Are you thankful for your customers? Of course you are. The real question is – do you show it? Customer appreciation plays an important role in retaining customers. Research shows 68% of customers change brands because of “perceived indifference.” In other words, customers felt as though the business didn’t care if they shopped with them or not.
What’s the solution? Businesses should show a little love. To help time-strapped business owners show customer appreciation, here’s a list of ways to say thank you to the customers who keep your business running.
1. Offer a loyalty program with tiered rewards
There’s no easier way to show your appreciation to customers than to reward them through a loyalty program – and not just any ole loyalty program – one that offers multiple incentives and rewards. As customers buy from you, they earn points that can be used towards several products or services that they really want.
2. Make a donation in their honor
Make a donation to a local charity in honor of your most loyal customers. Send them a text or an email to let them know the good news. Show local customers that as they support you, they also support the community.
3. Provide an upgrade
Treat customers to an upgrade. If you offer a service, bump them up a notch. If you’re offering a special discount on an item, offer a deeper discount to your loyal customers.
4. Giveaway candy favors
Head to the store, grab some candy and fancy plastic bags, and make your own “Thank You” favors. Or, fill the baggies with samples from your own business. Give the goodies out at the counter, or send them in the mail for a unique twist.
5. Host a picnic or BBQ
Consider hosting a customer picnic or BBQ. You can host it at a community park, or right outside of your business. Team up with neighboring businesses to make it a block-wide event.
6. Celebrate a milestone
As you build a relationship with customers, be sure to collect information about them. That way, you can send special offers on their birthday, or on the anniversary that they signed up for your small business loyalty program.
7. Give away a little swag
Order a little swag for your customers and give it away in-store with every purchase. It doesn’t have to be as generic as a free pen. Go for something like lip balm or a water bottle.
8. Send a handwritten note
In a digital world, handwritten notes show you care. They’re a great option for sales and service-based businesses. Send a thank you after a sale, or after completing a service for a first-time customer.
9. Treat a customer
Every once in awhile, give a loyal customer an unexpected discount at the checkout. Maybe you comp a customer’s coffee, or give a customer an extra 10 percent off just because.
10. Feature customers on social
Give customers a shout out on social media. Pick a “Fan of the Week” and feature a quick Q & A with them, or share their inspiring story like the Red Cross does with this post from a breast cancer survivor:
11. Free car wash
Set up a free car wash on a Saturday afternoon for your customers. Ask staff to volunteer for the event, or team up with a local sports team. Make a donation to the team in exchange for their help with the event.
12. Feature customers in-store
Pick a customer at random each week, snap their picture and make them the Customer of the Week. Hang their picture on a special bulletin board behind the register.
13. Meet with customers off site
Say thanks by taking a customer out to coffee or lunch. It’s not something you’ll do for every customer, but it’s a nice way to show appreciation for those special few who patronize your business frequently.
14. Host drawings for free stuff
Host customer appreciation giveaways. It can be as simple as asking customers to drop their business card in a bowl for a chance to win a free lunch, or order some cool lottery-like cards that give random customers a chance at a free item or a big discount.
15. Send a holiday gift
Consider giving customers a free gift around the holidays, or when your store reaches a certain milestone, like a 10-year anniversary.
16. After hours sale
Treat a small group of customers to an after hours sale. Let your new customers or your VIPs come in for an hour after you close to shop a special sale. It’s a great time to get to know your customers too. Learn their names and start conversations with them.
17. VIP treatment
Consider rolling out the red carpet – literally. Have extra staff on hand to cater to customers’ every whim for a day. For retailers, have employees welcome customers, offer them a beverage and carry their bags to their car. Make an event out of it, and treat each customer like a VIP.
18. Create a thank you video
Get the whole company involved and make a thank you video. Here’s a great example from email marketing company, Constant Contact. When you’re finished, share it on social media and play it on a TV in your store.
How do you show your gratitude to customers? Share your ideas in the comment section below.