5 ways to connect with your customers


handshakeApple, Starbucks, and Ferrari connect with their customers and create brand loyalty. Local businesses can, too.

Here are five ways you can connect with and increase the loyalty of your customers:

Get sticky

John Parker
John Parker

Customers are more likely to stick the more often they purchase from your store.

First-time shoppers have a 27 percent chance of returning, whereas fourth time shoppers have a 59 percent chance of returning, according to the social media marketing company SumAll. Offering a discount on second purchases can help your stickiness.

Reward programs and incentives can also help customers stick. Hotel chains, airlines and rental car companies do this all the time with points, point levels and rewards.

Airlines invite passengers with high-mile levels to board first. They get their egos stroked while the rest of us get our envy stoked and want more points, too. Either way, the airline builds stickiness.
Are you doing a rewards program on a local level? If so, email me at [email protected] so we can learn more and share ideas with others to help our business community.

Get choosy

Customers like choices. Starbucks offers many drink combinations. One estimate puts it at 87,000 choices. Starbucks knows that those choices give customers a satisfying sense of empowerment.

At the San Diego Airport last month I went to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car counter and noticed Alamo and National nearby. I had heard that they all belonged to Enterprise so I asked the agent about it. The representative admitted as much but quickly pointed out that each offered a particular style of service and that Enterprise was the most personable for customer service.

I imagine that same line works for Alamo and National customers, too. Choices matter.

I recently heard an ad about Ford and Chevy competing for a hundred years, but now a new force has entered into the race, GMC! I had to laugh because GMC and Chevy are both owned by, well, GMC! Again, choices are exciting.
What new choices are you offering?

Get catchy

Every time there is a change of pitchers in a San Francisco Giants game the announcers say, “When it’s time for a change, think, Speedy Oil Change and Auto Service.” It’s catchy. I just wrote that from memory!

Do you have a company logo, slogan or phrase that is catchy, clear, fresh and draws customers to you?

Get classy

Give your company more class by offering classes. How-to classes such as flower arranging, sports lessons, craft or other do-it-yourself demonstrations relevant to your business can be used to build rapport and community goodwill.

Bring in an expert to your store or sidewalk event. You will get to connect with customers. The expert may make some connections as well.
Online videos can also be helpful here. Create short demos showing how to use your product and services. Great information trumps fancy studio quality every time, so don’t let perfectionism hold you back. People want practical more than pretty. Help them learn and they will come back.

Get drippy

Our Valley farmers use drip irrigation systems because they are pinpointed, paced, penetrating and persistent. Let’s getting drippy about our products and services, too.

Pinpointing your target customer gets you precisely focused. The target may be smaller but the results greater. Can you precisely describe your customer demographics? Are you pinpointing your service toward them?

Pacing means spreading out your new product reveals and service specials. A new offering every month or two can be far more effective than six new things at once but  then nothing more for months. Updating items, promoting seasonal items and limited offers all are ways to bring fresh drips to your customers.

Penetrating with personalized emails, thank you cards and phone calls can go a long way to retain customers. Are you capturing your customer contact information and developing ways to go deeper with them?

Persistence is the final key to a great drip system. It is easy to lose your long-range systematic approach and get lost in day-to-day pressures. Email me for a free two page guide on how to stay persistent, resilient and focused.
Let’s get sticky, choosy, catchy, classy and drippy for success!
John Parker is the founder of Professional Development Adventures and an instructor for the UC Davis Center for Human Services. You can reach him at [email protected]



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