The holiday season reminds us about the importance of giving and showing gratitude to others. But it's not just family and friends who need to be appreciated. What are you doing for your customers this time of year? They're the ones who make your business possible, and taking the time to show them you care is just one simple way you can continue to provide excellent service and create loyal, lifelong customers.
Because customers want to feel appreciated, and that influences your bottom line. In fact, 68% of customers who leave a company do so because of perceived indifference: That is, they don't feel a connection to you or your services. They may have had a good experience, but they generally don't value your relationship and don't feel as though their business mattered to you. These are the people who won't give you a referral and won't write a positive review on Yelp or NextDoor. Worse yet, they may post a neutral — or even negative — review, and they won't be coming back when they need your expertise again.
Here's an example of how showing appreciation for clients helps you: One company has an employee whose sole job is to make follow-up calls to customers to ensure they received their order and that everything's working fine. Over the last 10 years, their sales have increased by 600%.
Instilling practices in your business that help make every customer feel special will strengthen your bottom line and create a raving fan base that drives referrals and repeat business.
There are so many things you can do to show your appreciation for your customers!*
Do you have a client with an interesting job, a repeat client who's been with you for years, or a brand-new customer with a fun story? Spotlight them on your blog or social media to make them feel special and valued. But remember that each client should feel like a star. You can achieve that by offering a personalized experience for every customer. Gather the right data so you can tailor each marketing message and interaction specifically to each person. Creating these types of unique experiences will make your customers feel like VIPs, and that's something they'll value and never forget.
Everybody loves a party! A customer-appreciation event is a celebration of your clients, so keep it focused on them. Encourage everyone you invite to bring guests. Your speech (and you should make one) needs to be short and all about thanking them for their loyalty and their business, not about how your company is doing. At the end of the event, hand out party favors, or even better, follow up with a personalized card that thanks them for attending.
A twist on the customer appreciation event is to throw a local party, inviting everyone who bought a home in a certain area or neighborhood over the past 6 months. Newbies can meet each other and make new friends, and everyone can share their experiences of settling in to their new homes.
It's not their birthday, not the holidays, not even their homebuying anniversary — why would you send someone a gift on a random day in the year? Because it shows they are in your thoughts and that you're glad they are your customer. A "We're thinking of you" note or gift might even prompt some repeat business when you — or they! — least expect it.
Here are some gift ideas for you:
Tickets to a local theme park
Customized bowls for a beloved pet
A book or movie they've mentioned in conversation (bonus points for this one — it shows you're a good listener as well)
Gift cards for coffee, Amazon, home improvement stores
Cookies, a fruit basket, or whatever treats are appropriate (yay, free food!)
Painting or sketch of their new home by a local artist
Donate to a charity or Indiegogo campaign in their name
There are many choices in many price ranges, but all of them say "I appreciate you!"
Peace. Love. Perks.
Leverage social media to offer your customers additional value — and perks. Perks can be as simple as providing a review of a new hot spot in town, or offering discounts on your services or those of other local businesses. You can even run contests and hand out freebies to engage your customers. Give away free ice cream cones on National Ice Cream Day, bouquets on Mother's Day, a turkey for Thanksgiving, eyepatches for Talk Like a Pirate Day ... there are so many giveaway opportunities throughout the year!
Soliciting feedback and showing you care about their opinion is really the best way to show appreciation for your clients. Nothing else says "Your thoughts and ideas are really important to me" more than this. Be sure you're making follow-up phone calls, sending out surveys, posing questions on your social media, and giving your clients every opportunity to tell you what they did and didn't like about working with you.
*Always check with your compliance team to ensure you are following your company and industry's rules and regulations.