“The customer is always right.” The phrase was first coined over a hundred years ago by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department stores, and his philosophy that customer relationships are key to business success is now taken for granted in most industries. Great customer service makes customers feel that they are a special part of your ‘family’ and gives them a priceless reason to keep coming back. Smart businesses know it is much less expensive to retain current customers than it is to find new ones.
But good customer relations aren’t just about retaining current customers. New customers can also be attracted by making them feel understood and cared for. Customised services or products that meet the specific needs of the customer are one example of customer relationship marketing, vouchers are another. The simple voucher can create a high motivational effect for consumers. Traditionally vouchers were passed directly from the company to the customer, but technology is transforming the way businesses can use vouchers too. Now vouchers can be transferred electronically by smartphones and online marketplaces like Vouchercodes UK and Voucherbox UK give savvy consumers access to a much wider range of opportunities.
Vouchers can be a key part of your customer relationship conversation. Here are 5 ways you can use them:
1. An extra incentive
Vouchers can provide an incentive for the consumer to make a purchase. If they feel that they are getting a discounted price they will be more likely to purchase it than they would if it was full price. Time-limited vouchers increase the urgency.
2. To spread the word
Vouchers can be a powerful viral, or word-of-mouth, marketing device. Consumers can spread the word to their friends that there are vouchers available for a product they know they’re interested in. Ambassador or affiliate schemes for current customers let them share the value of that new introduction.
3. To say ‘Thank you’
Vouchers can also be provided as a special bonus or ‘gift’ for being a committed customer. For example, the now ubiquitous stamp card where you get a free cup of coffee or hair-cut after 5 or so visits.
4. To show you are ‘sorry’
When a customer is unsatisfied with their experience giving them a voucher for a free or discounted product or service may help to ‘calm’ the situation. Being seen to make amends quickly can reduce the potential for bad recommendations.
5. Hello and welcome!
Providing a voucher for new customers is a great way to get customers in the door. And if you really want to make customers feel special you could send them a celebration voucher on a key anniversary or birthday.
So what do you want to say to your customers? Vouchers can be a great way of helping you to get that message across.
Image: voucher love via Shutterstock.