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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Top Way to Increase Customer Loyalty in a Down Economy

In hard times, people doing more for each other is human nature. We all know people who have been unemployed for a year more in our personal lives, but what about your customers? Has a customer been unable to pay your fee in recent months? If so, did you consider giving your service or product for free?

There is no marketing strategy that exists today that will give you the same customer loyalty as a simple act of kindness. Give a customer a freebie here or there and you have a loyal customer.

I recently learned that a good friend of mine who has been unemployed for 1.5 years and is very sick with no health insurance. He did not want to visit a doctor in fear of racking up yet another stack of bills he can't pay. He called his long time doctor and who asked him  to come in for an office visit and that she was not worried about insurance but rather my friend's health.

My friend was examined by his doctor and was found to need a number of medications. The doctor gave him enough free samples for the prescribed dose and advised him to get the cheapest probiotic at the pharmacy. As the doctor was leaving the examination room, my friend asked how much the bill would be for the visit. Cringing for price, the doctor simply responded,"There is no charge for today. Feel better."

Doctor's can charge between $75 -$250 a visit. The word of mouth that will follow this doctor's act of kindness cannot be accurately quantified, but I believe it is worth years more of paid visits from my friend and anyone else he knows. He told me about his experience and many others. If the doctor excuses the office visit fee for 10 people per month .. it would cost $2500 based on the highest estimated office visit fee. That is not a lot of money to invest in your business without actually writing a check to someone else for your advertising. If you can simply giveaway your time or existing product to a needy patient, why not?

Excusing a small service fee or giving away product that can help your existing customers continue to do business with you will go further than any advertisement you can write a check for.

Figure out how many freebies you can offer to struggling customers and let acts of kindness create a trail of loyalty and referrals that with give you a return on your investments way beyond the economic downturn.

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