Loyal customers are those who feel seen, understood, and guided by their wellness providers. When they feel that a practitioner or coach is personally invested in their success, they feel equally invested in becoming a “follower” of the business and person providing that support.
This translates directly to your bottom line. Customer loyalty is invaluable to small business – customer acquisition cost will decrease significantly as a result of improved customer retention. Think of each regular client as an annuity – if you can count on their business monthly or weekly over the course of a year, there is a reliable stream of revenue to keep you up and running so you can continue to do your good work. While it may be a new way to think of your customers, there is no denying that there is a direct correlation between the ability to retain customers and overall profitability. So, what strategies can you employ today to help boost customer retention by getting to know your existing clientele in a deeper and more authentic way?
A direct approach can be best! Make it a best practice to solicit your clients for feedback after every session together. This can be a quick and simple exercise, made even easier by automating through tools such as Listen360 to immediately gauge which customers are active promoters of your business and which have ideas for improvement of your services. Keep your questions concise and simple, so that the client won’t blow it off. We like a format of 3 “ranking” questions (for example, on a scale of 1-5: How pleased with you with your session overall today? How likely are you to recommend our practice to a friend? How strongly do you feel we helped you achieve your health goals?) plus one open ended area for entering feedback and recommendation.
Reach out personally to those who have a less than ideal experience and offer them a reason to come back – maybe a 20% discount off their next service or another follow up that will better meet their needs. As you collect more feedback, you will start to see patterns in what is working for your community and what you may consider shifting in the future.
Tailor Your Offerings
A culture of frequent, open communication and the collecting of customer feedback data is important in best understanding your customers and your business, but it is equally essential that you take the next step and implement this feedback – in a manner that is true to the goals of your business – to better serve each individual customer and your community overall.
Perhaps a particular acupuncture client would prefer a more hands on approach – consider adding 10 minutes of cupping or acupressure to the end of their session. Or maybe a massage client is looking for more information about the holistic benefits of the therapy – ask them at the beginning of your time together whether they’d like you to explain your techniques throughout the massage.
Other clients may have a primary goal of relaxation and want to minimize communication during the service – that’s OK! Simply by asking and reacting, you are creating a personalized and custom experience that will be sure to meet the individual’s needs and keep your clients coming back time and time again because of the special treatment they receive at your practice. By satisfying a need, you are adding tangible value to this customer’s life, and there is no better way to gain loyalty than through adding value.
Another way to encourage a client’s emotional investment in your business is to find ways to work together in collaboration. One way to implement this approach is to include the customer in every stage, from beginning to end, of any new project or process you choose to implement.
Looking for some ideas to get started?
1. Strategically choose a group of customers, as many as reasonably possible, to attend a free group fitness class you intend to launch and provide live feedback
2. Create a focus group for user testing of a new product or service that has defined touchpoints for feedback over time – clearly specify what will be required from a time commitment, and keep the ask simple with real value exchanged to the client
3. Host a workshop with a guest speaker and a networking session that also includes a workout around some aspect of your business that you are trying to optimize – get valuable perspectives and build real connections all at once!
Getting your clients immersed in the creative process of your business is sure to establish a sense of “ownership” in the success of your venture, and will pay dividends for any “free service” these clients may benefit from as part of this collaboration.
Utilize Your Online Communities
Social Media is making it easier than ever to learn about those in our circles and communities. Be sure to understand that profiles and pages are always filtered through the lens through which someone wants to be perceived, but they can still be very valuable tools to learn more about your clients, their interests and priorities. Don’t be afraid to do your research and use the information that people are volunteering to their online communities to help get to know them better!
Generic social media sites are great (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram) as they are heavily utilized and easy to access, but finding the right client base can be much easier and more intuitive by networking through existing communities that align with your peer group and target clients directly. As a wellness professional, List Your Business to start collaborating and building your tribe!