Many businesses of all sizes are working on new “loyalty programs”.Hotels are offering a free night after so many paid nights. Using a store credit card can give you a discount. Restaurants give double stamps on their free meal card several times a week. Credit cards are giving points to be used for travel, purchases, meals, etc. In today’s economic climate it appears that buying customer loyalty is critical in order to maintain sales. I am sure that you will see a wide variety of new incentives aimed at customers to get them back into their stores.
As competition increases the current business mentality says that more incentives and lower prices are the answer to growth. The sad part is that the buying public expects incentives and lower prices and forget two other important factors; quality and customer care.
As small business owners we may not be able to offer discounts and “incentives” but we can offer quality and an honest caring attitude towards our customer. In the long run, I believe that these two factors, will be the winners.
We have a marketing challenge, that is, the education of the general public.We can’t “sit on our hands” and hope that everyone will realize that discount prices and incentives may not be the best “deal” for them. As an example, high end, botique hotels are very epensive, but somehow that run some of the highest occupancy rates in the hotel business. They offer no discounts or incetives, they just pamper their guests, provide a quality service and express a true concern for the well being of their guests.
If necessary re-invent your business! Improve the quality of your products or services and implement a “customer care” program.
Spend some time defining a customer care program as it pertains to your business. If you have any employees, make sure that they understand the new program and that they have to implement the process as part of their job requirement.
The word will spread and your long term growth and survival is on a more solid foundation that those that are buying their customers.
Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test.
Have a great day!