You might think your business depends on the quality of your product or service. Or perhaps it requires your business acumen. But customer appreciation is another essential component of your success. This article shares the value of customer appreciation and some of the best ways to thank customers.
Plenty of psychological studies have examined the power of gratitude. It helps our outlook on life and puts us in a more positive frame of mind. Economists also look at the weight of gratitude in the business sphere. In fact, 68 percent of consumers say they would leave a business if they didn’t feel appreciated.
- It makes customers happy; happy customers are more likely to spread the word
- Improves customer retention; retaining customers costs less than acquiring new ones
- It helps your business stand out as we go more global, online, and impersonal
- Encourages customers to engage with business to share valuable feedback
Now that you have some idea of the value of appreciating your customers, we’ll share several of the best ways to thank customers:
- Thank you notes
- Donations to causes
- Loyalty rewards
- Special events
- Honor their birthday or other holidays
Thank You Notes
Add handwritten small business thank you notes to your arsenal of ways to make customers feel valued. Taking the time to write a note showing how grateful you are for their business will really stand out for customers who may be treated with indifference by your competitors.
If you don’t want to do handwritten notes, you can still send a business thank you via business email or postcard. Proactive contact with a customer shows that you value them for more than that one sale; you want to build a long-term relationship. This connection may make them less likely to switch service providers or turn to another product.
Sending a text message or making a phone call after a sale to check on how things are going so far and if they have any questions is another way of demonstrating you care.
Whatever format you take, make sure it is personalized. According to TD Bank, consumers “agreed that appreciation should be conveyed by saying thanks directly to the individual recipient (60 percent) and personalized (44 percent).”
Donations to Causes
Customers are expecting much more social and political activism on the part of the companies they do business with today. In Edelman’s annual Trust and Brand Equity survey, 86% of consumers expected “brands to act beyond their product or business.”
Donating on behalf of your customers is one way to foster greater trust while also saying thanks to customers. For example, Help Scout plants a tree through The Nature Conservatory for every new customer. Or Mascoma Bank donates 10% of their income to organizations in the local communities that they serve.
Meanwhile, a donation program gives your brand a more positive image with customers and even attracts new customers. Research shows 80% of Americans are likely to switch brands to one that supports a charity.
We all want to feel special. When your business can find ways to make customers feel special, that will help too. There are many ways to reward customer loyalty:
- Put stickers, coasters, or other brand swag in the package
- Send a cake or cookies to your largest customer
- Share a book with a customer that you’ve enjoyed
- Throw in a couple of samples when a customer makes a purchase
- Offer post-purchase discounts
- Host customer appreciation week
This can include inviting customers to special sales, VIP sessions at a conference, early openings, or pop-ups. Or offer a workshop to help your customer learn something new. If you have a physical location, you might host a networking event or a customer appreciation barbecue, or a picnic for VIPs only.
Giving someone an unexpected upgrade is another special way to thank customers. You’re being generous, and you’ll be giving them the added boost of a surprise. This can be as simple as putting an extra donut in a customer’s box or putting someone at the nicest table in the restaurant.
During COVID, we recommended several ways to give back to customers in times of need.
Honor Their Birthday or Other Holidays
Personalized interactions are one of the most effective tactics for building loyalty and driving revenue in the digital age. What’s more personal than celebrating a birthday? Sending a card or a special promo code for online shopping tied to a birthday is one of the best ways to thank customers. They get more joy out of their birthday, and you show you care.
You might also send holiday greetings, although you’ll want to be sure you recognize a holiday that an individual celebrates. Otherwise, your personalization will backfire.
Develop Your Customer Appreciation Strategy
These best ways to show customer appreciation can get you started. Still, another great idea is to solicit customer input. Ask them on social media to share suggestions for your business to make them feel appreciated. This demonstrates you value their opinion while also giving your social media engagement momentum too!