Going the Extra Mile Pays Off – “Impact a Life” Scholarship Essay

For those of you who are in business, “Impact a Life” scholarship essayist Lori J. Sweatt suggests a different twist on the use of raffle tickets as a marketing tactic. Thanks Lori, and good luck.

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There is nothing more appealing than a business, whether it be in the service or retail industry, that ‘goes the extra mile’. Keep in mind that happy customers become repeat customers. Happy customers will provide free advertisement because they will tell everyone they know about their experience. Customer loyalty can be accomplished in a variety of ways, such as valuing the customer, taking pride in the services and/or products offered, offering customer loyalty rewards, providing a safe and clean shopping environment, and having open lines of communication that are readily available.

One way to obtain customer loyalty is by valuing the customer. Greet the customer with a smiling face and positive attitude. Call customers by name. Incorporating a personal touch is essential. Be available to assist the customer, and ask if he/she needs assistance. Outstanding customer service is a must in obtaining customer loyalty. Send customers ‘thank you’ cards and discounts via postal mail or email. It is imperative that the employees convey to the customer that they care and take pride in their service and/or products.

A business may achieve a loyal customer by standing behind the products and/or services the business offers. Employees must be knowledgeable of the products and/or services provided. If a product and/or service does not stand up to the customer’s expectation, the customer will be less likely to make another purchase; however, if the business offers a replacement, money back, or in-store credit, then the customer will be more likely to return.

A third way to win customer loyalty is by offering customer loyalty incentives. Reward the customers for not taking their business elsewhere. Examples of loyalty incentives include punch cards for money spent in store or number of purchases made, entering the customer’s name into a raffle once a purchase is made, and offering complimentary services and/or products.
Having a safe, clean, and clutter-free environment may attain customer loyalty. Reduce the clutter in and around the business. Provide a safe and clean atmosphere in which the customer can shop. The customer will be less likely to return if the store appears to be unsafe, unclean, and/or cluttered.

Have a member of management readily available to the customer. If the lines of communication are easily accessible, the customer will be more likely to give feedback on his/her experience. It is common knowledge that customers will usually go out of their way to report a negative experience, but will typically not do so to report a positive experience. It is important for a business and its employees to hear what they are doing right, as well as what they are doing wrong.

Earning customer loyalty is not beyond arm’s reach. Remember, a little goes a long way. Valuing the customer, taking pride in the services and/or products being sold, offering customer loyalty incentives, providing a safe and clean environment, having open lines of communication, and taking feedback to heart are essential in having customers return again and again. Any effort one puts forth to make the customer happy is an improvement. Each effort one makes will increase customer loyalty. Customers are the most important assets a business has because without them, business will cease to exist.

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