bottom line for businesses – bringing in more revenue, and even providing some cost and time savings. According to an analysis by RJMetrics, a business intelligence company, repeat customers can provide up to 60% of a top company’s revenue by the third year. Business can see dividends from loyal customers as early as the first month, with a reported 20% of revenue brought in from repeat customers at top companies. In addition, repeat customers spend up to 300% more than new customers, likely in part because your established relationship has won their trust, and therefore makes them feel more confident making larger purchases from your business.
How can you express true customer appreciation for these critical components of your business? As a business owner, partner or marketing professional, one valuable opportunity for customer appreciation is to spearhead a marketing initiative focused on getting to know your customer, particularly on “Get to Know Your Customer Day.” Four times per year, this day is observed on the third Thursday of the quarter (January, April, July and October) to spur businesses to reach out to their customers and, as the name suggests, get to know them better. The initiative represents a return to Mom-and-Pop Main Street business, where business owners and their customers enjoyed true relationships that benefited both parties. For customers, businesses are able to meet their needs, or at least find ways to do so in the future. For businesses, understanding and meeting these needs ensures a purchase and may secure repeat business for the future.
Through this initiative, small businesses can get to know their customers in several ways.
Transform your business into a party with a customer loyalty event. The scale doesn’t have to be grand – simply taking the time to send invitations to key customers or posting fliers to announce the event can transform the environment into a party. Then, provide snacks and refreshments to add to the atmosphere. During the event, invest in time with your guests – like the host of any party – to create conversations and listen to what your guests have to say. You can also offer raffles or promotions. And, continue the conversation by following up with a thank you note. An event is also a great opportunity to try to learn customer names if possible. Using names makes customers feel important, and establishes a personal relationship.
Capitalize on the convenience of social media to greet, thank and engage customers on outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to respond to comments to build relationships on these platforms. Timely, customer-focused responses are important to build relationships and establish a positive brand reputation. Use Get to Know Your Customer Day as a way to launch this practice, but be sure to follow through on notifications regularly outside this event so customers will remain engaged.
Request more formalized feedback through a customer survey, deployed either through direct mail or email. With your request, you can also thank your customers for their business and explain that you would like to express your gratitude for their time spent in your survey by offering a small incentive. Offer a coupon, discount or giveaway for those who respond to the survey. Through survey research, you can establish customer demographic profiles and better understand their satisfaction – as well as where your next opportunities may be.
Efforts to build relationships with your customer and get to know them don’t have to stop with Get to Know Your Customer Day. Establish a regular, year-round practice to appreciate your loyal customers through other promotions or deals. Use birthdays, anniversaries and holidays as natural ways to reach out throughout the year – just ensure you don’t bombard customers with too many communications. By getting personal with your customers, you’re likely to enjoy a stronger, more successful business.