In part 1 of this series we discussed why customer appreciation – and having a strategy to show your gratitude —are vital to your success.
In today’s trends of online shopping and fast-paced lifestyles, customer appreciation might be considered a waning skill. It’s actually a main component of good marketing. Keep in mind that the goal of marketing it to create and maintain a strong connection with customers so they are influenced to continually choose and recommend you.
How better to build trust and develop relationships than showing your customers you are appreciative? Let them know their business and loyalty matter. Here are 14 ways to show your appreciation to your customers.
Give the gift of delight with offers of thanks:
1.Send a handwritten thank-you note – even when you don’t get their business. Show you appreciate the opportunity; it may help with future chances to win customers, as well.
2.Offer birthday specials. We all like to have our birthday acknowledged. Offer your customer a discount or free item they can redeem during their b-day week or month.
3.Offer deals at non-competing brands. Coupons work, and you’ll gain goodwill when you pair your own brand with other brands your customers love.
4.Send personalized follow-up emails. Show your gratitude for purchases through an email. You can use the same email to allow customers to reply with any comments or questions.
5.Send post-transaction gifts. Give customers an item related to what they’ve purchased from you. Or offer your best customers a free new service or product upgrade.
6.Send pre-sale notifications. Let your best customers in on sales ahead of time. This gives them time to plan.
7.Use the power of surprise. Offer an unexpected discount or a special offer for no specific reason.
Give the gift of a better buying experience:
8.Put effort into training your staff on relating to others. Everyone can benefit from a refresher on communication and interacting with various personalities. The person your customer is dealing with is the face of your company.
9.Invest in employee retention. The less turnover you have, the more effective your employees will be with customers.
10.Sponsor local sports teams. Customers will appreciate your support for their Little League team (and your logo on their uniform or your name on a banner means goodwill).
11.Create a charitable giving program. People feel good about themselves when they do business with companies that donate a portion of their proceeds to a good cause.
Give the gift of knowledge:
12.Give away helpful advice. Sharing your expertise gives your customers something valuable for free. Use your email newsletter, Twitter, and Facebook to anticipate questions and educate buyers.
13.Ask your customers what they’d like to learn more about – and you’ll have a list of topics on hand to inform them through articles, webinars, blogs, social media posts and more.
14.Have an Aha! moment, on a regular basis. Use the acronym Aha to ask, hear, and adapt.
ASK your customers what’s on their minds – for example, inquire about their satisfaction with their recent sales or service experience and with your employees. Solicit their overall impression of your business. Request their feedback at each contact point. Use e-mail, surveys and whatever works for your business.
HEAR what your customers are saying about you. Really hear their comments and give them credence. Whether it’s Twitter, Yelp, or other platforms customers use to give feedback, establish a sense of community using back-and-forth discussion.
ADAPT your business procedures based on what your customers are telling you. Prove that you pay attention to complaints and praise – that you appreciate their input as well as their business.
Gestures of gratitude are important to show your customers you appreciate them. The day-to-day way they perceive your attitude toward them is what really shows you care about your customers. They, in turn, will thank you with their loyalty.