You should not need a loyalty program to get customers to keep coming back to you for repeat business. Loyalty is something you must earn, writes Adrian Swinscoe in a CustomerThink article. Swinscoe says there steps to encourage customer loyalty that you can take to boost your sales.
3 Steps to Encourage Customer Loyalty
Let's say you are a hair stylist. You can offer all the discounts and perks you want to your clients in return for signing up for loyalty programs in an attempt to make them repeat customers. However, if your clients don’t like you, they are not going to keep coming back, no matter what your prices are or how many perks you try to sway them with. Swinscoe writes that, “So much of the difference between a good and a great experience comes down to how we feel about the people serving us.”
Are you engaging your clients in conversation that is not only relevant to each of them specifically, but that is also stimulating to them in a positive way? This can make all the difference in an extrovert's experience at your salon. Or, if one of your customers is introverted, they may be more comfortable with a visit without a lot of chit chat. Instead, you could just have a radio or TV on in the background for you both to listen to or watch instead of forcing this customer into conversation they don't want to have.
Pay attention to what makes your customers comfortable and happy and act on that. Do not just gab on about things that they are obviously are not interested in or make them speak when they don’t want to. These are necessary steps to encourage customer loyalty.
You’re human. You mess up from time to time. You may accidentally cut off too much of the customer’s hair or miss a section of hair while you’re coloring it that the customer doesn’t notice until later. When these things happen, you take responsibility for them. Don’t make excuses or, worse, try to put the blame on the customer in some way. The steps to encourage customer loyalty are apologizing and making things right. That’s where the third of the steps to encourage customer loyalty can help you out…
Offer to fix your work for free if you mess up and/or offer a discount for the next time they come in, promising to get them more involved with the styling process to make sure their hair turns out exactly how they want it. And don’t just be generous when you mess up. While you’re helping the customer, you may notice other things that you can help with (for a hair stylist, that may be frizz or hair that’s been repeatedly damaged by a straightener). Ask the customer about these potential issues and then educate them or offer solutions. Point out some products you have that may help and offer them a small free sample for them to try out to see the results for themselves. Going above and beyond for customers when you don’t need to is one of the best steps to encourage customer loyalty.