No customers, no business.
Very few businesses take time to show appreciation to their customers genuinely. With so many available options for customers to choose from, it’s essential to note and acknowledge customers who do business with you.
It is for this simple reason that you should take customer service or customer support seriously when running a business.
A simple “thank you” will go a long way to create meaningful customer experiences, retain those customers who help support your business and build long term relationships with them.
Why it is vital to normalize customer appreciation
- In business, prioritize customer appreciation by normalizing acknowledgements. Express gratitude continuously to your customers to show them their importance to your success.
- Besides being the right thing to do, it uplifts your work environment psychologically. Your customers should feel valued, loved and listened to; this keeps the momentum going.
- Further, expressing gratitude to your customers shows there’s a human behind the brand. It strengthens the relationships between your customers and team, leading to high retention rates.
- Thank you messages and actions are delightful gestures that cultivate priceless word-of-mouth marketing. If you want high referral rates at a low price tag, then this form of marketing is the way to go.
How to thank your customers
Here are our creative ways to show appreciation to these different tires of customers –
- First-time customer
- Repeat customer
- High-value customers
- Customers on special occasions such as birthdays and holidays
- Any customer who has written into support or called in with a query or issue
- Loyalty program members
- Random acts of delight
- All customers
1. Send handwritten notes
We live in the internet era of doing things, but that shouldn’t stop you from sending thoughtful thank you cards to your customers. It is such a joyful moment opening that card and knowing a brand appreciates you and values you.
In the messaging, be specific about why, as a person, you appreciate them and their support. Make it as personal as possible.
I’m so grateful to have served you as our client for five years and running. You have been an incredible support and a source of inspiration every step of the way. We are lucky to have you. Thank you for making our work joyful, meaningful and effortless.
2. Send thoughtful gifts
Gift your customer something related to your business or entirely different from what you usually sell. Make sure it’s personal and reflects your customer’s values. Put much thought into it, no matter the monetary value.
Also, it can be as practical as a customized branded product with your name and logo of course, but with their names around it.
For example, on their birthday, if your shop sells healthy foods, send your customer a book on healthy homemade recipes with a specially written note.
3. Donate to worthy causes associated with your customer
You may donate part of your income to causes close to your loyal customers’ heart. Find out which charities speak to the vision and values and give back.
Your customer will appreciate the lengths you can go to show care and gratitude.
4. Offer free services during a turbulent time
We have seen so many businesses step up during the global health crisis to help ease customer suffering.
Companies are offering their paid plans for free, e.g. HBO lifting the paywall for their subscribers. Some restaurants and small businesses are offering free home deliveries. Startups have doubled the length of free trials while some financial institutions are not charging mobile money transfers. Some internet service providers are zero-rating mobile data during this Corona Virus pandemic.
The options for offering more for less are limitless. Show humanity by letting your customers know that even in difficulties, you are still with them and assure them that this too shall pass.
5. Teach your clients something useful
You can pass so much niche wisdom to your clients by offering creative material on how they should navigate situations. Teach them something new every day that could potentially grow their business as well.
It could be in the form of free well-researched publications, guides or even video tutorials, a free webinar, or an e-book for their consumption.
For example, if you sell digital cameras, you can start an online publication that offers free Lightroom Editing tutorials to your customers. They will thank you for it and acknowledge the value your business brings forth.
6. Acknowledge their patience and kindness
When a customer becomes frustrated with your service, it is challenging to keep them calm and patient. Walk them through it asking detailed questions and reassure them you will fix the situation within a given timeframe.
Acknowledge their patience and thank them for being kind despite the issues at hand. It will help calm their nerves and also leave knowing they were well attended to, and their feelings toward the situation were taken into consideration.
I understand the frustration and appreciate how patient you’ve been with us throughout. The details you gave us helped in tracking down the cause of the delay. I’m happy to inform you that it has been handled and you will receive your order by midday. I can assure you that it will not happen again. Thank you for your effort. How else can I be of help?
7. Show clients the value they’re getting on the invoice
Below the total amount at the bottom of the invoice, you may show your customer how much they actually saved compared to your competitors. It builds loyalty simply by the amount saved or the value provided.
For example, a freelance writer can add the number of social shares or page views each article got.
8. Hold seasonal giveaways
People enjoy the idea of winning something so hold social media contests that offer some of your products for free as the prize. You can either provide free products, good discounts, gift vouchers, etc.
Go a step further – ask them to subscribe to your email list, share the post with their followers or follow your social media handles.
This tactic brings in more traffic and ensures that the lines of communication are open even after the giveaways — a win-win.
9. Leverage retention at checkout
For first-time customers, make use of the checkout stage by offering incentives such a discount for their next purchase. You can display related products at this point and their discounted price.
Do not forget to thank them for their initial purchase. Show your customers you value them.
You can also introduce loyalty and reward programs for your repeat customers. Here your best customers are rewarded according to proportion to their purchases or they earn points for every purchase they make.
10. Embrace face-to-face conversation
Once in a while, engage with your customers over a video chat or in person. Let that moment be about them and their experience with your business.
Your customers will feel valued, listened to and a priority. This connection will help in cultivating stronger bonds and bring clarity to their preferences.
11. Make an exception to the rule
As a business, your team should know when to bend the rules to help a customer. Do not be so rigid with your formal policies; know that rules can be bent if there’s a reason to.
A customer will value anyone who goes above and beyond to make sure their needs are well taken care of.
So use your best judgement to sort a customer who probably called in after working hours to purchase a birthday gift.
12. Surprise your customer with an upgrade
Hotels have mastered this, especially. A free surprise upgrade to a random customer will make their day, if not their year. This form of appreciation almost always leads to high referral rates.
Be as generous as possible. You can offer the best suite to a customer if it’s available, or the best table complete with free champagne to your regular customers, etc.
This method applies not only to hotels and restaurants. An online business can upgrade a long-time customer with premium benefits.
13. Spotlight your customers
Show your appreciation for your high-value customers publicly.
You can showcase this with User Generated Content on social media while crediting them in the posts. With their permission, of course. You can create a hashtag that clients can use for such posts.
This method works well with creatives as clients, who also rely on exposure to grow an audience. Send a shout either on Twitter, Instagram or even your blog. It builds credibility for them and helps nurture a bond between you both.
View this post on Instagram
@henni.kristin using her time at home to learn something new 🧶 The 'Lil Take Me Home' blanket is perfect for beginner makers, it comes with everything you need to get started, and is the ultimate way to de-stress between zoom meetings ☺ #knittingaddict #liltakemehomeblanket #crazysexywool #knitting #knittingpattern #knittinginspiration #knitstagram #knittinglove #knittersofinstagram #knitters #crafting #crafty #crafts #tutorial #diy #yarn #yarnlove #sustainablefashion #crochet #crochetlove #crochetpattern #instacrochet
With these ideas, you can come up with an organized customer appreciation plan to elevate your brand. Brainstorm with your team how you can thank your customers daily, weekly monthly or annually. Allocate a budget for possible gifts; you can start small and adapt gradually.
You may also formalize a strategy for customer appreciation week that focuses only on your customers. Make it an annual event so that they may look forward to it.
How do you thank your customers genuinely?