Dear Tech Ali,
I need some relationship advice. Customer relationships, that is! How do I build loyalty with my regulars without spending a fortune? I need some creative ideas.
Great question! Maintaining customer relationships is essential, but it’s hard to stand out when everyone is on Facebook, blogging and offering loyalty cards and repeat business coupons. Here are three fresh and exciting business apps that will help you show your customers some love.
1. Perka. This is a smartphone version of a punch card, the future of loyalty programs for small businesses. It works like this: Your customers download the app on their smartphones (iPhone or Android). When they walk into your shop, they launch the app. Perka communicates with an iPad in your store that contains customer purchase history. With Perka, you can easily offer special deals to loyal customers—buy 10 coffees and get one for free. The system is easy to use and you don’t have to worry about keeping punch cards around.
2. WiseStamp.Tthis tool grafts your most recent social media post or photo into your email signature. Because email is a huge part of our daily communication, it’s a “set it and forget it” way to keep content fresh and offer new and cool information or products to your customers. For example, you could take photos of new merchandise each day and posting the photo on Flickr or Instagram. WiseStamp will put the most recent photo in your email signature, making every email a personalized, helpful sales opportunity. Real estate and insurance professionals (anyone in consulting or services, really) can have a signature showcasing their most recent blog article; it automatically includes the title, so every email helps you to grow your reputation as an expert.
3. Instagram. This app integrates the best of what people want—a photo feed customized to their lifestyle without status updates about other people’s cats. Instagram is more than a sales tool, it’s a window into your business’s backstory and personality. Like the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and the less noisy marketing, the better. Best of all, it’s quick and it’s free!
There are other business apps and websites to help you build relationships with customers in 2014. Mobile is king and will help you boost your business. Check out http://www.slideshare.net/BendBroadband for a complete list of my favorite apps. Next month, we will take a look at some helpful strategies for passwords, and how to keep them straight at work, home, and on mobile devices. Until next time!