Dave Cavanaugh found Thumbtack planning his wedding, then used it to build his business as a wedding officiant. How? Dave left the tech industry to follow his heart and marry his dream woman in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The move coincided with the opening of gay marriage in Idaho and he saw an opportunity for officiants like himself who were willing to provide same-sex ceremonies to couples. Here’s how he differentiates himself from competitors.
What do you suggest for people just getting started?
Flesh out your profile as much as possible by explaining who you are and what you do. Upload photos. Get certified with the Better Business Bureau. Do everything you can to differentiate yourself from other vendors.Get people to fill out reviews.
How can people expand their business on Thumbtack?
Work for the credentials that set you apart, like Top Pro on Thumbtack. I was also rated the #2 wedding officiant in Spokane , which I have listed on my profile and use on my business cards and website.
How do you think about setting your business apart?
Understan d your competition. Who else is bidding wedding officiant jobs in the Spokane area? Who is the number one person and the number three person? Who is serving Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington? I’m relatively new to the area and profession, but as I learn, I get an idea of who the others are and see what they’re doing.
Any guidance for other wedding officiants on Thumbtack?
Make sure you’re following up and treating it as a relationship, not simply a job. Raise the quality and expectation of the entire profession. Unfortunately, I hear a lot about experiences where wedding officiants are no-shows. Even if you’re unable to make the job, communicate with the client. Be professional.
What are your other marketing tools?
In our town, the courthouse wedding recorder has a list of people who perform ceremonies. I got on that list. Surprisingly, I have one of the few functional websites of the people on the list, so I end up getting jobs from there. Word of mouth referrals also bring me jobs.
How much does networking matter to your business?
Surprisingly, those people you think are your competitors are actually your allies. I’ve gotten a lot of referrals from one of the largest providers in Spokane because you can’t be everywhere at once. I’m also part of a professional association here in North Idaho and another in Spokane. Locally, there’s a printed Wedding Resource Guide that I’m in for the next edition. My next step is expanding via social media and connecting with wedding planners.
Do you have a favorite work story?
I was an officiant for an older couple, probably in the 60s, who found love later in life. They wanted something simple and were holding the ceremony in tandem with her father’s birthday. Her father was in his 80s. It was an intimate family affair. After the ceremony, the woman invited me to stay, celebrate, and become part of this beautiful family affair. We connected on a much richer level than just on a client basis.
I always do a follow up after the event, to let clients know their paperwork has been sent in, etc. When I did so, the bride said she wanted me to come back and do a renewal for them each year at their house in Spokane. It was such a special connection that was more than I ever expected.
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With over 97 percent of her clients coming through Thumbtack, personal trainer Meghan Aro knows how to win jobs on Thumbtack. Here’s what the Los Angeles-based industry veteran has learned about building an empire from scratch.
1. Learn from the customers you don’t get.
When I have a customer choose to not continue working with me, I always reach out to ask them why. Then I make sure I’m answering more job requests to fill their spot. Filling my schedule usually happens within a month.
2. Help people see your worth (hint: use your profile).
The most important piece of advice I can give is make your profile look professional. Take the time to answer questions, upload photos, and give insight on your business and what makes you different. Make sure all of your customers leave reviews. Don’t undersell yourself. People won’t always pick the cheapest quote. Help people see your worth.
3. Be mobile. Use your phone to stay on top of things.
Always. I’m rarely on my computer when answering quotes. Thumbtack mobile app allows me to be anywhere and get work quickly. I live in Los Angeles so job requests in areas like Santa Monica, Venice, and Beverly Hills go quickly. You want to be ready to respond, the moment a customer gets back to you.
4. Advice for fellow personal trainers.
There are a lot of personal trainers on Thumbtack, especially if you’re living in a major city like Los Angeles. Be professional, and don’t undersell your services. Offer discounted packages that incentivize people to commit to a certain amount of sessions with you. It also helps to give them an idea of what type of fitness you specialize in, i.e. body building, yoga, corrective exercise, pre/post natal, high-intensity training, etc. It helps clients to know your areas of focus. People want to feel like they’re coming to a specialist.
5. Other business tools to use.
I hand out business cards, I’m on social media (mostly Instagram), and I’ll sometimes run Facebook ads. Thumbtack has saved me a lot of money from running online advertisements, so I don’t do them often.
Got some great tips of your own? Share them in the Pro Forum .
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Finding new customers is a challenge, especially when you’re a small team or working with a limited budget. But it’s also one of the most important things any business owner has to do. After all, without customers, it’s just you and your tools — all dressed up with nowhere to go. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the case. Here’s what other small business pros are doing to connect with the clients their business needs.
Do some thinking — who is your ideal client?
Narrow your focus to figure out exactly which demographics your service appeal to (whether that’s based on age, gender, income, interests). The more specific you get, the better you’ll be able to tailor your products or services to meet their needs. It also helps you create appropriate messaging and get it in front of customers who will respond.
Don’t be shy. Ask for referrals.
People tend to trust the opinions of their friends and acquaintances more than any other source — even in this internet age. A referral is powerful. It’s an independent assessment from someone who paid for your products or services, which, for most people, holds a lot of weight.
In general, happy people want to help others and happy customers want to see a small business succeed. If you have a client who is pleased with your work, one of the easiest things you can do is ask them leave a review or testimonial on whichever site makes the most sense for your business. It’s not a direct referral, but studies have shown most people trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations from friends. Just think of an online review as one more version of “word of mouth.”
Taper your marketing plan to meet your customers where they are — literally.
You’ve taken the time to identify your target market, which means you should have a good idea about where they spend their time both online and off. Now all you need to do is join them there. Figure out which social media sites they use, which blogs they read, and who they follow online. If you’re not sure, ask your current customers.
Every business is going to connect with customers on social differently, but a couple of popular options are running targeted ads, creating valuable content, advertising offers and giveaways, and engaging influencers who can become brand advocates. The key is to figure out a way to stay engaged, but not have it take up too much of your time. If you don’t understand how to create and maintain a social presence, consider hiring someone who does.
And while over 80 percent of the U.S. population has a social networking profile, people do hang out offline as well — and nothing beats an in-person connection. Use a site like Meetup.com to find groups with interests that align with those of your business and start going to events. Don’t go to the events to market yourself or to hand out your business card though. Go to make real connections, learn more about what people want, and hopefully figure out how your product or service would benefit them. After a while, it will only be natural to talk about your business, and then you can take it from from there.
Create a beautiful website (or update your existing one).
If you’re not on the internet, a lot of people who want to give you business are never going to find you. Your website should be beautiful, useful, and optimized for search engines. If you aren’t sure how to do this on your own, hire someone who does.
Team up. Partner with another business.
Find a business that complements yours to create a promotional strategy that benefits both of you. You can do this by becoming co-sponsors of a charitable cause, promoting each other in newsletters or on social media, or by offering specials that incentivize customers to shop both of your services.
Get involved in your community.
Find meaningful ways to help out in your community. Whether it’s volunteering, sponsoring a team, or offering your services for an auction, there are tons of ways to make a positive impact while also getting your business name out there. It’s a great way to connect with people on a meaningful level and building goodwill with the public, including potential customers.
Network. Network. Network.
Take every opportunity you can to meet and build relationships with people who can help you grow your business. That might be at trade shows, the chamber of commerce, conferences, or a number of other outlets. Start by checking out what’s going on in your local business groups and build from there.
Follow up with the customers you have.
If you want to turn new contacts into connections or customers, you have to keep the conversation going. Reach out via email within a day or two of meeting them, remind them of your conversation, and then, in order to get them to respond, either ask a specific question or provide something of interest. It’s easy to drift apart. But if you don’t, you may very well gain a new, loyal customer.
What are your tips for finding new customers? Share in the comments.
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Michelle Maves is a professionally trained musician and teacher based in New York City. She and her husband run a tag-team tutoring program that includes music, SAT test prep and more. Here’s how she built her music school — and why she loves the work she does.
I started teaching while I was in college in Chicago. I was a performing arts major and there was a school nearby where I taught voice and piano. I moved to Los Angeles with my husband who was in film school and continued teaching lessons on the side. When we moved to New York my business expanded really fast. When I couldn’t take on more students I turned to my husband (who moonlighted as a test prep tutor) and said: “Why don’t we start a real business?”
Teaching is both of our full-time jobs now. We backed off of other jobs as we got more and more customers, and hired two other instructors to help with overflow. Things grew really organically from there.
We create really strong lessons that are individual to each student — and we can really only do that now, because we have so many wonderful teachers to pull from. We have as many as fifteen teachers on staff when the school year is in swing.
Hiring has been a lesson for us. We have to make sure that our teachers are great musicians and can connect with the students. They have to be professional, reliable, engaging and good at what they do. We hire instructors for both tutoring and music, and even though they are very different disciplines, what we’re looking for is very much the same.
We all have a story. Tell yours in the Pro Forum and share your comments below.
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When people are upset about something, they often go online to vent. As a small business owner, the damage that just a few bad online reviews can do to your business can take years of hard work to fix. The good news is that providing excellent customer service isn’t difficult. Here are seven common customer service mistakes and how to avoid them.
Not training your employees. Even the best customer service doesn’t matter if your employees aren’t following suit. Before you hire anyone, make sure they’re committed to providing exceptional customer service and then train them to understand exactly what that is for your business. This applies to every single employee on your books, even if you think they’ll never interact with a customer. Your company’s philosophy and best practices should be a major part of what holds your team together.
Arguing with your customer. It’s not that “the customer is always right.” It’s that the customer should always feel like they’re right. You might feel like you won the argument, but you’ll lose the customer and, very likely, end up with a negative review — which is no good. Instead of fighting, let the customer get the complaint out of their system. Don’t interrupt. Show them that you hear them by being empathetic. And then, while paying attention to your tone of voice, tell them you’re sorry, and present them with solutions.
Not listening to what your customer wants. Don’t assume you understand what a customer wants or can predict what’s going to come out of their mouth. Listen carefully. Document what they’re saying. This should start with the very first conversation you have until the job is over.
Being too rigid with your policies. If a customer’s expectations aren’t being met, the best thing you can do for your business is figure out what needs to change or be improved upon. If that means occasionally giving a refund even though you have a “no refunds” policy, or not charging a cancellation fee for a regular client who forgot to let you know they were going out of town, then go with it. If a customer feels like they’re being heard and taken care of, the chance of retaining them is much higher, and that’s often worth losing a little money in the short term.
Not honoring your commitments. A broken promise is a breach of trust and few people will choose to return to a business they don’t find trustworthy. If you aren’t sure you can deliver something the customer wants, explain why, and then be understanding if they look elsewhere. If you have to break a commitment because of something that is out of your hand, like a late delivery or an illness, explain the situation, apologize, and do everything you can to make it right as soon as possible.
Being hard to reach. Your client should not have to wait too long for you to return a call or email. At best, a lengthy response time will cost you a potential client. At worst, it will infuriate a current client who may be inclined to share that fury online. If for some reason it’s going to take longer than it should to get back to clients, set expectations by letting them know ahead of time.
Not knowing when to say sorry. Mistakes happen. People get stuck in traffic and show up late. Remodeling materials arrive broken. Food gets overcooked. The key is to acknowledge the mistake as soon as possible, apologize, and let the client know how you are going to fix it. Even if the mistake is not your fault, acknowledge it, apologize, and offer a solution. Most people are reasonable. They’ll understand. And as long as you don’t deny or try to hide the mistake, they won’t hold it against you.
What are your best customer loyalty tips? Share in the comments!
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Siblings Paige and Dwight Rounds always dreamed of owning their own business. So when Paige’s contract at a tech firm ended and Dwight completed his service in the U.S. Air Force, the duo made the leap and moved home to Kansas, where they opened MaidPro Wichita . A year later, the family-owned business has grown from a team of three to ten, and their roster of clients is expanding every day. Here’s what Paige told us about building a strong business.
1. Remember that your business can make a difference in other people’s lives.
I love being able to employ a team of such incredible women. The work is hard, but we’ve been lucky. Six of the eight team members we hired in the last year are still with us, which is pretty rare in this industry.
2. Refining your Thumbtack profile.
I’ve been really happy with the changes and improvements that I see being made to Thumbtack all the time, based on pros’ feedback. For example, when I set up my profile so Thumbtack sends quotes for me, I was having hard time differentiating between first-time cleaning jobs and recurring cleaning jobs. (First-time cleanings take longer so we charge more.) Recently Thumbtack found a way to make it clear to customers that those prices are different.
3. The benefits of a broad budget.
I leave my budget wide open so we never miss an opportunity. We’re spending less on Thumbtack these days because the customers we do talk to have the intent to hire us, and they’re the only ones we’re paying for.
4. Use the calendar to book intro calls with customers.
People use the calendar to book more than just cleanings. A lot of the time, they’re just booking a 10-minute phone chat. If someone does book us through the calendar, I always want to schedule a follow-up phone call. We use arrival windows rather than exact times and we want to make sure customers who book us know that ahead of time.
Got a few great tips of your own? Share them in the Pro Forum and comment below.
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Reviews are the number one factor for customers deciding who to hire on Thumbtack.
Here’s how to build up your reviews, according to insights from real customers, Top Pros, and Thumbtack data.
Start with reviews from past clients.
You’re allowed (and encouraged!) to include reviews from up to 10 non-Thumbtack customers on your profile when you’re getting started. The more you get, the better. According to our data, pros are more than 60 percent more likely to hear from a customer if they have more than five reviews on their Thumbtack profile — and five times more likely to win the job in the end.
How should you ask? Here’s a sample email from a photographer when she first joined Thumbtack:
It’s been a while, but I still show off photos from your job more than any others in my portfolio. My customers are constantly inspired by your story and the results we accomplished. I just signed up on Thumbtack to find more excellent customers like you, and reviews are a big part of my profile. Can you take a moment to write a couple sentences about working with me? I’d love if my future customers could hear about your experience firsthand. You won’t need to sign up for anything, just go to this link: [Anja’s custom review link].
Thanks, and don’t be a stranger!
To learn more about unverified reviews on Thumbtack, and how to ask for them, visit the review page on Thumbtack’s Help Center .
Follow up after every project.
Customers are looking for more than just good reviews — they’re looking for pros that are reviewed regularly and recently. “If a pro is both well-reviewed and highly-reviewed you know that person will be competent,” explains customer Kara B.
Here’s an example of how one pro follows up with his customers. See how the message is casual, friendly and brief.
It’s me again, hope you’re great as ever! I know you’re busy, but could you write me a quick review at this link: [Jonas’ custom review link]? It only has to be a sentence or two, and I know my new clients will love hearing your story.
Thanks so much!
Remember, timing matters.
Once you’ve marked a project as ‘In progress’ or ‘Done, ’ Thumbtack messages your customer to confirm that you’ve been hired and asks them to write you a review.
Exactly when you send your message to a customer will vary depending on what you do. While wedding pros wait weeks after a job to ask for reviews (at the very least, the length of a honeymoon), other pros like plumbers or house cleaners generally ask right away—while their service is still top of mind.
If your customer is having trouble finding your page or leaving you a review, you can also share this helpful article from Thumbtack’s Help Center to help guide them through the process.
Address bad reviews head on.
If you get a bad review, we recommend you respond to it directly on your profile, as well as personally over email. Here’s one example of how to do it:
I’m so sorry I was running late for our appointment. No excuses, we shouldn’t have inconvenienced you. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention. It’s valuable feedback and I’m working on adjusting my estimates. I’d love to work with you to make the situation better! Your business means a lot to us.
Got some great tips of your own? Share them in the Pro Forum and comment below.
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If your small business isn’t taking advantage of social media, you’re missing out on one of the simplest and least inexpensive ways to reach new customers. A social media presence adds to your business credibility, helps foster brand loyalty, and lets you hone in on your target audience.
Whether you’re new to social media marketing or a seasoned vet, here are a few pointers to help you stand out online.
What you should do. Here are 7 tips to help you build your social media following.
Do #1: Start slow.
Figure out which social media platform your target audience uses most and focus your attention there. Commit to using the platform regularly in a way that makes sense for your brand. Once you’ve mastered that platform, look into other places where your audience is hanging out and start accounts there — but only, if you’ll have the time to maintain them. Stale social media profiles are not a good look for your business.
Do #2: Create a strategy for how and where you post.
Set realistic goals for what you want to achieve, figure out how you’re going to measure them, and create a plan that will get you there. Keep track of metrics, like conversions, likes, and shares, and use them to figure out what’s working and what’s not so you can adjust your strategy accordingly. Keep in mind that every social media site serves a different purpose, so your strategy for Instagram and LinkedIn should not be the same.
Do #3: Keep your voice consistent.
Develop your brand’s voice and try to use it consistently when you’re publishing content and engaging with customers. To help, use the same logo, color scheme and imagery on all of your social media accounts so your business is easily recognizable.
Do #4: Actively engage with your followers.
The best way to gain followers and create loyal customers is to regularly contribute to the platforms you’re on. This doesn’t just mean pushing out content, it also includes liking, sharing, and commenting.
Do #5: Link your social media platforms on your website.
Make it easy for people to find you wherever you are by adding social media buttons to your business website. And vice-versa, be sure to also include your website address in all of your social media profiles.
Do #6: Share other people’s content.
If someone posts something you think is relevant to your audience, share it. It’s a great way to keep your stream fresh and to put yourself on the radar of other people in your field. Just make sure you always give them credit.
Do #7: Respond to the good and the bad
If someone complains about your business or leaves a negative review, try to respond to that person as quickly as possible a way to show them you’re listening and possibly remedy the situation. Likewise, if someone asks you a question or mentions you in a conversation, be sure to reply. If you don’t respond at all, it will seem like you don’t care.
What you should not do. Here are 7 ways not to use social media and common mistakes to avoid.
Don’t #1: Mix business and personal.
Your business accounts should be completely separate from your personal accounts. Just assume your personal posts are not of interest to people who are following your business and double check that you’re posting to the correct account.
Don’t #2: Use the same password for all of your accounts.
You should use a different password for all of your social media platforms because if someone is able to hack into one account, they’ll be able to hack into them all. If you know you’ll be useless, use a password manager program that stores all of your passwords for you and only requires you to use one very strong password to access them.
Don’t #3: Forget to proofread your posts.
Before you push your content out to the public, make sure your message is clear and accurate, there are no grammatical or spelling errors, and all of the links work. Go through that checklist every time you post no matter what.
Don’t #4: Follow everyone who follows you.
Don’t follow thousands of people in the hopes that they’ll follow you back. That will only devalue your social media presence. Instead, follow accounts that are either related to your industry or produce content you’d like to share, as well as brands you think fit your target audience.
Don’t #5: Overpost.
If you share too much too often, there’s a good chance people will hit the “unfollow” button. In general, it’s a good idea to not post more than three times a day to Twitter, two times a day to Facebook and Instagram, and five times a day to Pinterest.
Don’t #6: Only post things that are self-promotional.
Keep in mind that the things you post should have value to your followers. It might be a news story that relates to your industry, a tip or trick, or even something that just makes them laugh. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind: 80 percent of your content should be of interest to your followers, 20 percent self-promotion.
Don’t #7: Be impatient.
Growing a social media following takes time and effort, so be patient. Don’t quit if you don’t gain thousands of followers overnight. Use the tools you have, like inviting friends to like your Facebook page, adding social handles to your marketing materials, or even paying for a campaign that will drive likes and engagement.
What social media tools do you use? Share yours in the Trending Topics and comment below.
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Starting and managing a small business is expensive. Odds are you’re on a tight schedule and an even tighter budget. Luckily there are a lot of resources, websites and apps that can help you run your small business more efficiently.
Here are 14 to start with.
1. The Small Business Administration . You probably know that the SBA can help your small business get a loan, but it can do a lot more than just that. The SBA has resources for your small business in every step of your development, as well as training and information about things like how to write a business plan, the legal requirements for your business, how to use social media, and more. You can get help over the internet or in person and it won’t cost you a dime.
2. SCORE . SCORE is a resource partner of the SBA that helps entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and educational resources. There are over 10,000 volunteer mentors, as well as live and recorded webinars, interactive online courses, and local workshops from industry leaders and mentors.
3. Bplans.com . Writing a business plan isn’t exactly easy, but this free resource can help. Bplans has the largest collection of free sample business plans online, as well as tools and guides on pitching, funding, launching, managing and more.
4. Google My Business . You want your business to show up when people are searching for the services you provide. Google My Business ensures your business will show up in Google Search and Maps. It also allows you to update information about your business (like the hours and phone number), add photos, respond to reviews and answers frequently asked questions.
5. YP. Most people don’t bother keeping a bulky phone book in the house anymore, but according to the Yellow Pages site, nearly 60 million people visit yp.com every month, so it’s a good idea to list your business there.
6. WordPress. Every small business needs a website so that customers think your business is legitimate, are able to find you on the web and can go to one place to get all of the information they need about who you are, what you offer, and how they can get in touch with you. Building a website may seem daunting, but with WordPress it’s pretty easy. Plus, it’s free.
7. Google Analytics . Once you have a website, you’ll want to know how it’s performing and this digital analytics software gives you that insight. You can see how many people are visiting your site, where they’re coming from, their engagement, and demographics. You can also track your conversion rate and see how much revenue is attributed to the different pages on your site.
8. MailChimp . It’s vital for your business’ success that you are able to communicate effectively with your customers, and one of the easiest ways to do that is with an email marketing campaign. MailChimp has hundreds of templates so you can just drag and drop your content. It’s free for up to 2,000 contacts and 12,000 emails per month. After that it’s around $10 a month for unlimited contacts and emails.
9. Grammarly . If you’re going to send out emails, you want to make sure they’re mistake-free. Grammarly will do that for you by detecting grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in your writing.
10. SurveyMonkey. Getting feedback from your customers is one of the best ways to figure out what’s working, what’s not, and what needs to change, but if you don’t ask for feedback, you’ll never get it. You can learn a lot from running a simple survey and SurveyMonkey lets you do that for free via email and social media. If you’re not sure what to ask or how to ask it, you can even choose from questions written by experts.
11. Hootsuite. This social media management tool helps you track and manage your social network channels, monitor what people are saying about your business, measure conversions, and more. Though you’ll have to pay if you’re managing a ton of social profiles, you can get a free account for three profiles and 30 scheduled messages.
12. Expensify . It can be hard to keep up with your small business expenses, but this expense tracker makes it a lot easier by automating every step of the process. It allows you to track expenses, miles traveled and time spent on a job, create custom reports, and so much more. It even compiles information like merchant, date, and price just from a photo of your receipt. If you want all of the features, you’ll have to shell out $5 or $9 per user per month, but you can get 10 SmartScans, unlimited receipt storage, and email and chat support for one person for free.
13. Wave . Over three million small businesses use this free financial software to manage their books. It tracks your income and expenses, creates and sends professional invoices, and accepts credit card and bank payments online. It also helps with your payroll and taxes. And it’s completely free.
14. Evernote . As your small business grows, you’re going to find lots of inspiration and come up with lots of new ideas. And you’re going to want to make sure you write them down. This note-taking app organizes your notes (which can have links, checklists, tables, attachments and audio) by “notebooks” which can be synced across devices. It also lets you clip web pages and collaborate with others. The basic version does almost everything you could ever need, and is totally free.
What apps do you use? Start a thread telling us about your favorite tool or share it in the comments.
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It’s no secret. Finding new customers is more expensive than keeping the ones you’ve got. Loyal customers come back again and again, provide (free) word-of-mouth marketing, and most importantly, refer you to their friends. Building customer loyalty should be a strategy for every small business — but how? Here’s where to start:
1. Be authentic. Small businesses can afford to be more personable, and customers want to deal with a pro who can talk the talk and walk the walk. Be genuine, treat customers the way you would want to be treated, and don’t be afraid to share something personal if and when the moment calls for it.
2. Share your story. Take advantage of outlets like your website and social media. Tell people why it is you do what you do, why it’s so important to you, what motivates you, how you want to make their lives better, and why you’re the right person to deliver what they want. Make it personal and have fun with it!
3. Communicate. (Period). The biggest key to clear communication is active listening. Be genuinely interested in what the customer has to say and make sure to really hear and understand what they want. Once you’re working with a customer, be responsive. If they reach out, get back to them as soon as possible. Keep the lines of communication open. Be proactive about sharing information they will need or want.
4. Show your appreciation in small ways. If someone reaches out on social media, reply in a timely manner. Feature customers compliments or successes on your website and social media. Surprise clients with an unexpected discount for no reason at all. Send cards on birthday and holidays. Always say thank you.
5. Fix any mistakes. It’s okay if you make a mistake. Everyone does. The important thing is to immediately acknowledge it, sincerely apologize, and do everything in your power to make things right. Customers understand that things happen, and if you admit your blunder and make it right, it can actually build their trust.
6. Acknowledge all feedback — good and bad. Be aware of all of the channels where customers can leave your feedback, check them often, and reply to all of it, good or bad, as soon as possible. Getting a glowing review feels great, so it’s second nature to say “thank you,” and tell the customer you hope to work with them soon. If you get a less-than-glowing review, let the customer know that you saw the comment, apologize, and then do what you can to make them happy.
7. Over-deliver. The best way to make a customer happy is to deliver more than you promised. If you know you can do the job in two days, tell them it will take three, or add in a little something extra. Customers love a happy surprise and over-delivering is always a happy surprise.
8. Provide loyalty incentives. Reward customers for their loyalty with an incentive that makes sense for your business. Perhaps they get the 11 th service/treatment/lesson free, or receive a discount for referrals.
9. Don’t forget to say thank you. Don’t slack off on customer service just because you’ve already landed a client or they’re all paid up and the job is over. Call to see how everything is going, ask if there’s anything else you can do, and always let them know how important their business is to you.
10. Have integrity. None of this matters at all if you don’t run your business with integrity, because without integrity there can be no trust, and without trust there will be no loyalty. Be honest. Be transparent. Be reliable. Keep your word. The rest will follow.
What are your best customer loyalty tips? Tell us in Trending Topics or share your comments below.
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