Tis the season to be thankful, right? By now you’ve probably read a number of Facebook posts or newspaper articles about the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday; so I won’t bore you with those details. Suffice it to say that the fourth Thursday in November has become the traditional day of the year to express gratitude for the blessings you enjoy. Now, obviously, you should be thankful throughout the year, not just on a particular day. Thanksgiving is just the day we set aside time to really think about it.
But what about those other 364 days of the year? Shouldn’t we make a special effort to express our gratitude every day? Don’t you like it when someone tells you “Thank you” or goes out of their way to show appreciation for something you’ve done?
Author and speaker Stephanie Chandler thinks so. She’s compiled a list of 12 Ways to Thank Your Customers. These are all pretty basic ideas and most of these suggestions have been discussed in our basic sales & service training classes. See how many of these you already have in place.
- Greeting Cards. Think of all the major, minor, and wacky unofficial holidays on the calendar during the year. Why not send out a card to celebrate with your customer?
- Personal Notes. Forget the email or form letter. Pull out the stationery and a pen. Now write a few short lines that mean something personal to your customer.
- Invitations. Call up a customer and invite them to come in for some face-to-face time. Call it a portfolio review or research study. Spend some quality time listening to your customer and see what a huge impact it makes.
- Small Gifts. They don’t have to be lavish or expensive. They just have to say “I was thinking of you.”
- Food. We like getting food at work right? Why not return the favor?
- Gift Cards. Know what your customer likes? Get them a gift card to their favorite store or restaurant. Don’t know what they like? Try Amazon!
- Referral Rewards. When a customer thinks enough of you to refer new business your way, it’s time to say “Thank You!”
- Reverse Referrals. I’ll bet your business customers like to receive referrals too.
- Customer Appreciation Days. Plan something around Founder’s Day or Customer Appreciation Week. Or just choose some arbitrary day and make it special.
- The Gift of Information. See an article or book you think might interest your customer? Why not send it their way with a special note?
- Host Events. Hosting an open house or cook out is an easy way to show your appreciation.
- Life Events. Did your customer receive a promotion? Did a son or daughter graduate? Did they get married, open a new location, or close a big sale? Let them know you noticed.
There’s no rocket science involved here. The key is to develop an attitude of gratitude and perpetuate it all the time – not just once a year. And if you don’t currently have an active “appreciation strategy,” now is the perfect time to start. Just pick one of these ideas and get to it.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that most of these suggestions also work for coworkers. That’s another group just begging for some appreciation. Whew, I don’t know about you; but I’ve got a lot of work to do.
P.S. Got a great way of saying “Thank you?” I’d love to hear about it.