How to win customers and influence loyalty: Part IV of IV

By Donna Marrin

Here are the last of six tips that you can use to attract customer loyalty to your business:
clip_image0024. Speaking of free stuff—who doesn’t love free stuff? When you offer free stuff to your customers, your gesture immediately stirs feelings of goodwill and a sense of genuine appreciation for their patronage. What have you been doing to maximize your relationship with your customers, without receiving any monetary payment in return? Again this doesn’t have to be costly. How special do you feel when somebody remembers to mail you a card on your birthday? Your customers will also feel special when they open their mailboxes to find anniversary or birthday or any other celebratory card from you, every year, no strings attached.

Do you maintain a current database of email addresses? If so, use them to circulate useful bulletins filled with helpful tips or trivia—keep them simple, short, and interesting.

Send your best customers, and potential customers, small trial samples of new products or special coupon offers. Send out invitations to a “Customer Appreciation” afternoon, and supply refreshments. There are countless ways to thank your customers for their patronage without having to invest a fortune.

5. Never be afraid to try something a little different, or to take a small, calculated risk. Today’s technology has turned burning a CD or DVD into a simple, inexpensive process. Design a great looking presentation about your product or service and burn it onto disks that can be distributed to prospective customers. Add video clips of testimonials from your best customers. Package it creatively.

Decorate a company vehicle in crazy, eye-catching advertising and park it in a variety of high-traffic areas. When curious people approach to take a look, chat them up while handing out coupons or brochures that will inspire them to want to learn more about your business.

Never underestimate the power of fun. Hold a wacky contest for customers. A carpet company that offers a “Do you have the ugliest carpet in Toronto?” contest will attract attention. Entrants emailing their ugliest carpet photos are eligible to win a Grand Prize, perhaps a large discount on new carpeting with free installation. Upload all entries in your database and update these potential customers with contest results to keep your business top of mind.

clip_image004I’ll never forget reading about the owner of a gas station who trained his friendly old bandana-wearing golden retriever to retrieve payment and deliver change between the customers and the cash desk. People from all over the county admitted to driving out of the way just to buy gas from this particular station, as well as making trips to top up with gas even when it wasn’t necessary, just to be able to interact with this unique animal. Wouldn’t you know it—it’s the only gas station in that area that has never experienced a lull in traffic. Sheer genius. And it costs the owner nothing more than kibble.

6. Make it so easy and so convenient for your customers to use your products or services, they will view your business as a benefit that improves their quality of life. Be sure that any interaction between you and your customers will be the most pleasant of experiences in their already harried day. Make them feel that they will always be on the receiving end of your personal attention because they are genuinely special to you. Believe it or not, superior customer service is far more important to most people than saving a few bucks.

Give an example of the best customer service you have ever received.

Donna Marrin is a freelance Senior Writer/Editor specializing in corporate communications and advertising. She also founded and runs the Markham Village Writers. You can visit their website at

By Adam

February 24, 2010