Why Is It Important for Your Business to Make New Year’s Resolutions?

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Everyone makes resolutions at the start of a new year. Whether it’s to lose weight, eat healthier, finally get the garage cleaned and organized, or save up for that big vacation, goals are a huge part of the ritual people go through as they prepare for the 12 months to come.

What’s your resolution for 2014? And perhaps more fittingly, what’s your business‘s resolution for 2014?

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Holiday Surprise and Yuletide Delight: Ease Customers’ Stress with Rewards and Recognition

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That oft-quoted statistic about suicide rates spiking during the holiday season is actually a myth — seriously! I did my Snopes homework! — but if the honking car horns drowning out jingle bells and Black Friday fights breaking out at Walmart are any indication, it’s safe to say the holidays do inspire a little stress in American consumers.

So what’s a retailer to do to quell their shoppers’ holiday blues?

You could start by amping up your rewards program, for one. Throwing in a few bonuses for your most loyal customers can be a great way to help them de-stress during the holidays — and help them love you even more.

Here are a few ideas on how to surprise and delight your customers with Christmastime rewards and recognition.

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Three Ways to Thank Your Brand Advocates (Part 3)

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Brand advocates are your business’s best friends. They’re regular customers, and in addition to their patronage, they’re also incredibly vocal to others — friends, family and the general public — about how much they love your business. Whether online or in person, you can count on your brand advocates to champion your business and even be a knight in shining armor in the face of negative feedback from critics.

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Suprise and Delight: A Shock and Awe Campaign for Customer Loyalty

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delighted customerRemember this blog post http://blog.incentives.restaurant.com/customer-service-and-customer-loyalty-are-the-two-related/? I once wrote that customer loyalty is dependent NOT on delight but on the amount of effort a customer has to expend for their needs to be met.

That doesn’t mean delight doesn’t play a huge role in fostering customer loyalty. In fact, there’s proof in psychology!

I read a great blog post a while back on the website of Help Scout, a company designed to help businesses provide better customer support. It was written last July, but for reasons you will soon understand, I keep returning to it when I need customer service inspiration.

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Use Incentives to Get Your Customers to Spend Like It’s Christmas in July

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shutterstock_87693331 newI’ve written posts on the blog before about the summer slowdown. Warm weather and kids on vacation is a classic combination that leads to stagnant sales — and wistful shopkeepers’ glances out the window at wraparound lines at the ice cream parlor down the street.

I feel your pain! But the trick is never letting ‘em see you sweat. Combating the summer slowdown just takes a little out-of-the-box thinking.

Create Christmas in July by making summer an exciting time for your business. Here are three ideas for using incentives and other special offers to boost sales or upsell during an ordinarily slow summer.

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When Life Gives You Lemons: Sometimes Negative Feedback Isn’t Such a Bad Thing

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Customer ComplaintsYou know what they say: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

Actually, sometimes I get pretty tired of the things “they” say. The Lemonade Way of Life is a pretty Pollyanna view to take when running a business, especially when the lemons life has handed you come in the form of negative customer feedback. It can seem difficult to turn those negatives into a positive.

Good news: There are LOTS of other things to do with lemonade beyond grabbing your pitcher and sugar bowl. Lemons are great for cleaning up kitchen messes and removing odors. It can also cure a sore throat and even create natural blond hair highlights.

All that is to say: Dealing with negative feedback actually can be a boon to your business, if you handle it correctly. But handling these situations well takes grace and nuance, and there are a few things you should keep in mind first.

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Customer Service and Customer Loyalty: Are The Two Related?

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Customer ServiceIt’s common knowledge that it’s a lot more expensive to draw new customers to your business than it is to retain current customers…the old adage says six to seven times more expensive, actually. So it should be clear that customer loyalty is key to being profitable, particularly in today’s competitive business environment, regardless of your industry.

And while there are a lot of factors that contribute to building that loyal customer base — your products, your décor, your website design, a great loyalty program —  what role does customer service play in that equation? According to research: A BIG ONE!

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Your Current Customers Are Your Best Acquisition Tool

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While it’s tempting to focus all of your marketing efforts on acquiring new customers, research shows that there is far more opportunity in marketing to your existing customers. Check out the infographic below on the value of an existing customer for some stats!

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How to Find Your Brand Advocates (Part 1)

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It’s no longer enough to have customers that are loyal to your brand. Instead, you’ll need like-brand-advocates-part1customers that will advocate for your brand. In the digital space – through blogging, social media, review sites and message boards – brand advocates will inform non-users of your brand, encourage others to try it, and even defend your company against negative feedback.

So, how does one go about finding branding advocates? Here are five places to find brand advocates for your business!

1.  Loyalty Program Members

The first place to look for brand advocates is your loyalty program.  These customers are already committed to you and are likely to be those who use your product and services the most. Pay attention to these customers carefully and always listen for any feedback that they offer – they can easily become your brand’s greatest champions. They’ll not only tell others that your brand is great, they’ll tell them why. [Read More…]

Five Ways to Upsell Using Incentives

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While many marketers focus on customer acquisition, it’s often just as important to focusgearsinbulb on the customers you already have.  Taking your average sale from say, $75 to $100, can really add up over time.  How can you tactfully up-sell your customers while still being genuine and grateful?

We’ve put together five up-selling ideas for you, each one very different.  At the end of this post we’d love to hear about your up-selling challenges and which tactic you’d most likely try.

1. Offer a Free Gift with a Minimum Purchase

One of the simplest and most effective up-selling techniques is offering customers a free gift when they spend a certain amount at your business. Free gifts with purchase are common in retail stores around the holidays.  For example, Victoria’s Secret has been known to offer a free tote bag or purse when you spend $100.

If you’re thinking about trying out a free gift promotion, make sure that the cost of your free gift isn’t outweighing the benefits.  Often times retailers end up in a cash flow nightmare when they jump into promotions offering free shipping, half-off discounts or free merchandise. [Read More…]