We can talk all day about sales tactics, social media, and SEO. But as a small business owner, you know that the real key to customer satisfaction is love.
But, not the chocolate and hearts all over your notebook kind of love.
We’re talking about the kind of loyalty and devotion a happy customer feels toward their favorite locally owned business.
The relief they feel when they know they’ll get great customer service and a tailored experience at your store is the foundation of repeat business.
So, wouldn’t it be great if all of your customers fell in love with your small business?
If you want loyal customers you have to make the first move.
Start incorporating these ideas and tips to increase customer satisfaction, and encourage your shoppers to show you the love.
1. Teach Your Employees the Art of Friendliness
Encouraging your employees to give a more personalized experience to patrons will do wonders for your repeat business. Whether you run a coffee shop or a suit-tailoring business, customer experience is the number one factor in determining whether a person will return to buy your products again.
A friendly greeting and a simple ‘How’s your day?’ can make a customer feel more valued. Encourage your employees to engage with repeat customers and new ones alike, and always put helpfulness before anything else. And if your business is solely online, make sure your site is simple enough to navigate and make it clear that a customer can call or email if they have any issues.
2. Reward Repeat Customers
This is an easy one. Maybe your reward is a free item for every 10, like a coffee-shop punch card. Or maybe offer a 10% off coupon with every $50 purchase. Whatever you do, make it known that when a customer invests in your store, you will invest back in them.
Rewarding repeat business goes a long way toward customer satisfaction.
3. Support Local Charities
Giving support to local charities and non-profit organizations is simpler than you think. Because you are a business owner, your impact will be greater than an individual donor.
The best way to do this is to find a charity that speaks to your interests and let them know you’d love to work with them. Chances are, they’ll be thrilled to hear it.
If you have a physical store, offer the organization use of your premises to hold an event for donations.
If you’re online-only, let your customers know that on a certain day, a percentage of every purchase goes toward the charity.
The charity will love you, and the many people who also support that charity will love you too.
4. Give Farmer’s Markets a Try
Farmer’s markets constitute one of the few early-morning activities where everyone is actually in a good mood. They are also unique ecosystems of sellers and buyers, many of whom have known each other for a good while. So get in on these positive vibes and apply for a spot at your local market this year.
Selling at a market will allow you to court an entirely new set of buyers who will be more willing to have a leisurely chat about your products than your average customers.
You’ll get immediate feedback, and hopefully make a few sales, all for a very low personal investment. Also, you might be able to barter some of your products for farm-fresh vegetables.
5. Share Your Story
Don’t be afraid to get personal with your customers. After all, people want to buy from other people, not faceless organizations. Start by making sure your ‘About Us’ page on your website is updated with not just the products you sell, but your personal backstory, and what led you to open your small business.
This also extends to what you can post about on your Facebook fan page. Posting behind-the-scenes shots of you hard at work, or your employees getting your store ready for the day, will make you and your business feel more relatable to customers.
6. Make Yourself an Accessible Owner
The thing about small businesses is there aren’t a lot of layers between the customer and you. Even if you have employees and don’t need to be at your store all the time, make it a point to meet as many of your customers as you can.
Customers want to meet the person behind the products and will feel more confident about buying what you’re selling if they feel they know and trust the owner. Share your email on your company cards and website, and personally address as many customer inquiries as you have time for.
7. Get Seasonal
Shopping and the holidays go together like peanut butter and chocolate, so make sure your business reflects current trends no matter what holiday it is.
Getting seasonal doesn’t mean you have to change your product line. Rather, try offering a short-term offer to customers, or simply decorate your store for the holiday. Whatever it is, acknowledge the festive atmosphere, and maybe throw in a few fun seasonal contests along the way.
8. Invest In a Good Website
Do you get irritated when you can’t find what you’re looking for on a business’ website? So do your customers. It’s easy to forget — or ignore — that customer satisfaction encompasses many things, including websites.
But great websites don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming; a simple WordPress site will allow you to share all of your information with customers.
Make the website simple and clear with your address, hours, and contact information highly visible (and be sure to write an excellent ‘About Us’ page).
9. Offer Online Sales
The nature of selling has changed and everyone knows it. At this point, offering online purchasing is expected by your customers, and if you don’t offer it, they might just find a business that does.
Luckily for you, online sales are no longer the realm of giant corporations. Nowadays, options range from personal websites to online marketplaces when it comes to selling products. Look over the options to find out what’s right for you — your customers will thank you with a nice increase in sales!
10. Support Other Local Businesses
Being a savvy business owner doesn’t mean being a cutthroat shark. If all of the independent businesses in your area go under, it won’t do your business any good to be an island. Local businesses do better when they stick together, and you can show your support by giving local referrals and recommendations to your customers and friends.
If the driving force behind shopping local is love, then you’ve got this in the bag. Remind your customers that they aren’t just a number to you, and they’ll pay you back tenfold!