While focusing on drumming up new business, entrepreneurs often forget to show appreciation for their current customers and clients. We’ve put together 28 creative ways to show them some love while also solidify their loyalty and humanizing your brand.
#1 Handwritten Note
This is a classy, timeless way of communicating. And in a time when everything is electronic, taking the time to sit down and handwrite a note of appreciation goes a long way with people. To kick it up a notch, use customized stationery and don’t forget to hand-address the envelope.
#2 Share Knowledge
Whether it’s how to use social media or creative holiday recipes, people want information. Why do you think Google is so successful? They harnessed all the Internet’s knowledge so people could find it easily. Now it’s your job to share it.
The best way to share knowledge is through blogs (i.e. 30 Great Ways to Show Customer Appreciation). Other options are info graphics, SlideShare, and e-books. Sharing what you know will help solidify you as an expert in your field and your customers will appreciate the free information.
#3 Profile a customer
Take one of your customers and promote them through social media, email newsletters, etc. Snag a few quality photos of them and maybe even a video of them recommending your business. This will make your customer feel noticed and also help humanize your business.
#4 Phone Call
This is one I cannot push enough. People in my generation always defer to texts and emails because they are not comfortable speaking with people on the phone.
Pick up the phone and personally call someone and thank him or her for his or her business. Also take the opportunity to get to know them. Ask about their family, work, etc. This will also help build a stronger relationship with your customer, increasing their loyalty to your business.
#5 Business Referrals
When I was younger, at Christmas time, I always loved it when my family gave me gift cards and cold hard cash. Why? Because socks and electronics can’t pay the power bill.
Same logic kind-of applies here. It also puts the idea in their heads to send you business and displays your recommendation for their goods or services.
If you are about to launch a new product or service, you probably want to get some preliminary reviews. This is a wonderful opportunity to show your customers you care about their opinions while also making them feel a little special. Ask them to honestly evaluate the product or service and let them know you welcome their honest feedback.
Afterwards, use your customers’ input to revise your new item and follow up with them to let them know you actually listened. You can even generate some testimonials to use for the launch!
#7 Social Media Posts
Businesses quickly forget that social media is about being social. Not only should you be posting fresh, original content, but you should be interacting with others as well.
Go to your customers’ personal and business social media pages and like/share their content on your page. You cannot expect them to do it for you unless you do it for them, too.
#8 Special Occasions
When it’s your birthday or anniversary, don’t you love it when you get on Facebook and see dozens of comments wishing you a lovely day? It makes you feel special and noticed.
Be apart of that outpour but don’t limit it to social media. Personally, I love sending a text message because it stands apart from the flood of comments on social media.
#9 Congratulatory Card
If you’re on LinkedIn, you’ll know the majority of your notifications are people’s career updates. From promotions to new jobs, there are plenty of them every day.
Get some personal, custom cards (metisXYZ can help with that) and use them to personally congratulate people on their accomplishments.
#10 Gift Cards
For holidays and special occasions, a wonderful gesture to your loyal customers and clients are gift cards. It could be to a bookstore or coffee shop.
I personally use them for something different. When I hear someone had family member pass away, I don’t send flowers or food. Instead, I’ll send a gift card to the movies, giving them a chance to escape for a short bit.
#11 Personalized Video
A couple of years ago, I was working for a firm that switched phone services to Nextiva. Within a couple hours of signing up with them, we were sent a welcoming email (pretty typical). However, it contained a YouTube link to a video of one of their staffers welcoming our firm and referring to us by our first names.
This is probably the best welcoming I’ve seen from a company! It put a personal, creative touch on a standard practice and helped humanize Nextiva’s brand.
#12 Send Food
We’ve all heard on the radio about how the radio station is treating businesses to a catered lunch. People love food and appreciate being free meals, especially when it’s a notch better than their typical drive-thru lunches. You can do this randomly or hold on a contest with the prize being lunch out a restaurant or catered to the customer’s office.
#13 App Store Credit
If you have a customer or client you know uses their smart phone a lot, then chances are they would appreciate a credit for their app store. It’s a fairly inexpensive gesture and whenever the customer uses the app they purchased with your credit, they’re likely to think of you.
#14 Buy An App
Kind-of like the last one, this gesture is fairly inexpensive. However, unlike #13, you can use this to pinpoint someone’s problem and offer him or her a tool to solve it. For example, when you hear a client grumble about having to keep up with mileage for work, purchase an app that will assist them in tracking it.
This shows you were listening to him or her and that you want to go above and beyond to help them.
#15 Deliver Flowers
Randomly sending a nice floral bouquet to a client’s office is a wonderful way to show your appreciation for their business. They’ll proudly display it in their office and for about a week, they’ll go through this dialogue with people:
“Beautiful flowers! Those look amazing,” says Customer Betty Sue.
“Thank you! We do some work with Johnny Jones over at Business Local and he sent these over yesterday,” replies your client.
#16 Think of the Kids
Parents are proud of their children and are always sharing updates about them. From their sports games to their birthday parties, parents are posting photos of their children all the time.
These are wonderful chances to use #7 and interact with your customers. For example, if Customer Betty Sue posts on Facebook about her son’s graduation, congratulate her and her son on your company’s page.
#17 Car Wash Certificate
If you’ve ever had a job that required a lot of travel using your personal vehicle, then you know the wear and tear it gets, including the interior.
So if you know a customer or client travels a lot for their work, treat them to a good car wash. Don’t send them to the local $5 car wash with free vacuums. Kick it up a notch and send them to one where they sit in a waiting room while the car wash crew cleans out the interior as well. It’ll be a thoughtful way of showing your customer or client your appreciation.
#18 Pet Gifts
We all have friends or family members that have a huge love for their pet. Everyone loves their pets, but there are some who just go all out for their animals. For example, my mother has 3-4 dogs at any given time and I’m pretty sure they eat better than most people. So a gift for her dogs such as a gift card to a pet store or groomers goes a long way with her.
#19 Send a Cleaning Service
On top of everything that goes into running a new business, cleaning the office because you cannot afford to outsource it yet is a pain the butt. A thoughtful gift for such a client or customer is to send them a cleaning service, perhaps for a Spring-cleaning.
Again, this shows your appreciation for their business but also goes beyond the typical B2B (business-to-business) contact.
#20 Personalize Communications
Mass communications from businesses or organizations are easily overlooked and forgotten by their recipients. A great way to minimize this is to personalize everything.
In mass emails, replace “Dear Customer” with “Hey Betty!” Also, train your staff to learn and use customers’ first names (when appropriate) and the names of their spouses and children.
#21 Show Respect
This is a very simple, free way to show your appreciation to customers and clients. Growing up, it was drilled into our heads to always use “ma’am” and “sir” at all times. To this day, I use it with everyone.
A few weeks ago, I was walking by an older couple at a crowded event. As I moved by the lady, I said, “Excuse me, ma’am” and I heard her husband say, “Woah. ‘Ma’am.’ I like that. You don’t hear that much anymore.”
#22 Use Feedback
As I mentioned with #6, take the feedback you receive from customers and clients and actually use it. Don’t be insulted when they share it because they’re giving you a heads up that you need to adjust something.
And when you use their feedback, let them know you did. When LinkedIn, redesigned the layout for company pages, the announced it by saying, “We’ve listened to your feedback and redesigned your company page.”
#23 Charitable Giving
Customers and clients love to see companies genuinely care about something besides making money. Choose a local non-profit or special cause to support and pledge funding, free or reduced products and services, and/or your time.
For example, with MetisXYZ, non-profit organizations receive 20% off all products and services. Additionally, a percentage of our profits go to North Carolina groups that work with victims of child abuse.
#24 Excellent Customer Service
Honestly, this is the foundation of everything. Your business could have the best new thing on the market; however, if your customer service is abysmal, your business will not do well. When there are issues, solve them quickly and efficiently. And it doesn’t mean you have to give something away for free, either.
While on the phone with Bank of America last weekend, the customer service representative was being very short and uncooperative so I asked to speak with her supervisor to find a solution to my problem. The supervisor heard my concern and she immediately apologized for the representative’s actions. She then quickly solved my problem and I ended the call very happy.
#25 Learn Personalities
Your customers and clients are humans. Like you, they have opinions, emotions, and unique life scenarios. Make it your team’s mission to learn these things about your customers and clients. This will better allow your team to personalize communications (see how all these begin to tie together?) and equip them to even anticipate your customers’ wants and needs.
#26 Price Matching
You’ve probably seen this offered by a lot of large retailers. It’s a tactic used to assure customers they are paying the lowest price for the same product. However, in recent years, you may have seen service-based businesses offer some version of this tactic.
#27 Free Upgrades
This is often used by service-based businesses (i.e. car rentals). With loyal customers and clients, surprise them with unprompted free upgrades. Not only will they feel your appreciation, they’ll also get a taste of what the upgrade offers.
While a lot of businesses will use discounts to assuage disgruntled customers and clients, it can also be used to show them you appreciate their business. It’s best when done randomly and during non-holiday seasons. Discounts also help solidify a customer or client’s loyalty to your brand and you can’t put a price on that!