According to customer service expert Shep Hyken, April is 'International Customer Loyalty Month'
Shep recommends that April is a great month for companies and their employees to make an extra push to create loyal customers.
So how do you create loyal customers?
One strategy you might like to try is what I call 'feel good marketing'.
This just means you do things that make people 'feel good' when they interact with your business.
Here are some examples to get you thinking:
I purchased a duvet for my bed from a shop that sold bedroom furniture and linen.
As I paid for it the sales lady who served me stopped and carefully passed me the duvet.
"This is one of the most popular duvet's we sell" she said.
"You will sleep like a baby with it. Thank you for your business".
This made a big impression on me as I was told I had made a good purchase and thanked for my business. I felt great about my purchase and valued as a customer.
I bought a new car from a car dealership many years ago and three weeks after my purchase I got a lovely letter in the mail.
The letter thanked me for my purchase and enclosed a double movie pass with the compliments of the car dealer. It was their way of saying 'thank you' for my business.
I was amazed at this unexpected gift.
I told hundreds of business people about my delightful experience and over the next five years purchased two more cars from this firm.
I was in Gates Eyewear in Newmarket recently to get some extra lens for a pair of cycling sunglasses.
I found what I was looking for and handed over my money.
The owner Jeremy Wong was serving me and said 'Graham you are a valued customer so there is no charge for these extra lens'. I felt very special because these lens had a retail value of $100 and I was given them at no charge.
In March 2012, I had a major accident on my bicycle after coming off at high speed down a hill. I broke a number of bones including 4 ribs, my collar bone, my shoulder blade and others. And I was off work for a number of weeks while I mended.
(Luckily I made a full recovery with no long term injuries.)
Before my cycling accident I had the opportunity to meet with Paul Vujnovich the owner of Harvey's Real Estate, Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland.
Paul runs one of the most successful residential real estate businesses in the country.
When he heard about my cycling accident he phoned me and said 'Graham what can I do to help you? Can I drive you anywhere, pick up anything for you? What do you need help with?'
I was shocked at this because I knew how busy Paul was and I was not someone he had known for a long time.
Despite this he went out of his way to be nice to me. (Which made me feel valued and special.)
I am convinced that this attitude of looking for ways to help people and be kind to them is a key factor in the amazing success of Paul's real estate business.
The common denominator in these examples is that I felt good when interacting with each business.
And as a result of feeling good in that interaction I've remembered each business positively for a long time afterwards. (And recommended them to many of the people I know as well.)
Feel good marketing might be worth considering as a strategy to create loyal customers in your business as well.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou
Look at how you interact with customers and potential customers in your business. Both before, during and after they buy from you.
What could you do to make people 'feel good' in some of these interactions?