When times are tough, it is the little extra things that make a difference.
As a small business owner, are you doing anything extra to assist your customers who are feeling the pinch these days? If not, have you noticed a drop in business or even complaints from your customers?
Just as your business may be seeing some tough financial times, your customers are no different. They are looking for deals, loyalty programs, coupons and more to save some money here and there, so take the time to reward them. Not only will you likely keep their business, but they may refer some new clients to you.
According to a recent ACI Worldwide study of U.S. consumers, many of them felt under appreciated in the loyalty programs they were enrolled in, with an equal number saying they didn't fully understand the programs to begin with.
The study noted that three out of four Americans are members of at least one retail loyalty card program, yet 85 percent of the members claim they have not received any information about the loyalty program since the time they signed up. Meantime, 81 percent state they are not even aware of the benefits of the program, along with how or when they will obtain the rewards.
In order to make sure your business is not part of the percentage that is not providing customers with information or rewards, keep these items in mind:
- Be different -- One no-no is copying a competitor's program. Your customers want something that singles you out from the crowd, not something they can get anywhere else. While you want to research and see what the competition is doing, make your program unique, one that will have people talking and spreading the word;
- Be precise -- You hopefully have tons of customers; however they're not all alike. You're not going to want to reward someone who visits your business once a month the same as someone who buys from you once a week. While it is good to encourage the once a month shopper to buy more, the every week shopper should be rewarded for their loyalty;
- KISS -- Keep it Simple Stupid is there for a reason. How many times have you as a customer been confused over using a card or other identifying item at your local store or other place of business? Do I get bonus savings with the card? Do I get points by using my card? Keep the loyalty program easy to understand, therefore having more people wanting to participate;
- Keep it informative -- Whether you keep your customers updated via email, social media, flyers or standard newsletters, you want to update them regularly on what savings are available and what is required of them. Your updates should be clear and simple and updated regularly.
In closing, make your programs available, understandable and unique. If you follow those three keys, you should be rewarded with loyal customers who will help you through the tough times.
Photo credit: clearbrick.com