Every year, since 1896, our little town celebrates May Days, except for 2020 and 2021. Last year, it was back.
It’s your quintessential small-town fair. The amusement rides set up in the park, every local organization puts a float in the parade, the food vendors fire up their hot oil, the kids lose their marbles for the impossible to win carnival games.
It’s my golden opportunity to find a hand dipped corn dog and stroll around saying hi to everyone I know.
I was amazed by the turn out. It was a beautiful spring day, and we arrived just as the parade ended, which means we were there at peak capacity.
The crowd was much larger than it has been in the past, and it was way more diverse. The diversity spoke to the fact that people had driven to get here. Our town is off the beaten path, we’re not a “hot spot”. Just a sleepy farming/fishing bedroom community. Many families had packed up the car, loaded up the kids and found us on the map and took the time to get here because they were looking for something unique and different than their “usual”.
People don’t wake up in the morning thinking about how they can support your business!
No one was there because they wanted to support our little town, they were there because we were offering something exciting.
Create reasons for people to come to you for something, anything, out of the ordinary. They are looking for an excuse. And it doesn’t need to be big. Making a visit to your establishment memorable and something different than all the other options available, can overcome your sales slumps.
People remember different – they crave real connection especially when it includes experiencing something meaningful with other like-minded people.
Making a visit to your business a memorable one engages each customer in an inherently personal way and creates a memory of that experience, which encourages repeat visits. A truly memorable experience is about getting your customers to want to spend time with you.
People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Relationship marketing is all about building those connections and creating memorable customer experiences. When you take the time to get to know your customers and give them something than appeals to them, they will be more likely to return more frequently and recommend your business to others. The result is more transactions, more spending per transaction and more revenue. Suddenly, logic is no longer the deciding factor in a purchases, emotion is.
Why Customer Experience Matters
Memorable experiences are important for your customers because they help to create a connection with your business and improve customer loyalty. Relationship marketing is all about building connections with your customers and creating relationships that are beneficial for both sides. Great customer experiences are one of the best ways to do this, because they help to create a lasting impression that will make customers more likely to return in the future.
To give yourself a competitive advantage, you need to differentiate yourself from the crowd by going through the extra effort of offering the human touch during every transaction your customers have with your business.
There are a few aspects to consider to make sure your customers have a positive experience with your business.
- First, focus on creating an emotional connection with them. This can be done by providing excellent customer service and making sure they feel valued and appreciated. Find a way to know who your best customers are, by name, and ensure all your staff can recognize them. This can easily be done with elite loyalty program status, or on redeemed marketing campaigns that note their importance.
- Second, focus on creating physical connections by using sensory elements such as sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Consider all the ways your customers experience your business and improve anything that might have a negative impact. Dirty bathrooms, sticky floors, loud music, bad smells, overflowing garbage – it all impacts the customer experience.
- Finally, focus on creating social connections by encouraging customers to interact with each other and with you. Use a Rewards Program, regular email communication, add video content, use all your social media platforms.
Rosetta data shows that engaged and satisfied customers buy 50% more often, spend 200% more each year and are 5X more likely to display brand loyalty than those who are not.
People want something more than just a transaction, something more than a quality product or service- they want to know they have value to you, as much as you have value to them. They want connection.
How can you provide a memorable customer experience?
- Surprise and Delight customers – Your bar can’t just be “good customer service” – look for ways to add to the customer experience that is unexpected, something that makes it easier or faster, something that makes their visit unique, that they can’t get anywhere else.
- Aim for creating pleasurable emotions – Friendships are built on trust, and the same goes for the relationship between customers. Humor and laughter are great emotions to create connection as are nostalgia, curiosity, accomplishment, safety, well-being and belonging.
- Hire employees for the soft skills – Your team is the face of your business with their customer interactions. When you are hiring, look for the intangible skills that create connection between people: awareness, empathy, emotional intelligence, emotional control, problem solving, communication skills and social awareness.
- Train your team well and give them agency (and parameters) to solve problems on the spot or provide something that goes the extra mile and surprises and delights without needing permission.
- Anticipate customer needs – hone your ability to put yourself in your customers’ shoes, know who they are, their unique needs and what they need that goes beyond your core product and services.
- Listen to customer feedback – provide a way for them to feel safe enough to give you constructive, honest feedback that isn’t published publicly. Let them know you are paying attention by telling them how you’ve improved because of their feedback.
Deal with negative reviews and mistakes respectfully and effectively – this is a great opportunity to go above and beyond to win over a disappointed customer.
- Focus your marketing on building a relationship – retain the customers that already know and like you – this is where the money is. It costs relatively little to get a happy customer to return again and again, so use your marketing to focus on building a relationship and rewarding them for their customer loyalty.
- Under promise and over deliver – it’s an old phrase but a useful one. You aren’t JUST providing meals, or repairing cars, or selling product. You are solving problems, providing nourishment, safety, confidence – exceeding customers’ expectations makes all the difference.
Your Bucket Is Leaking Without A Unique Experience
Your marketing effort and dollars are wasted if you are continually pouring new customers into your business, only to have them have a bad experience, or worse yet, a mediocre one, where they just fade away.
If it’s not a memorable experience, people aren’t going to tell other people, they aren’t going to return, and they may not even remember your business. It certainly won’t create customer loyalty. They get poured into your customer bucket, only to flow out of the leaky holes, lost forever due to lack interest.
Spend the time and effort to create a memorable experience for every person that comes into your business, otherwise you are only a commodity that they can get from any other business that provides the came product or service.
The marketing we create for our clients at Royalty Rewards® is focused on building that connection. We’ve created successful Christmas in July promotions for Royalty Rewards® merchants, which is a bit silly yet super effective. Put up a tree, hang the stocking, give away candy canes. Make it fun. We’ve created a Father’s Day Campaign that gives away duct tape. Our Scratch Promotions always get high returns because people love the intrigue.
Your personal Coach will get to know your business and has plenty of suggestions for how to surprise and delight your customers. We will also help with getting honest feedback from them and growing your positive online reviews. If you’re looking for a way to increase your sales and profits and stand out from your competition with focused, proven marketing that works, book a call with a Program Director below.