Updated: Jul 26
What is the definition of the ‘Loyal Customer’ based on your experience? Ask your self, what is a ‘loyal customer’? - you will hear your inside voice talking something about it and for the most of you that inner voice is what you got to change if you wish to succeed in you tattoo business, or for that matter in any business, your business is not about you, it is about serving your customers, i.e., it is about them. In simple words, if you don’t have any customers/clients you will not exist on this planet earth, except if you decide to become a monk and wander alone in The Himalayas :)
A Loyal customer is a person who loves your service/product so much that he is emotionally attached to your brand, that he never ever thinks to switch to your competition even if their offer is better. He also becomes the free brand ambassador for your company, promoting your business to all of his networks proudly. One Loyal Customer is like one viral video which is in effect his entire life, working passively without showing you the stats, increasing your brand creditability and reach. He personally handles the real-life likes, comments, and critiques from the people he meets and talks about us, he is 24/7, silently at your service to help you increase your business.
If you wish a greater success in your business, you got to build an army of loyal customers. This is the most important aspect of any business, doesn’t matter how good is your marketing strategy to generate new leads, or bring new customers, how well your Facebook and Instagram ads are performing, the results will not sustain unless you get what it takes to build the loyal customer base.
I have seen many companies spend a fortune on marketing and sales, however, they provide poor service once the customer is on-board. I recommend, instead of spending a lot of money on just marketing and sales, you need to spend more on the customers who are already in because they are the live marketing entity working for us 24/7, one should invest on them more than on anything else.
To build a Loyal Customer, it has to start from the very basic and most powerful force human beings possess, LOVE. You got to love your customers, when you love someone you go the extra mile to make sure that, that someone is happy and joyful. Your priority becomes his/her happiness and satisfaction. And guess what, humans can feel it, they can feel the difference between fake love and real love, and so they feel the connection you are trying to build, you let them get attached to your brand, they feel safe and secured, they start trusting you and your expertise and before they know they are in love with your brand.
This love which I am talking about are not empty words told or said, it is an act by which you express love. Let me lay a few of the things which will help you understands how you can improve your business structure to build an army of loyal customers.
The moment the customer enters your studio, he/she has to feel good and for that, you got to build your studio environment customer-centric and not business owner-centric. Not a single thought was given to what your customer will love to see. I have seen tattoo studios with human skulls and animal skulls hung all around the studio. Think sensibly for a minute, will your mom or dad or your family would love to see the dead skulls in your living room, hung around the walls in your house? As your self, what do you want your customer to do when he walks into your studio? Get a tattoo right? So why not have a studio design in such a way which promotes tattoo art, things around which will inspire them to get one from your brand. Photos of the celebrities who got tattoos, your achievements, and awards, customer-centric quotes, family and group photos of those who got a tattoo from you as a group, and so on and so forth. Some musical instruments like guitar, or a playing area for kids, a massage chair of oldies, and the list goes on, anything that will enhance the experience of your customer because you care and love them, and not just to show off.
Play some good music which masses listen to, there are songs which are liked by mostly all age groups, keep it upbeat and young, however, do not follow the stereotype of playing a harsh metal genre of music, or playing hard rock because you saw some tattoo studios play it in the other part of the globe. Know your customer base and play what they like. They will feel good, you will put them in a good mood, trigger happiness and joy, which will bring more business and loyalty to your brand. If you are an artist and love a certain type of music, you can listen to in your headphones and in-ears. Your studio is a place to let customers feel good and nice, its an opening to let your customer express his emotions, you may end up ruining it by playing the wrong music. In my studio we got in-house DJ who understands the crowd and accordingly plays the music, we also take requests from our customers and they love it.
Design for them
If you run a tattoo studio, your strength is your art. You got to give all that you can to create something really special for your customer. A tailor-made custom tattoo design based on his/her design brief. Your client's request may be simple or complex, big or small, it docent matter, it has to be special. He/She may not be great at drawing or art, may have seen something online which they feel they want to get done, but you being an artist, you have the power to create better than what they have in their mind, or their reference image. When I say better, it means your customer should feel it is better, not you. You only can create something beautiful based on the client's request is when you love to do that, if you don’t enjoy this process, hire someone who does, get people working for you to do things which you think you can’t do it. There is whole another topic on how to build the right audience or customer base who loves your style and genre of art and I will discuss that in another blog post.
Give more value than they pay you
This is the golden rule followed by giants of this world, mentioned almost in every book written in business and self-help books like Think and Grow Rich, Go-Giver, and many more. You got to give more value than what customer is paying you in money. In simple words, your customer should feel that it was worth getting a tattoo from your studio. They should feel that they have paid less compared to the experience they had. To achieve this, you have to go that extra mile in everything you do with a client, you got to actively listen to them, show interest in their interest, provide free beverages if you can, connect with them on an emotional level, appreciate, guide them like an expert, and so on and so forth.
Care about what they care for
Click the photos of their tattoo process and share it with them, it will stay as a memory all their life. If its some occasion, some milestone they hit, their birthday, any positive event is the reason for their tattoo, celebrate it, get a cake, make cards, gift them. Create an experience they never expected from you, surprise them!
Build a Connection for life
The real relationship starts once they leave your studio, do regular follow-ups on calls and emails, guide them through their aftercare process. Send the birthday wishes and cakes to them, if can push yourself as we do, care to know what is their anniversary date, their birthdate, their kid's birthdate, their parent's birthdate, and design a system to send them small gifts and cakes and wishes. Imagine sending a birthday cake on your customer’s mother’s birthday, that's an emotional connection you are establishing, you are showing that you love them and you care for what they care for
These are only a few things which will help you build trust and the loyalty of your customer, however, there is so much more to it, you can only explore it if you love your customers :). Building a loyal customer base takes time and requires a lot of energy to bring changes to your day-to-day working process. It also involves investment, however, the returns are unfathomable. It takes time to see the effect of this as it is working passively, however it is the fastest way to grow your business.
I hope you found this blogpost valuable, do share it with the world, share it on your social platforms to bring a better change in the way we conduct our businesses.