Business & Finance Small Business

Small Business Marketing Solution - Surprise Upgrades and Customer Respites

OK, your small business wants to outshine the competition.
Start by surprising your customers with some inexpensive but delightful surprises.
Customer Respite means creating either a physical space for the customer to relax, or at a minimum making the environment inside your store less rushed so they can mentally relax.
Surprise Upgrade is creating a pleasant and unexpected reward for your customer.
Classic rewards-driven marketing tells us that the primary way to upgrade or reward customers is to tie the upgrade to a purchase.
The simple but effective punch-card at the corner donut shop or coffee house is the most common means for small business to achieve this.
This is an effective and cheap way to build some customer loyalty.
But you can also upgrade customers randomly.
If done consistently, a high percentage of your good customers will experience these upgrades.
The overall impression of your business as a company that cares will increase both among the current customer base and the new customers who visit your shop.
The first thing to do is brainstorm a mix of both Customer Respite Areas and Surprise Upgrades.
Here are five examples from various businesses: Type of Business: Home-based Daycare.
Customer Respite Idea: Serve a cup of hot chocolate in a to-go cup once a week during the winter when parents pick up their kids.
Inexpensive, plus it's a very much welcome treat on a cold day.
Type of Business: Retail Maternity Store in a mall.
Customer Respite Idea: Once a week order cookies in the afternoon and hand out a couple to all moms-to-be that browse the store.
Type of Business: Convenience Store.
Surprise Upgrade Idea: Once a year, in the middle of winter, throw a "spring breeze" day where all gas purchases (not just the fill-ups, but all purchases) receive a free hanging car deodorizer.
Type of Business: Shoe Repair Store with sidewalk frontage.
Customer Respite Idea: Place one small wooden bench in front of store, close by the door--in the most shaded spot, if possible.
Type of Business: Dry Cleaners.
Surprise Upgrade Idea: Once a month just as a surprise pass out a coupon for one free dry-cleaning of a blouse or shirt.
Nothing fancy--and the customers don't have to do anything to "earn" the coupon.
Another idea for any business is to add some easy listening music playing in the background so that your customers relax while waiting in line.
OK, we came up with five ideas in about than twenty minutes.
Obviously, you know your business better than we ever will.
You should easily be able to come up with a half-dozen ideas of your own that will surprise and delight your customers.
Here's a great exercise: Create a Surprise Upgrade and Customer Respite "Idea Matrix".
Goal: Take 30 minutes and think up 7 ideas!!! Take a piece of paper, or use your computer to make a simple table.
You'll have four columns, labeled (from left to right):
  • Idea
  • Best Guess: Dollar Cost
  • Best Guess: Time Required
  • Target Implementation Date
Then underneath, draw seven lines...
and create those seven ideas.
After you're done you'll want to--you guessed it--discuss with your Bloom Team and then implement the best.
Remember: Brand (who you are) + Package (your Face to the Customer) + People (customers and employees) = Marketing Success.
© 2006 Marketing Hawks

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