How To: Reward Your Customers



Rewarding customersRewarding customers is critical in business because it makes the buying experience more personal. It also strengthens the customer-company relationship, making people feel included and valued. Exactly how to do it still puzzles some enterprises, however. If you’re stumped on what to do, these options might work for you.

Discounts

Discounts appeal to customers’ intuitive desire to spend less and get more. Probably one of the most common options in this category is to try discount codes. When your customer makes a purchase, they receive a code that they can use to “unlock” a reward. The reward is usually a certain amount off a future purchase.

Another tried and true discount option is to offer a reduced rate or other special gift only on special days. The benefit of doing this is you can control customer flow through your site or store, getting more people to buy when things normally are a little slower.

Many businesses have had luck offering discounts at off times. For example, you might offer an amazing sale on Christmas items in July instead of November or December. The rationale is that offering at an unusual moment automatically gets some competitors out of the way, making you more noticeable to customers. This option doesn’t appeal to all customers but often works for early birds.

Discounts are something to use cautiously. As Dan Kennedy and Jason Maars of Entrepreneur discuss, they might overly focus customers on your prices. They also can reduce the effectiveness of whatever you’re selling.

Free Stuff

Getting something extra makes the customer feel like they’re getting a better deal, even if they paid full price for their main purchase. One option is to give items away for any purchase during a certain time. You also can give away specific items as a way to promote a certain brand, especially if it’s a new item. Businesses also have turned to both traditional punch cards and their tech-savvy versions. With these, customers work toward a discount or reward. For instance, you might give your customer a free coffee after he buys five. Some businesses use the punch card idea with points, which customers can redeem for discounts, while others use collectibles like stickers to encourage customers to repeat shop. Waiving a fee (for example, shipping) works, too, especially if you are more service oriented.

Upgrades

Randomly upgrade customer accounts so they receive more discounts, free items or other perks and services at no additional charge. This technique isn’t exclusive to businesses that offer memberships. For instance, a massage therapist might upgrade a session from half an hour to an hour.

Referral System

Without new customers, your company won’t grow. No business should be without a referral system in place. Offer customers who refer discounts, coupons or free items for each person they refer. You also can provide the referred customers with an introductory perk as a thank you for trying your services or products.

Inclusions

Content creation competitions help customers feel included and committed to your company. Here, you might have a contest for people to design an ad or a new logo. You also can highlight an option for them to submit their own ideas to you, let them vote on something, get them to participate in your events and include them in beta testing. Letting customers try items for free and get exclusive previews are additional choices.

Personal Contacts

Sometimes the biggest thing you can do for a customer is just say thanks. You might leave a handwritten note for this or just give them a call. With social media now king, you also can give customers 15 minutes of fame, thanking them by name on your website, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

Note: This post is a guest post from a member of our DMR Insider Community.

Image credit: Bill Mill via flickr