How to get your customers hooked on you

Would you do it?

Really, would you still work out if there weren’t any health benefits to it?  Would you beat your body into submission and force it to do something it would rather not do if it didn’t mean you would look and feel better as a result?

Most of us wouldn’t.  Many people don’t do it at all even with all the known benefits.

But there’s a group of people who get up day in and day out, and put the work in on their body. There’s a simple reason for it too. They’re hooked.

And when you can figure out how to get your customers hooked on what you give them, then all kinds of good stuff will come your way.  Here’s why.

What lures customers to come back again and again

Nobody had anything good to say.

There were frequent grumbles, gripes, and horror stories. I’d heard so many, but honestly I didn’t care.  I was a loyal flyer with U.S. Airways. Living in Philadelphia, one of their hubs, it was easy for me to go places using the airline.

And when it wasn’t easy, sometimes I went out of my way to fly with them. Even when the price was a little higher. Not because I thought they were the coolest airline ever.

I did it because I was hooked on their rewards.

The frequent flier miles. The free upgrades to first class. Being able to board early. Not having to pay to check a bag. Oh, and being able to go through the fast security line.  For me, the rewards for flying US Airways were so worth me giving them my business whenever possible.

Did I mention that I was able to take a roundtrip flight to China for $120, and a roundtrip flight to Hawaii for $60? All I had to do was cash in some miles.

Since I hadn’t had any glaring customer service issues, I was pretty content. And why wouldn’t I be? The rewards were sweeeeeeeeet. They kept me coming back again and again.

The truth about rewards

They fuel behavior.  Both consciously and subconsciously.

That’s because most of us don’t do much of anything if there isn’t a reward. There’s gotta be some type of benefit for engaging in a particular activity.

Rewards come in a variety of ways. Eat well and exercise regularly, and you get a healthy, sexy body. Read fascinating books, and you get knowledge, ideas, and mental stimulation. Eat that piece of cake, and your tastebuds get a sensory experience that makes them wanna dance.

We do things we want to do, and sometimes we do things we don’t want to do all the time. The reason?  We do it for the rewards. When we perceive the benefits to doing something as great, in most instances, we do what we need to do to get that benefit.

Like getting up at the crack of dawn to go to the gym. Or paying a little extra for a flight so you can rack up some miles. Or walking in the rain in search of almond butter.

There doesn’t always have to be a guaranteed reward for an action, either.  Take playing the lottery for instance.  The odds that someone will win are like a zillion to one.  But when that jackpot is big, boatloads of people spend their hard earned cash for a “chance” at winning a big prize.

Rewards move people to action. So you’ve got to reward your customers for being your customer. You’ve got to reward them so well, you get them hooked.

And then you’ve gotta keep them hooked.

How to keep your customers from jumping off your hook

When the effort required to get your good stuff no longer outweighs the reward, then it’s easy enough for your customers to stop coming to you.  Over time, even though rewards you offer may be highly beneficial and valuable, they can get a little stale.

That’s why people vary their workouts, and why restaurants offer specials. It’s also why couples go on vacations and special date nights. They do it to break up the monotony of what has become the norm.

And if you don’t shake things up from time to time, your customers will get used to the rewards you give them. They’ll start to expect them. They may not see them as quite as special as they used to, and may even start to take them for granted.  And you don’t want that to happen. So to keep them from falling for shiny new thing syndrome when someone else offers some fancy reward, you can’t get complacent.

You’ve gotta keep the rewards coming. Spice them up with a little variety every now and again. And you’ve gotta continue to add to them over time. Don’t get lulled into thinking that what worked well one month or one year will work for always.

Instead, continue to give your customers reasons to stay hooked on you. Make it super easy for them to see and experience the benefits that come from choosing you.

How to be sure your rewards are worth the effort

So the question for you is, are you giving your customers enough reasons to come back to you again and again?  Are the rewards they receive for choosing to invest their resources with you, worth it for them to come back for another dose of what you got?

Write down what benefit your customers get from interacting with you.  It doesn’t have to be just one.  In fact, it shouldn’t be.  List as many reasons you can think of for why your customers should continue to come back.  Be very clear about why you’re worth their effort.

Then when you finish your list, send it over to me.  I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about the rewards you provide your customers and if you feel they’re enough.

To help you along with your homework, here’s a list of 14 ways you can reward your customers for choosing you.  For each tip, you’ll find examples, suggestions, and application questions to help you think about how to apply the tips in your business.

I’ll be on the lookout for your homework!