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If you have made the decision to go into business for yourself; be it as a full-time blogger, as the proprietor of your own shop or pretty much anything else in between there’s one simple aspect of the business that can make or break your operation… Customer service. In the early days when so much of our time is spent simply learning to keep our heads above water in the fast-paced and frantic world of the modern small business proprietor, it can be all too tempting to relax our standards. But no sole proprietor or freelancer can risk alienating the customer and client base that will lift us up on their shoulders and help us to achieve our dream of financial independence.
Of course, in many ways, excellent customer service is its own reward. It helps make our days pass a little faster and makes the experience of working, even though the conditions may be tiring and punishing, a little more pleasant. But done right, it will reap significant dividends for your enterprise. In an era where competition is rife and equally accessible to your customers, you need every inch of inside track if you’re to keep them. Fortunately, retaining your customers isn’t rocket science, it’s merely a matter of good policy and consistency…
Most customers will be happy to communicate with you, especially if it’s to alert them to special offers and deals. That said, absolutely nobody enjoys being badgered. People are very choosy about how they like to receive their communication. Cold calling is almost always a bad idea since many people have extremely negative preconceptions of cold callers. Emails certainly have their place, but they’re very easily glossed over and forgotten about which is why so many businesses prefer the texting solution. Not only does this add a level of immediacy, it’s a little more personal and intimate than e-mail, which brings us to…
The only thing better than getting a good deal is getting a good deal that’s just for you. Lots of big brands spend a lot of their time and capital coming up with ways to build a sense of personalization and exclusivity into their special offers. Fortunately, living in the digital age means that there are also ways in which freelancers and smaller businesses to do this. Using special promotional codes for those who follow you on social media platforms, sending personalized offers out to customers via email and even hosting members-only events for loyal clientele can all help to add a prestigious kind of exclusivity to your business.
There are lots of ways in which businesses in the 21st century can build customer loyalty. Forget loyalty cards, though… Apps are where it’s at! Apps allow you to incentivize loyalty in creative and novel ways. The Starbucks app, for example, affords users a shiny gold star for every purchase which over time fills up a graphic of a coffee cup. When the cup is full, they get a free drink. Then there’s the Uber model, which allows users to get free rides when they introduce a new customer to the service. With a little creative flair delivering outstanding customer service can be both easy and fun!
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