I tweeted to 15 major brands yesterday asking them what they were most thankful for. Most of them actually did not reply (a definite engagement miss) but the ones who did were in solid agreement. Customers are what businesses are most thankful for, at least that’s what they say.
The best reply was from Glen at Walmart:
“@ClarabridgeClor Our awesome customers, of course! Thank YOU! -Glen”
Wow, there’s actually a person behind that Twitter handle.
Which brings me to the topic of this post. How can businesses actually thank their customers this holiday season and year round? Here are 5 simple ways:
1. Thank them when they engage on social media. When someone tweets at you or comments on your Facebook wall, it’s low-hanging fruit. Make sure your social teams are engaged in a two-way conversation and that they are thanking customers for their feedback and for simply being customers.
2. Personalize your message. You’re likely collecting customer data from many different sources, so use it! Make sure you have a way to view your customer data in a meaningful way so that you make your interactions more personal. Lowe’s tweeted back at me: “We’re thankful for our dedicated employees, Elizabeth! We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!” They took the time to look at my name, not just my Twitter handle, and it felt more personal than most of the other tweets. And even though they said they were thankful for their employees (not their customers), they indirectly thanked me by listening to me. (See tip #5 for more on this.)
3. Don’t ignore your strongest advocates. The temptation is to prioritize responses to negative feedback so that you don’t lose customers or have them share their negative experiences with others. But don’t neglect the customers who love your products and services. Make sure to thank customers who give you positive feedback, whether via a survey, a review site, or social media.
4. Say it with a smile. I recently went to a restaurant where the portion sizes were tiny and the meals were overpriced. When the server asked me how I liked my meal, I gave her my honest feedback. She said “let me see what I can do for you.” When she returned, she said to me, rather rudely and abruptly without the check in hand “You’re good. Have a good night.” She was essentially giving me a free meal, but the delivery of her message was actually a bit abrasive. I wasn’t looking for a free meal, I was just giving honest feedback. Moral of the story: train your front line staff to smile, and genuinely thank customers.
5. Listen to your customers. When customers provide feedback, they often don’t want anything in return other than to be heard. Thank them by letting them know you are listening and that you are addressing their concerns.
If you’re thankful for your customers, then make sure you are taking the time to thank them genuinely, personally, and year round.