Long-lasting customer loyalty is established by addressing two key components: providing an enticing loyalty program to bring your customers back and dedication to improving your customers’ in-store experience for when they do. Implementing a engaging point-based loyalty program is easy enough. In fact, we can set one up for you in a matter of minutes. However, it’s the second component that often gets overlooked, but is usually the difference between whether or not a customer will choose you over your direct competitors. In a recent study by Harris Interactive, a leading market research firm, they found that 89% of customers take their business to a competitor following a negative customer experience. Additionally, with the popularization of social media and review sites like Yelp, negative experiences are much more likely to be broadcast to other potential customers, influencing whether or not they visit your store.
While these findings can seem daunting to many a small business owner, there are some very easy steps you can take to build positive relationships with your customers. If they truly feel valued every time they walk into your store, your customers will be much more inclined to cut you some slack if (or when) you have the occasional customer experience mishap.
In this blog post I’ll outline the fundamental aspects of delivering a great customer experience, while showing you how the FiveStars POS Relationship Manager empowers you and your employees to make every customer feel special.
Basic Elements of A Great Customer Experience
Provide A Great Product or Service:
It goes without saying that delivering high quality products and services is both essential to having a successful business and building strong customer loyalty. The best way to figure out if you’re delivering exceptional products/services is to ask your customers.
Asking for feedback is a great way to build relationships with your customers while showing them that you sincerely value their opinion. You should aim to evaluate customer sentiment towards your products/services on an ongoing basis. Luckily, there are a three very easy ways to figure out what your customers think of your business.
- Ask Them In Person – this happens all the time in most sit-down restaurants. After the guests receive their meal, the server will often ask, “Did everything taste ok?” This type of communication is expected in restaurants, but is rarely seen in other small businesses. How often does a barista ask if your drink is perfect? It only takes a few seconds to ask and if you’re the owner of a non-sit-down restaurant, your customers will notice the extra effort.
- Read Your Yelp Reviews – Love it or hate it, Yelp has made it easy for customers to write reviews of your business. Sure, there may be a few instances of customers writing horrible reviews under the protection of internet anonymity, but ignoring these negative and positive reviews is a big mistake. Chances are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers are looking at these reviews, and while you can’t delete or edit them, you can certainly respond to them. As a business owner, Yelp
allows you to comment on reviews. If a customer writes about a particularly bad experience, write them a message (maybe even offer them a discount to regain their loyalty), figure out what went wrong, and determine how you can improve in the future.
- FiveStars Feedback Tool – If you’re a current FiveStars client (or are thinking about becoming one :)) you’ll be happy to hear about a new feature we’re launching: the Customer Feedback Tool. With this tool, you’ll be able to set up a private method of acquiring feedback and it’s integrated with your loyalty program. For an extra point towards whatever reward you’re offering, customers are incentivized to text their feedback straight to you. This allows you to collect genuine feedback that isn’t posted for public review, know which customer it’s coming from, and reward them for taking the time to help you out.
At FiveStars, we strongly believe that if you treat every customer like a regular, they soon will be. Every business has a small group of regulars that you and most of your employees know. You know their names, if you haven’t seen them in a while, what they like to order, etc. It’s this human connection that strongly influences their decision to spend their money at your business. Fostering strong personal relationships with your customers not only leads them to be extremely loyal to your business, but it’s also your most effective way of bringing in new customers through word-of-mouth referrals. Imagine if you could build these types of relationships with all of your customers! Lucky for you, FiveStars is designed to be more than just a point-based loyalty program; it’s built with the intention of turning every transaction into a relationship. When a fully registered customer’s FiveStars card is scanned, you’ll have all the information you need to make them feel like a regular, no matter which employee is behind the counter. Now that’s powerful.
If you’d like more information about how FiveStars can help you deliver a better in-store experience and keep your customers engaged after the sale, please fill out the short form below: