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10 Tricks Successful Businesses Use To Keep Customers Loyal

10 Tricks Successful Businesses Use To Keep Customers Loyal

So you want to run a successful business do you? While it definitely takes a lot of hard work to do that, you might be surprised by how simple the steps are in regards to reaching that goal. Indeed, at the foundation of every expanding business lies the customer. For your company to be the best it can be, it has to be run in a way that focuses on expanding the number of loyal, repeat customers that you have.

Don’t worry. Finding new customers and keeping them happy doesn’t require a huge monetary investment on your part. All it takes is a bit of care, consistency, creativity, and hard work.

Now, onto the specifics. What do successful businesses do to grow a loyal group of customers? Get out your pen and notepad because I’m going to lay it all out for you.

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1. They have standards.

Is anybody else here a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares? Well, whether you are or not, the show teaches us all a simple lesson about running a successful business: setting standards and expectations are a must. When employees know what to expect, and are given clear direction, the company runs more smoothly. And when the company runs more smoothly, the customer takes notice.

Of course, you can always leave room for improvisation, but you want the core values of your business to stay consistent. If you do that, customers will in turn reward you with consistent purchases.

2. They flaunt what they’ve got.

Okay, so perhaps it’s not so obvious as that. However, it is true that successful businesses are able to subtly inform potential customers exactly why they are great, and in turn why they should bring their business to this business. They don’t brag, but they aren’t too modest either. Take Apple or Samsung, for instance. Their smartphone commercials do a great job of revealing exactly how and why their product will improve their customer’s lives. This technique works in nearly every industry. You just need to figure out how to get your positive message out to your customers.

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3. They make use of data and analytics.

The use of “analytics” is a growing trend in business, with sports perhaps being the best example. Teams, like the NBA Houston Rockets, analyze hundreds of data points and collected statistics in order to improve their product. This, in turn, acquires more customers/fans. Of course, you don’t have to be a major sports team to make use of the same concepts. Keeping track of customer related data can be an easy and effective way to determine whether your satisfying their needs sufficiently. All it really takes is some basic mathematics and a few hours a day in Excel — so get cracking!

4. They communicate.

Most successful businesses have some method of communicating with their customers, whether it be through little surveys, employee interaction, or something else that’s more outside-of-the-box. It is most important that customers feel like they are heard, and that you are receptive to their ideas. One of the most successful businesses in the world, video-game company Blizzard Entertainment, is famous for this. They make a point of interacting with fans on a daily basis through online message boards, gathering data, conversing with them, and making note of their ideas. Take notice of your customers, and they will return the favor.

5. They stay on the cutting edge.

When you go to most successful restaurants these days, you’ll find that they don’t have wood paneling on the walls and disco balls attached to the ceilings any more. Smart businesses know that they have to keep up with their customer base, not only because their wants and needs are constantly evolving, but also because everyone gets bored of the same old thing after a while. Just look at McDonalds, as an example. Years ago we were just fine with their offerings. However, nowadays their burger lineup seems drab and disappointing compared to some other establishments. Whatever field your business is in, it’s best to stay abreast of what is hip and happening at any given moment, as that will help you retain and gain customers.

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6. They add incentives.

As a way to say “thank you,” many successful businesses have something akin to a loyalty program. Take Starbucks for example, where if you buy something on a daily basis, you will eventually have access to a bunch of perks (that include discounts and free drinks). You don’t want to bribe your customers, per se, but it’s always nice to give back a little bit. If you want your customers to be loyal to you, then you need to show some loyalty to them as well. A “thank you” can come in many forms as well — even a simple e-mail thanking a customer for their visit is a nice gesture, especially if you don’t have the resources to be giving out any freebies.

7.  They make their product both affordable and valuable.

In this day and age, running a business means catering to one of the fastest growing consumer bases — millennials. To capture that market, you’ll need to ensure that your product is reasonably priced and offers a lot to the customer. Sort of like Netflix, where you get so much for your $7.99 subscription that you almost feel like you’re ripping them off. Whatever your business is about, you’ll have to find that healthy balance where your customer feels like they are getting a lot, while all the while you’re still making a decent living. Not easy, but it’s one of the best ways to rapidly gain customers.

8. They use social media in a clever fashion.

Has anyone else followed Taco Bell’s Twitter account? The hilarious, sometimes self-deprecating nature of its tweets are great. Taco Bell does a perfect job of selling its product to its main customer base. Now, you don’t have to be as good as them, but you should try and acquire some kind of social media presence, especially if you want to touch base with the aforementioned millenials. Not only can social media be used as a way to advertise more cleverly, but you can also use it to communicate with your customers. It’s sort of like killing two birds with one stone!

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9. They have a smartphone app.

This section ties in to what I was talking about in regard to incentives above. With so many people tied to a smartphone or tablet these days, it’s crucial to get your business onto the iPhone App Store and Android’s Google Play. Through your app, you can offer loyalty rewards, and connect your customers to your social media accounts and other promotions. It’s the perfect way to tie several key aspects of the customer experience together!

10. They use gimmicks to build hype.

Can you say “McRib” with me? Or how about IHOP’s free pancake day? Or what about World of Warcraft’s yearly April Fools gags? All of these might seem to be superfluous things at first glance, but they all play a role in getting each of those companies extra business. There are certain things you can do to make your company stand out, whether it’s creating a satirical piece relating to the product you sell, or crafting a limited time product that is just crazy enough that people will feel a desperate inner need to go and buy it right then and there. Come on, we’ve all been there with the McRib. Don’t lie and tell me you haven’t.

Of course, you should keep the gimmicks to a minimum. All I am saying is that a few, well-timed, spaced out promotions like the ones laid out above just might give you more of a return on your investment than you initially bargained for.

Are you a business owner? What are some of the things you do to build brand loyalty and grow your customer base? Comment below!

Featured photo credit: Business School/University of Salford Press via flic.kr

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

The Key to Finding Job Satisfaction and Having a Successful Career

Regardless of whether you hold an entry-level administration role or regularly travel to the ends of the Earth as a hot-shot senior executive, you can still find yourself harboring an emptiness… a feeling that something is missing. A popular assumption that experiencing job satisfaction and a successful career should be underpinned by a well-rounded suite of tangible benefits, no longer holds true for many of us.

We’d never deny health care benefits, appropriate and fair remuneration, bonuses and travel perks in a job package. However, even if served to us on a silver platter, those features can only satiate us to a certain point.

You might wonder what governs entrepreneurs and start-up business owners to quit their lucrative jobs, essentially look the gift horse in the mouth and kiss such benefits goodbye! There can be an irresistible pull to mastermind a business with products and/or services that serve the greater good of community wider than that constituting their daily existence.

Even with research showing entrepreneurship to pose greater threats to their mental and physical health, this unique breed of individuals choose to go against the grain in chasing their dreams of being their own boss. Why? Why would anyone risk this type of career suicide?

Whether you’re an employee, have recently taken the leap to being a business owner or been in business for a while, the commonality is a congenital condition we all share as human beings; to feel a sense of purpose, value and contribution to our community. Despite it being harder to find this for ourselves in today’s world, these approaches will help you achieve ultimate satisfaction through the twists, turns and joyrides that are essential features of shaping a successful career.

1. Search for Opportunities That Feed Your Passion, Not Temporary Excitement

Even though well-intended, the ‘feel good now’ compass that career coaches and consultants often recommend you use to create career satisfaction can actually do you more harm than good. Excitement is transient. It doesn’t last. Passion is the compass you need.

Passion and excitement are two different things. The resounding career legacy that still draws you to turn up on the job regardless of the sunshine or storm that awaits you…that’s passion. It’s like a mental and/or emotional itch you can’t shrug off. Staying attuned to that calling will breed success for you sooner or later. Patience is key.

You’re also likely to have more than one key passion. Beware of getting caught in the notion you have to find your one true purpose. In fact, run immediately from any coach who tells you there is only one. There isn’t.

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Your passion is a journey that can take multiple forms so forget thinking there is the single dream job out there that will give you satisfaction in every way you can imagine. It simply doesn’t exist.

Consider embracing different roles and projects to help you fuel your passion or fuel your pursuits in finding it. Job satisfaction and your career success will be all the more sweeter from a wider range of enriching experiences.

2. Don’t Position Job and Career Satisfaction Assessments as Pivotal Guides to Your Success

Despite their popular use for vocational guidance, assessment tools such as Gallup’s Clifton Strengths and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator have come under fire[1] as being limited to the amount of true value and direction they can offer partakers.[2] These and many other guidance assessment tools (e.g. VIA Character Strengths , DISC ) are self-report questionnaires that don’t have normative population data against which to compare your results.

Simply remember these tools help you develop a stronger sense of what you identify as strengths and weaknesses within yourself, not in comparison with other people. They will still add insight around what sorts of career opportunities, tasks and projects are going to light your fire, what ones are going to extinguish it and what will prod and keep the coals steadily smoldering.

3. Be Clear on Your Personal Values, Ethics and Principles and Choose Relationships That Support You Honoring Them

Teamwork, collaboration, open communication and trust are commonplace for any flourishing work environment. However, whether or not your personal values can be honored in your work can make or break your job satisfaction.

How committed do you want to be to an organization that expects an average of 10 unpaid overtime hours every week under the guise of ‘reasonable overtime’? Are you willing to accept their construing this expectation as ‘strong commitment’ at the expense of your partner and children waiting at home for you? What are your boundaries concerning when you clock on to their time and when you clock off to yours?

Being very in tune with what your personal values, principles and ethics are will bid you well in the job satisfaction stakes. Spending time to reflect on experiences and working relationships you’ve had – the good, the bad and the ugly – will help you make well-informed searches and grounded decisions that will propel your career success.

Finding and nurturing relationships with associates and colleagues who share similar values doesn’t just make your day-to-day pursuits more enjoyable. You become fortunate to work with like-minded people who will support, understand and appreciate you like a second family.

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Being able to honor your personal values in your work means you will still be able to sleep at night when you have to tread where others fear to, and make extremely difficult decisions others would never ever dream of having to make as you forge success in your career.

4. Be Clear on Your Own Definition of What Having a Successful Career Means for You

It’s tempting to get caught up in the ideals and projections of success expressed by those we love, admire and respect. Underneath, we all want on some level to belong to a successful club of some sort.

With research reporting how much money we feel we need to be truly happy,[3] many of us try to subscribe to the notion that having the car of our dreams or taking a European holiday annually will not bring us happiness. The truth, however, for many of us is these tangible rewards are congratulatory reminders of our persistent efforts to chase our career pursuits.

If those are things you aspire to, don’t let anyone steal your desire and want to feel deserving of these things, that those are some parameters by which you define your career success.

Despite consistently being the top revenue earner for two years running, you may not wish to become the sales manager. You may not wish to step out into running your own business even though you consistently excel as an employee, delighting clients and repeatedly receiving glowing testimonials.

Your definition of career success might be enjoying the predictability of a regular workplace routine. You get to leave – without feeling guilty – at the same time each day, love the people you work with and get to spend a good, uninterrupted amount of work-stress free quality time with your family. That picture is also blissful job satisfaction and complete career success.

5. Identify the Sorts of Challenges and Problems You Want to Learn to Overcome

Standard advice you might receive from a career coach might be to look for opportunities where you get to capitalize on exercising your strengths and career-related activities you enjoy.

However, to become a success at anything involves improvement. To excel at anything often involves stepping outside boundaries and comfort zones where others wouldn’t. This means dedicating focus and attention to things you’re not so good at and things you don’t like.

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Here’s where working with a coach can be particularly helpful. Map out the experiences that were unsavory in your working history. Were there challenges you opted out of, projects you failed at or toxic relationships that blasted your sense of purpose and self-worth into oblivion? It’s within these experiences that you might just find the most valuable lessons and guiding lights for your trajectory to achieve greater job satisfaction.

If your natural leadership style is to be a collaborator, finding opportunities that require you to apply a more dictatorial style might be needed. Discussing a secondment or short-term project where you get to develop and test your skills can be a step further in earning contention to lead a larger project down the track.

With several of the company’s boldest personality types penciled to roll out the operation, you’ll not only develop skills that earn your right to throw your hat in the ring; those key players have an opportunity to see your competence. You can then work on building relationships with those stakeholders before you need to hit the ground running should you win the lead.

Greater job satisfaction comes with planning and choosing the lessons and opportunities you want to learn, not desperately flailing, floundering and hoping for the best.

6. Keep Reviewing Your Goal Posts and Be Amenable to Change

The word ‘career’ is indicative of a longer-term pathway of change, growth and development. The journey is dynamic.

You will accumulate new skills and let those you no longer need, become rusty. Your intrigue will be stimulated by new experiences, knowledge and people you meet. Your thinking will continue to expand, not shrink. As a result, your goalposts are likely to change.

A major part of enjoying a successful career is not just setting goals effectively, but regularly reviewing and readjusting them where necessary. However, moving the posts or the target still needs to take place by applying the same processes by which you originally created them. The strength of your emotional connection to those revised goals needs to be the same, if not stronger.

By asking yourself the following questions, you can assure your developmental and growth trajectory is still on course:

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  • Would working toward these goals still allow me to honor my personal values, principles and ethics at the same capacity if not greater?
  • Do the activities I need to undertake to meet these goals honor my highest priorities?
  • Does this feel right for me and those who are nearest and dearest to me?
  • Is this aligned with my passion?
  • Is chasing this goal a right step for me to take now or is this a detour or distraction which could delay my greater plan?

Each of your career goals should have different review periods. Whatever you do, stick to the review schedule you set. It will not only keep you focused but help you see your progress (or lack thereof) and allow you to timely re-chart your course before you get too far down the track. You don’t want to waste time haphazardly heading in the wrong direction.

7. Be Prepared to Let Go

It can be unfathomable to us as to why others risk leaping into the unknown when everything truly appears fine and dandy in the career realm. The company provided stability, recognition, financial success, interesting projects and the promise of a promotion…what was wrong? Why now jump sideways to run a café or train in another field altogether?

Nothing may have been wrong at all. It was all going right. It was just the end of a chapter. Perhaps the yearning for the next step is actually taking a different trajectory entirely. You may want to simply experience a different rhythm. Perhaps it’s time to pursue a different passion.

If you have leaped from employee-land to freelancing or have made the reverse-jump (or you know someone who has), you will have quickly grown a different appreciation for pros and cons each work lifestyle brings. Working for yourself can bring the greater realization of your creativity, whether or not it can be monetized to earn you a living.

When your customers are buying you or a product you designed and fashioned, there is a direct level of appreciation and gratitude that can elevate your confidence in the way you have never experienced as an employee, regardless of your rank.

Similarly, there are times where we need to recognize our business ventures were adventures, not long-term life-changing empires. There are times we need to recognize that time is what provides the clearest limitation of how long we persist for in such pursuits.

We have to recognize the absence of enough financial, mental, emotional and physical breadcrumbs that tells us we’re no longer meant to push in that direction. At least, not for the present time.

The Bottom Line

Above all, keep the momentum. As long as you remain committed to pursuing work opportunities that allow you to honor your highest priorities, the truth of who you are and what you stand for, achieving ultimate job satisfaction and a successful career will never be too far away.

More Resources to Help Advance Your Career

Featured photo credit: Csaba Balazs via unsplash.com

Reference

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