We all want our customers to be satisfied and happy with our products and services, but the next part of the equation is keeping them loyal to the brand. There are many practices you can use to improve customer loyalty and developing a relationship with your customer base is the key. Companies find that one of the best ways to build a relationship is to reward their current customers.
Leverage Data You Already Have
This marketing strategy aims to increase repeat business by surprising customers with an unexpected gift. Rewarding customers in this way creates a more positive feeling toward your brand and encourages them to go back to your company for future purchases.
Understanding your clients and rewarding them based on their behaviors reaches them in a personal way. Building a customer database is an ideal way to collect information, such as the anniversary dates of their first purchase with your company. You can then use this data to time rewards in meaningful ways that speak to your customers.
Surprise and Delight Strategy
It is always best to have a variety of methods in your arsenal to attract repeat business from customers. There is no “one size fits all” recipe for building customer loyalty, so the more tools you have in your toolbelt, the better.
Consider these time-tested methods of reaching customers and bringing them back for future purchases.
Collect feedback and use it wisely. When you ask customers for their advice and feedback, they will likely be open and honest. Take their words to heart and make the changes they suggest. When you let customers know about updates and changes you’ve made based on their feedback, they will organically feel like part of the team
Offer special deals. Your current customers will be likely to purchase more if you reach out to them with coupons, promotions, and freebies that they wouldn’t typically receive.
Focus on customer service. A strong customer service game is essential to any business, but gaining repeat business is much more effective when the customer is impressed by over-the-top service.
Make customers feel like VIPs. Using “club” membership techniques to allow customers to build up rewards points is one of the most effective means of improving customer loyalty.
Read More about how to use the “Surprise and Delight” strategy to improve customer loyalty:
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What is a “Surprise and Delight” Strategy (or for those in the know S&D)?
“Surprise and Delight” is a marketing approach that seeks to attract and nurture customers through the lead pipeline through interactive experiences, unexpected gifts or rewards and personalized content.
Over the last decade this idea has been gaining traction with business owners and marketers as a smart way to enhance the overall brand experience for prospects and existing clients. A genuine sign of appreciation for your customers is a great way to breathe new life into existing marketing campaigns while also creating a powerful connection on a more emotional level.
Data from a study conducted by LoyaltyOne shows that a 94% of customers who received a surprise gift or special recognition felt more positive about the company and 34% of them said the experience lead them to give the company more business.
S&D is More Than a Rewards Program
A customer Rewards or Loyalty Program is a great way to keep your clients coming back for more. However, it’s somewhat expected these days, especially for retail shops and restaurants. You can implement “surprise and delight” strategies into your existing Loyalty Program to give your customers unexpected perks. These unexpected gifts can help boost purchases, support brand loyalty and can help educate consumers about new products or services.
Reward your existing customers and welcome new clients in new, interesting and unique ways by personalizing your surprises. Loyalty is hard to buy. When you invest into developing and providing a custom experience that was tailor-made for each user, you’ll wow your client base and improve your chances of seeing a longer ROI from your efforts.
Why Understanding Your Clients Pays… Literally
When you look at brands who specialize in implementing effective surprise and delight strategies, you find the same three commonalities:
They know who their users are
They know what their users are doing
They can capitalize on both of the above two points to deliver a memorable customer experience
People want to feel recognized and valued. When you serve your clients that are triggered based on their unique behaviors, you speak to them on a personal level. Automating on-line micro-experiences for your digital audience will help you connect with them in real time. Also, by building a customer database you can collect important details on your clients which you can then use to create those automated campaigns.
Client Anniversaries, for example, can be added to your CRM and email marketing tools. You can create a personalized message in advance and then schedule the tool to automatically send an anniversary card to your client on the preset date.
What’s a client anniversary? Anniversaries are a great excuse to re-engage with your customers. Think of it as the day your client started with you. It can be the date of their first purchase or sign-up with your company. This is an easy date to track and create an annual reminder for with any popular customer relationship management tool on the market today.
Client Anniversary Email Example from theSkimm
Unique Ways You Can Try the “Surprise and Delight” Strategy for your Business
S&D Tip #1: Send a Handwritten Note
If you’re like me you can remember the days where text messages and social media were not the primary way to communicate. Technology has made emails more commonplace than receiving a handwritten card or letter in the mail.
Emails might get the job done, but if you want to stand out as a business, why not leverage the power of a handwritten note to express gratitude and recognition of your employees and customers?
Handwritten notes help build relationships by providing a level of intimacy you can’t get from digital communications.
S&D Tip #2: Send a Birthday Card and Gift
Go the extra mile with your customers by remembering their birthday. Like anniversaries, birthdays present the perfect opportunity to connect with your customers. Sure, you can send a digital card. And, depending on the size of your client list (and budget!), digital cards and email automations might be your only option. However, if you want to stand out you might want to consider the impact a real, paper birthday card might have.
All marketers know that it’s less expensive to keep an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. Customer loyalty is an increasingly important aspect of any business. According to research from Hallmark Business Connections, sending customer birthday cards increases loyalty by 10%.
S&D Tip #3: Create an Interactive Experience
With the noisy digital landscape, brands are in a constant battle to produce more impactful content and customer expectations are rising. If you want to meet the demands of your customers, you can’t just do what you’ve always done.
Content is just as, if not more, important in delivering a positive customer experience than ever before. Interactive content helps pull users directly into the experience you’ve created by requiring their engagement and providing them with something valuable in return.
But what is interactive content? Videos might be considered a form of interactive content. However, an interactive experience offers content than actively calls for input from the users. Examples of interactive content include:
Surveys and Polls
Personalized Assessments and Quizzes
Tools and Calculators
Other Digital Media, such as White Papers, Reports and eBooks can also be made Interactive
Creating and sharing thoughtful, interactive content leads to more engagement, better leads and improved loyalty from your customers.
S&D Tip #4: Make them a Custom Video Message
If you’re in sales, you know how hard it is to stand out among the hordes of automated emails, screened phone calls, and busy schedules your prospects are juggling. I personally know how challenging it is to try to get a response from an outreach email, even when you are sincerely trying to help.
One way you can really stand out is to use one-on-one video messaging. Everyone is using video calls and tools these days. A video message is essentially the same thing. It’s just a virtual message in place of what you would say to the prospect or customer if you were meeting them in their own office.
One-to-one videos are meant to be short, personal messages that you can send through email, social media, or a text message. And, good news: these videos don’t have to be highly produced or even scripted.
Looking to improve sales? Reps using personal videos are reporting a huge uptick in response rates:
40% higher open rate
37% higher clickthrough rate
3x reply rate
Image courtesy of https://www.saleshacker.com/
S&D Tip #5: Celebrate Milestones and Big Wins
Making an effort to celebrate your customer’s success is a great way to show you care and increase loyalty in return. Although attracting new customers is important, as mentioned above, retaining an existing client is much more cost effective in the long-run. Make it a priority to reward your long-time customers to show them just how important they are to your business.
It’s easy to share your own big wins… but what about your clients? What are their goals as a brand? How do they measure online success? By understanding what milestones are important to your clients you can benchmark, track and measure them. When you see a client has met a major goal, surprise them with a congratulations and a special offer or even gift or invitation to meet to celebrate in person!
Milestones don’t have to be just major company wins; they can also be life events. If a customer gets married, has a baby, runs a marathon, moves into a new house, sends a child off to college or has another major achievement in their life, this is the perfect time to connect and show that you care about more than just their business.
S&D Tip #6: Call for No Other Reason Than to Check-in
You never want to waste someone’s time. However, existing clients aren’t the same as leads in your pipeline. Paying customers appreciate hearing from their service provider from time-to-time, even if it’s just to “check-in” and see how they are doing.
However, when calling a client, it doesn’t hurt to also have some additional value to provide. Here are some ideas you can try to ensure you have something fresh to say:
Urgent or Breaking Industry News
An Updated Client Success Story
Ask Open-ended Questions
If you don’t have anything specific to call about, try asking open-ended questions. If you’re stuck, asking closed-ended questions (yes/no questions) is better than asking none. However, if you want to really understand what matters to your prospect or client, try starting with phrases like: “What’s your opinion on…”, “How do you think…”, “To what extent…”, “What led up to…”, etc.
By allowing your customers to form personalized answers to these open-ended questions you’ll get a much clearer picture on what is important to them and can use these insights to further surprise and delight them in the future.
Customer Loyalty Means Repeat Customers and Brand Advocates
Surprise and delight marketing strategies serve a two-fold purpose:
They create repeat customers
And, they create loyal fans
Everyone likes to feel special and that their dollars matter. Nothing says “I value you” better than when companies take the time to provide a personalized surprise for their customers. By giving just a little back, customers who already like your brand are incentivized to become on-going customers or repeat buyers.
Repeat buyers are, well, awesome! But loyal customers can help the business get even more visibility by also becoming an advocate for the brand. A brand advocate is someone who elevates the brand through word of mouth marketing. For example, they might leave a review on your Google My Business page, leave a positive comment on your social media, refer new customers and even generate and share content on your behalf…
Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.