On First Page Inc - Tulsa, OK
SEO Internet Marketing, Web Design, Social Media Marketing
PHONE: (918) 851-9548
How Do You Keep Customers Loving You?
Last weekend I dropped in to see my hairdresser and got my bangs trimmed. It only took 5 minutes for him to shape up the front bit for me in between appointments. And it only cost me a couple bucks for a tip.
Need a little trim around the front in between haircuts? Your hairdresser may help you out at no charge. How do you provide value to your customers?
It got me thinking about things businesses do to strengthen the customer relationship—in this case, giving something that doesn’t take a lot of resources yet is still immensely appreciated.
Another example: here in Gainesville, FL (the heart of Gator country–whoo hoo!) Publix supermarket employees walk your cart out and load your groceries into your trunk for you. I’ve also had free 5-minute hand massages at another hair salon, provided by the resident massage therapist…
But what about businesses operating primarily online?
For companies operating online, it may be more difficult to create that extra value-add that keeps customers loving you between transactions. But I’ll bet we can come up with some ways. I’m going to list a few examples I can think of. Then you can share how you do it at your company.
If you provide a service online, how about offering a special customized consultation the customer isn’t expecting? I talked last week about how you can give clients pointers on their local search listings even if that’s not a central component of your SEO program. This is a great way to help, since many business owners aren’t even aware of these listings.
If you’re a web development company, maybe you offer a consultation to help the client understand the reports generated by its web analytics package. These seem to confound clients to no end and often remain misunderstood. If your explanation helps them understand and then refine their online marketing, how great would that be? And yet it only took you an hour to look through the reports with the client and explain a few things.
Or maybe you do something as simple as updating the copyright date on all your clients’ websites every new year, before they even think to ask you.
If you’re a clothing retailer, what about letting the customers select his or her body type and then providing periodic recommendations for flattering outfits? I know of one eco-friendly online clothing retailer that helps customers recycle their clothing after it’s had its share of wear.
You could call out a member of your organization that has experience or talent in a relevant area via a special report to existing customers.
For example, if you’re selling vitamins and supplements and one of your staff members has a background in massage, ask that person to create a report that outlines the health benefits of specific types of massage. And then link to a way to find local practitioners. (Totally unexpected, and yet people who buy supplements probably care about other forms of natural healthcare. And now they know that you care about the things they care about.)
My hairdresser has identified a need for his customers in addition to the main service he provides. And he’s found a way to fill it and provide value above and beyond to keep himself in the favor of his customers.
This extra touch also gives him the opportunity to sell me products or tempt me into an add-on service like a blow dry and style or deep conditioning treatment.
I don’t mean to talk about my hair so much these days. But this was the first time I took Bradley up on his offer—and I’m so glad I did. I only see my hairdresser twice a year or so, since I have long hair that just doesn’t need a lot of attention. Usually in between trims, I chop around the front myself, to try to keep that part from growing out of control. (By the time I get around to seeing him again, I’ve completely mangled it and have a really weird blob of hair sticking out the front.)
But I’m thinking this free bangs trim deal is pretty neat–now that I’ve actually gone ahead and taken advantage of it.
I obviously needed it. So why did I wait so long?
A free bangs trim is pretty standard in the hair industry, especially for people like me who don’t need haircuts very often. Yet for some reason, I had never felt comfortable taking advantage of the free offer. I used to turn down the free Publix grocery service, too. But now that I get help every time, I don’t want to shop anywhere else.
My point? Make sure your offer is not only valuable to the customer, but also accessible. Given freely, no obligation, no expectations to upgrade.
Here are a few other pointers when thinking up ways of adding value to your customers:
Identify needs that complement the main service or product you provide.
Brainstorm possible ways to help customers that won’t require too much time or effort, but will still provide value. (Do you have experience or talent in another area that isn’t part of your service offering? Might some of your clients benefit from it?)
Choose one or two ideas and try them out. See what sort of reception it gets. If no one seems to care, it might not be the right choice. It has to mean something to at least one important subset of your customers.
Remember it should be relatively unexpected, a way you can go above and beyond the usual.
You might say it’s a way you let your passion for the work you do bleed a little bit beyond the defined lines of the service or products customers are paying you for…
How do YOU keep your customers loving you?