Inc Well | Small Business Advice for Chicago Entrepreneurs
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How to Keep Your Customers Loyal

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Loyalty is important, and there are so many different kinds of it you have to manage, cultivate and maintain in a business. There's loyalty from your employees, loyalty from management and, don't forget, also loyalty from your customers. Street Fight Mag has cooked up a tasty list of eight ways to keep customers loyal to your small business.

Probably the most important one, in my opinion, is to just pick a single program and stick with it. As Street Fight says: "loyalty is about patience and time… once a business decides to move away from paper punch cards and adopt a digital loyalty program, it needs to stick with it. If a company can't take the decision to adopt a new program seriously, how can customers be expected to?"

There's a bunch of other points touched on here, like asking your cashiers to promote the service -- but I'd like to add, please, don't do this in an annoying, overwhelming way. A friend of mine recently got a haircut as Hair Cuttery -- I would say if it was me, it really was a friend! -- and they were obnoxious with a capital "O" about letting him know they have a new deal where if you sign in with Foursquare you can save a couple dollars. He didn't have Foursquare. So they asked him if he'd like to download it during his haircut. He kindly said no thanks. They asked him again near the end if he was sure. And then again before paying.

You want to know a good way of torpedoing your customer loyalty? By not listening to your customers, which is a good piggyback off another Street Fight point: Don't ask guests to change their behavior.

A lot of this stuff, seemingly, is common sense. But you'd be surprised what people forget or what their bosses are telling them to do. A good way to wipe the slate clean is with this SF article.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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