Making customers feel special is crucial – and it's really not hard to do. Here are 10 actionable ways you can get customers' attention and show them that you care about their business.
1. Make them famous
Immortalize them in a scrapbook, through a drink or sandwich, or even through a drawing or song. Coffee by Design in Portland, Maine does this, as do several coffee shops in Austin, Texas. Customers will love being a part of the business. By putting the customer's name on something, even if it's only for a little while, customers can really feel like they've been noticed by your business, and that they are an important part of what you do.
2. Send a handwritten note
Send them a handwritten note, instead of a generic, printed one. Whether it's for a birthday, holiday, or just to thank them for being your customer, writing a note (instead of typing something up on the computer) can show customers you care about them. Most companies don't send thank you notes, and those that do generally print them on the computer, en masse. By writing something personal, you show customers that you're taking time and making effort to acknowledge that you find them valuable. That can go a long way toward making them feel special and keeping their loyalty.
3. Teach them something
Teach them how to make a craft, install an item in their home, or complete a maintenance or upgrade task. Your company doesn't have to just sell a product or service. It can also offer something educational. For example, if you have a shop that sells craft supplies, you can hold classes on how to make specific crafts. If you sell tile, hold classes that show customers how to install it themselves, the right way. Showing your customer how to do something for themselves can make them feel more confident, and they'll remember that your company took the time to teach them a new and valuable skill.
4. Create a Facebook group for VIP customers
What better way to get your customers talking about your business than giving them a place to do just that? They can share thoughts and ideas with one another, and you'll learn a lot about them that way. It could even help you see what changes you might want to make to your business, since you'll find out what customers like and don't like about what you have to offer.
5. Recognize your customers' achievements
Acknowledge your customers' achievements – both personal and professional – through social media, a bulletin board in your lobby, or a company newsletter. When you see your customer's name in the paper for something important, or he or she tells you about an achievement, make sure you acknowledge that. Doing those things says that you value your customers and want to see them succeed.
6. Put them in your social media spotlight
Every week, month, or at an interval of your choosing, pick a customer and “spotlight” him or her on you social networks (with the customer's permission, of course) as someone who is important to your business. Be sure to be specific about the customer and what he or she means to your business, as opposed to just saying something generic that could apply to anyone.
7.Sponsor a community event
You don't have to give something specific to each individual customer to show them that they matter. You can also do something big for all of them at once. By sponsoring a community event, you can attract your current customers as well as potential future customers, and can allow people to come check out what you do without feeling any pressure to buy. That's a great way to get people more involved in their community, and show them that they matter to you and to other local businesses in the area.
8. Give random upgrades and discounts without being asked
Whether your company offers products or services, you probably have different tiers with different price ranges. On a schedule you select, choose a random customer and give them an upgrade for free, or discount their bill by a small percentage. They'll remember it, and tell others. You may even see an increase in customers because they're hoping to “win” an upgrade or discount, too. It doesn't have to be a huge amount of money to have value to your customers.
9. Offer a homemade treat, like fresh-baked cookies
Not only is the smell of those baked goods enticing to customers, they will appreciate the small gesture and the time and effort it took for you to make something with your own hands, instead of buying a pre-packaged option at the store.
10. Throw a customer-only party
Everyone loves a party. A party or after-hours event is a great way to show your customers that they matter to you, and that you're choosing them to come and celebrate with you. The party can be for a special event happening at your business, or it can be designed specifically around customer appreciation. Either way can work well, as long as you make sure that the customers are the main focus of the festivities. You can even provide catered food and goodie bags, to give customers who come to your party a little something extra.
[Image via Shutterstock]