Rural tourism businesses aren’t the only ones who spend buckets of money and untold hours trying to attract new customers while taking their loyal customers for granted.
Think about it.
How much time in the last several weeks of planning your 2010 marketing have you thought about those special people who book trips with you almost every year. Those ones who always stay in the same room in your lodging. Who have a favorite table in your restaurant. Who shop at your store every time they are in town.
It’s human nature to be striving for new and more.
But studies have shown that the MORE as in more profits can come from your loyal customers at lower costs to you. It costs 5 to 7 times more to attract a new customer than it takes to keep a loyal one.
What should you do to keep your loyal customers happy and returning?
First of all, KNOW your loyal customers and make sure you have the information you need to communicate with them. Capture and keep their contact information either from guest books or registration forms, or even a verbal request.
Treat those loyal customers you’ve grown to depend on like VIP’s.
Show your appreciation with special consideration. I have a favorite restaurant that I frequent every chance I get. They will often bring a special appetizer or dessert for my husband and me to sample. We would go there regardless of this special consideration. It just shows us we are valued. With money tight, we’ll cut out other extras to continue to be able to go to dinner there.
Loyal customers don’t necessarily need big discounts to continue to come back, but think about ways you can honor their loyalty.
Keep track of your loyal customers needs and interests. I was impressed by the care a gift shop owner is Revelstoke, BC, Canada gave to the needs and wishes of her loyal customers. She keeps track of their favorite collectible lines, buying at shows with them in mind, and even calling them when a new item arrives in her store.
If you don’t hear from a loyal customer for a while, make an extra effort to contact them – for this, a personal mailed note is best.
Turn satisfied customers into loyal customers.
Assume that everyone who frequents your business is a potential loyal customer and capture their contact information on their first visit.
When someone has frequented your business or used your service, they’ve taken the first step to becoming a loyal customer. After their visit, convey your thanks.
Here’s a cool feature of most email programs these days – autoresponders. You can set up an autoresponder system that will set into motion a series of emails your customer will receive after you enter them into your system (with their permission, of course). The first can thank them for their business, and a second at an interval you set, can contain an offer or coupon they can redeem at their next visit.
After the second successful visit, you’ve probably transformed them from being a satisfied customer into a loyal customer.
What are you doing to build and retain your own list of loyal customers?