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Reward your loyal customers

July 02, 2008
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One of the biggest mistakes that carwash owners and detailers make is forgetting to reward loyal customers. It’s important, especially during these tough economic times that we as small business owners show a genuine appreciation for those customers who stick with us through thick and thin. When you consider that it costs about five times more to find a new customer than it does to have a current customer come back to you again and again, then it only makes sense to offer loyalty incentives.

Here are some suggestions:

Frequent Purchase Program. In my opinion, the back of a business card is the most under-utilized piece of marketing real estate. Why not turn it into a frequent purchase card like the ones that are used at Subway and other fast food restaurants. Design it with 7 boxes, so that after 6 detailing services, the 7th one is free. You mark off a box each time they come back to you. This gives people a reason to stick with you instead of shopping around, and it keeps them from throwing away your business card.

Memberships. Membership programs always do well. Look at Sam’s Club. Only members can take part in those great discounts. Most programs provide special incentives to members as part of their membership. You can create a membership program in your detailing business that offers special discounts or some other premium service for yearly members.

Communities. People love to belong to organizations or groups. It’s just human nature. There are many companies who build their brands by organizing communities. I live in East Tennessee at the foot of the Great Smokey Mountains. There are camping and outdoor stores that start hiking communities to get people involved in the great outdoors. People love this sort of thing. I mentioned in my last article that with new social networking groups like, it’s easy for car detailers to build a community of car enthusiasts. If you detail motorcycles, why not start a community of bikers that get together one weekend a month.

Gifts. Why not show your appreciation for those loyal customers by sending them a box of gourmet cookies, or a restaurant gift certificate? I like to send cards and gift certificates every now and then to my frequent customers. It reminds them that I really do appreciate their business. Most companies I’ve ever done business with, have failed to even send a simple “thank you” card for spending my time and money; so if you really want to separate yourself from the competition, just let them know how much you appreciate them.

As consumers start tightening up their budget, you’ve got to work even harder at making them feel appreciated. Make them feel like they’re getting tremendous value out of their investment with you.
Jonathan Taylor is the owner of Strategic Marketing Solutions. You can reach Taylor at