Customer Service / Startup Life

Reward Your Best Customers

If you want to create loyal brand ambassadors you are going to have to reward your best customers or clients. This is not playing favoritism but instead cultivating solid relationships that help to grow your business. I know first hand how cupcakes in a jar can make your customers swoon and be giddy to support you.

Create A Customer Database

First and foremost you should have a customer database with all of their information in it – not just what your shopping cart stores. When I first launched, I created a simple excel sheet that I worked on weekly. It include their name, purchase, address, sizing and other factoids I learned about them. A majority of my customers I followed on social media. My database organized my sales, it went from top shopper to bottom. This made it easy for me to determine who was a VIP when it came to fiscal revenue in my business.

Loyalty Programs and Software

A plethora of shopping carts such as Magento, Highwire and Big Commerce have third party loyalty software you can integrate into your site. Every time a customer shops, they receive points that they can redeem for free shipping, discounts or prizes. You can actually set up what the reward is. This is a great option for a business owner who has that software option in their shopping cart platform. You can also look at Punch Tab to help your e-commerce site. In addition, if you are brick and mortar store front you can look into the loyalty program apps.

Simple & Meaningful Rewards

If you think creating an actual rewards program is going to take up a lot of your time, you can do simple things like upgrade shipping for one of your loyal customers. For example, say Amanda spends $300 a month in your store. Why not overnight her package for free? Giving her free shipping isn’t going to wow her, but next day shipping is. Remember you are trying to wow them. Do something really nice for someone and they will go tell everyone. Launching a new jewelry collection? Send it out to your top shoppers or social media buddies as a thanks. This will create buzz for the new line plus it rewards people who have helped get you there.

Guidelines & Rules

With my first company, I did not make a huge announcement with rewarding customers. I just did it as a way to say thanks, I still do it to this day. Send Starbucks or iTunes gift cards, a Kate Spade Mug or even cool journals. However, if you are going to announce this new program, you are going to want to create guidelines to adhere by. In addition to creating a page on your site that explains this, you do not want someone saying you are only rewarding your “internet friends”. Tell them how the program is built: if they want to be rewarded they need to meet the guidelines. Furthermore, if need be, hire an attorney to create the guidelines.

What are you thoughts on rewarding your best customer or client? Have you created a brand ambassador program for your business? How is it working for your company?

Photography image by Sonson; imaged sourced by Flickr Creative Commons

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