These days, after what seems an eternity of business restrictions due to Covid-19, companies are rightfully grateful for returning customers, and new prospects willing to give their business a chance. After all, every CEO and business owner understands that, without a strong foundation of loyal customers, no business can hope to stay solvent for longer.
Maybe Lee Freeman, Owner, TAB Florence-Myrtle Beach, says it best: “Customer appreciation, and the intentional effort you put into it, is seen by your customers as a direct reflection of the value you place on them. It's the part of the ‘customer experience’ that can truly separate you from the competition.”
Have you recently let your customers know how much you appreciate their loyalty? If now seems like a good time to reach out with a note of appreciation, keep these tips in mind:
Make personal contact an ongoing practice.
The “transactional event” where a customer purchases your product or service isn’t the only time that an individual should interact with your company. While it’s unreasonable of course to make personal contact with every customer, most businesses have a short list of long-time/repeat customers upon whom they depend. Why not reach out occasionally just to see how things are going with them?
When possible, seek out a face-to-face (or Zoom) meeting with your top customers. This approach “goes a long way in building real relationships with your clients and keeps feeding the revenue stream,” notes Thomas, an advertising and digital marketing service provider. After all, “if something does go wrong, they won’t be so quick to lose their cool if you know the names of their kids.”
Put on a “Customer Appreciation Day.”
Promoting a special day of customer appreciation is a viable technique both for retail and online businesses. In a brick-and-mortar setting, it’s a great opportunity to feature in-store discounts, sign-ups for special offers and product introductions, and the always-popular raffle/giveaway event. In the online realm, a business website can also offer time-limited discounts, while also highlighting profiles of loyal customers and extolling their connection to your business.
Just make sure you get the word out. You can “publicize it well over social media in advance so that you get a good turnout,” advises Yelp for Business, “and share a special discount code for anyone to use at the event”—a surefire motivational tool for customer purchases.
Send a card.
Sounds very 20th century, right? Well, that’s part of the appeal of sending a personal card or message to your loyal target audience. It’s just not done every day. The key is making the approach as specific as possible.
“A generic ‘thank you’ card won’t mean nearly as much as a paragraph-long message of gratitude for the experience of working together,” advises Allbusiness.com. The “excitement of getting a piece of physical mail that isn’t junk can instantly make someone feel appreciated.” If you need an excuse to send a card, consider doing so on the customer’s birthday or around a commonly celebrated holiday.
Always be “customer-centric.”
Special gestures of appreciation are always welcome, but a business with a “customer-centric” culture goes a long way towards instilling customer loyalty. When you do any or all of the following, customers “get” that you value their business:
- Make sure customers are satisfied at each touchpoint.
- Provide extra training when needed for customer service representatives.
- Invest in the most advanced, customer-friendly technology so people can easily get in touch with you.
In an era of “fragmented and often deficient service, people will often pay more for a quality customer experience,” and will likely come back for more.
Want to improve the customer experience in your business? Register for our free TAB Boss Webinar, “Great Customer Service is a Design Activity.”