There are certain times of year where we make a conscious effort to think about what we are thankful for. Thanksgiving is a time when many of us here in the United States sit and reflect on this. We take the opportunity to thank friends, family, employers, employees, co-workers and our valued customers.
So as Thanksgiving approaches, we may find ourselves wondering what we can do to show customers our sincere appreciation. In the customer service industry, it’s especially important to show our customers our gratitude for their continued business and loyalty. However customer appreciation doesn’t need to be limited to the Thanksgiving holiday!
Customers who know a company cares about them throughout the year are the most loyal, and likely, to become lifelong brand ambassadors. We often forget how easy it truly is to make a customer’s day. Something as simple as a thank you card, personal note or phone call can really have a lasting and meaningful impact. Any small and genuine gesture of kindness, helpfulness, or just doing something ‘beyond the call’ can help create an experience they won’t forget.
While we could assume that most customers choose a to do business with a company based on their prices and products, it has been demonstrated time and time again that their experience is even more important, especially when it comes to ensuring they complete more than one transaction. To make a customer feel valued, it is important to not only treat them with courtesy, kindness and respect, but to continually thank them for their business and loyalty. While appreciation is a wonderful sentiment, in most cases, more than words are usually required to retain loyalty. Customers love to see appreciation demonstrated in the form of rewards, discounts, events and free offerings or products. There are many creative ways to thank your customers, so it’s important to find a way that makes sense for your business, your brand, and above all, your customers. Here are just a few ideas that you could easily implement to show that you care:
Rewards or VIP Program
Show your customers your appreciation with a rewards program. This could be a membership reward program or a VIP customer program. Let your customers know, in a personal way, that they are valuable, by rewarding them for staying loyal to your brand. These rewards often take the form of bonus discounts, free products or services or exclusive customer events.
Whether at Thanksgiving or the holidays, a gift with your business logo and contact information is a great way to not only thank your customers, but keep your company fresh in their memory. This could be a in the form of a calendar, notepad and pen set, coffee mug or magnet.
Personalize the Customer Experience
We shouldn’t underestimate how much customers value personalization. Creating a personalized experience leads to a better customer experience, which customers are actually willing to pay more for. In other words: if you want to increase business success, start getting personal!
“There is one thing that you can do that almost guarantees that your customer will want to come back and do business with you. It’s more than just delivering amazing customer service. It’s delivering amazing personalized customer service” – Shep Hyken
Customer service expert Shep Hyken shares some great examples in his blog of the creative personalized service he has experienced at hotels he has stayed at while traveling. When you communicate with your customers with personalized gestures or messages, you are indirectly thanking them for their business. To ensure their continued loyalty to your brand, you demonstrate a desire to get to know them and to continue building your relationship.
Reaching out to customers with a card or handwritten letter on a special occasion such as their birthday or anniversary will make them feel appreciated in a very intimate way. Taking time to find out about a customer so you can give them customized care and attention will go a long way towards endearing customers to your brand, so make sincere “thank you’s” and special gestures a key element of your interaction.
Free Learning Materials
Offering free online content is a great way to thank your customers because it also works in your favor! The more online content you have, the more marketing content you also create, which will help improve your company’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization), making it easier for new customers to find you. It’s also an easy way to build your email list and social media following.
For starters, you could provide customers with a learning enrichment or library section on your website, where they can increase their knowledge about your product or industry. In addition, you could offer free downloads such as educational e-books or an online magazine that discusses important topics in your service industry, including free videos or webinars.
This type of content will look different depending on what your company offers. The point is to offer free content that acts as a value proposition that substantially improves your customers’ experience. It also establishes your company as a thought leader and industry expert. These offerings will go a long way to demonstrate your commitment to helping customers get the most out of your brand, at no additional cost!
Host a Customer Appreciation Event
If you have a location where you could host a customer appreciation event, this is the perfect way to thank them!
Inviting your customers to spend a special evening with other customers is a great way to make them feel valued – especially if they’re offered free food, entertainment, a bonus discount and a special gift.
If your business does not have a physical location, you could host a live online event instead! This is a great way to also encourage your customers to interact with your business via social media. You can still offer gifts, discounts and other personalized freebies, to make them feel special.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
There are those instances when, we as customers, remember receiving an outstanding gesture of appreciation or service. If these small gestures make a difference, imagine what a combination of the above suggested appreciation gestures could do for your customer base! At the end of the day, appreciating your customers is a huge step towards a total customer retention strategy that will keep your customers not only delighted, but coming back time after time.