Big Dreams Canadian Publication
ISSN 1200-5460 - A Canadian Publication
Personal Development And Small Business Topics

Targeted Customer Appreciation

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ImageWe have a small but growing vacation rental business, and we are targeting our customer appreciation on best customers to make them into repeat customers.

Focus your customer appreciation on the type of customer you want to have the most of, and they come back more often. Develop a more intimate business relationship with your ideal customers and you can lock them in.


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Define Your Best Customer

First you have to define what makes a good customer for your business. This helps you focus on what you want, and can help with your marketing as well as customer appreciation. For us, it is something like this:

  • They enjoy their stay and tell us so

  • They don't argue about money or pay late

  • They leave the place in good, tidy condition

  • They don't abuse our hospitality, such as bringing in more people than they agreed to, or damaging things

  • They get along well with the neighbors

  • They are keen to come back

  • They are thinking about friends they can refer to us

Appreciation can be in the form of thank you notes and cards, showing that we were glad for their business and would like to see them again. Also we find ways to keep in touch with customers, to share news with them and in doing so remind them that we exist and are thinking about them. A company that does a good job of this is o2, a telecommunications business based in UK. o2 broadband subscribers get freebies and promos and monthly, with o2 customer care staff going out of their way to make sure customers are well taken care of.

Be Genuine

Don't go with some mass-produced blanket approach. That is more like trawling for fish, and most customers don't like to feel like one of many fish being dragged along. We keep note of all their names and what they liked, and we keep all their e-mails. It gives us a chance to personalize our communication with them. You have to be genuine or it will backfire on you.

Also, birds of a feather flock together. Your good customers that you appreciate will refer more good customers. And that provides an opportunity to appreciate them even more.

What You Focus On Expands

Folks like Wanye Dyer say that what you focus on expands. So if we spend our energy complaining about bad customers, or trying to define rules to make bad customers behave, then we end up with more bad customers. The energy is better spent appreciating the good customers, who will then come back in droves.

Responses

We don't get 100% response from our customers, but we take it as an indicator, like the tip of the iceberg. Only a fraction of customers will respond to thank you for your cards, but it gives an overall indication. What we are aiming for is something like a good friend, or a relative. When we see chatty e-mails, with enthusiasm for their next visit, we are on the right track.

Results

Our results speak for themselves. We are almost fully booked a year in advance, and we are planning the construction of more units.

Duncan

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