This story is a version of a post published here. Posted with the author’s permission. All images credited to: Helprace
To build loyalty, it isn’t enough to say “thanks” once in a while or offer a discount here and there. In order to stay in the customer’s minds and hearts, you need to put in the extra effort.
We’ve reached out to a number of entrepreneurs who described to us how they thank their customers – and compiled 15 examples of how they do it. Take a look:
Send a handwritten note
The handwritten thank you note still remains a popular and easy way to quickly thank customers. But do you send it out with every order? Carolyn of Steve Henderson Fine Art shares,
We sell original paintings and thank all our clients by sending a small gift – generally a series of greeting cards with images of Steve’s paintings on them. We also incorporate a personal thank you letter in every (extremely well packaged) parcel.
Share insider knowledge
Ryan of Phonewagon claims it’s crucial to keep giving to your prospect – whether it’s a recommendation to a potential client, an insider statistic or a piece of data.
Everyone can build a relationship with a customer by playing golf with them. When it comes to getting expert advice on software for example, where do they go? Have something other than your product they can trust you with.
Send them weekly snacks
image source: Helprace
Everyone knows how hard it is to please a new client vs. an older one. To Kate from San Francisco’s GrubMarket, BOTH are equally important! Her answer? The “Taste of Love” program:
New customers get gifts of full size products with a note from us. For regular customers, we put in new foods we carry. One week this may be eggs and bagels for a weekend brunch, another this may be fresh baked bread and baby carrots to build out a lunch!
Give a birthday gift
The strategy of sending birthday gifts is paying off in droves, according to Robin from NJ-based The Thank Tank. Here’s how she does it:
Annually, we review birthday lists. We write personal notes on note cards with corporate logos, wrap and ship cookies so each package arrives at everyone’s home in time for their birthday. It’s always neat & unexpected.
Promote them on your site
Janet from Pet Stuff Resale of Houston showcases happy customers with their pets – an effortless yet lovely gesture all the same:
When clients bring their pet for a nail trim or when buying pet supplies from my business, I take their picture and post it in my page. Even guys like it:)
Give a birthday gift
Do you have that one customer that really stands out in your mind? Here’s what Jessica from Arizona’s Killough’s Kustoms did to return the favor:
I had a customer who purchased multiple items & spread the word about my business on multiple occasions. I wanted to thank her in a big way so I made an extra decor piece as a surprise totally customized to her & a gift certificate to us.
Customer appreciation day
For many businesses it’s dually important to network: not only to show customers you care, but to get your name out and gain referrals. A particularly useful tip from Greco Realtors:
Connect with past, but more importantly potential clients. Invite everyone you know, and don’t hold back – whether it’s a banquet hall, conference party, or even your house. They’ll remember your hospitality and generosity.
Invite them to your work
If you got customers close by, why not schedule them in for a lunchtime talk? Chicago’s James Nelson is quick to point out how easy it is to organize something like this:
We have a small office, so it’s easy to invite a customer for a talk or presentation on a topic of interest. The benefit is two-fold: You’ll understand what they do better and they’ll teach your team a thing or two!
Give to a cause in their name
A kitchen and bathroom remodeling firm from Seattle, Baywolf Dalton likes to donate to food banks on behalf of their past clients. Nancy shares:
I had donation notes sent to my clients from Rotary First Harvest with how many servings of fruits / vegetables our gift in their name has provided. $50 provides about 2,000.00 servings of fresh produce to people in need in our area.
Send them cookies
Megan and Amber from NYC’s Visual Country graphics do a simple cookie delivery for their clients. Cheap, effective and something that keeps the company “fresh” without being over the top.
We send hand delivered homemade cookies for clients every Valentine’s Day. Something nice to snack on and a simple thank you. We package cookies with a hand written note, don’t ask for business, just a little hello & thanks for choosing us!
Portray them in your blog
Are you dealing with B2Bs? What better way to say thanks than an offer to interview them or share their guest post on your blog. Rachel Go from Hubstaff shares:
Guest blogging is great for capturing external backlinks to help with SEO. The more backlinks you have from authoritative websites, the more trustworthy your domain will be seen as by Google.
A surprise with the product
Sometimes it pays to surprise. Solomadrid from MMA Somnia, a martial arts consultancy – knows how to motivate, leave the customer smiling and pack a punch at the same time (no pun intended):
Let’s say a lady named Jane from Manhattan buys a pair of our boxing gloves. First, I’ll draw a very basic (usually stick figure, hah) of Jane wearing boxing gloves like she is ready to box. In the background I’ll draw the Manhattan skyline. Above it I’ll write “First Manhattan, next the world!”
Collect & implement ideas
You can simply say thanks by listening and building a better product. Vitaliy of Helprace, a customer engagement software sums it up well:
Everyone who’s engaged with your product has a story to tell. Usually, that story is told through feedback. Customers will know that you care (that their voice matters) when you’re there to listen, take that into account and build what they need.
Celebrate their milestone
This one requires quick thinking, but the payoffs can be huge. Here’s how Lynel from San Diego’s Brown Safe Mfg turned around a customer service situation with an expecting mother:
We received a large order from a woman who was expecting her first child. We were running behind with her order and couldn’t get it to her in time. We sent a gift basket with hand-picked baby items – the gesture turned an upset client into a raving fan who has referred a number of her friends.
A gift for a loved one
Bryan from GreenPal, an “Uber-Style” lawn care service came up with a strategy to ensure customers tell their friends and keep coming back. And it works like a charm:
On sign up, our customers indicate if they have pets or not. If there are any dogs, we send dog bones along with a thank you card. Not only is this cheap but it lets our customers know that we are listening and that we care. We follow up with an email.
Thanking is easier said than done
Thanking is literally easier said than done – your front-lines employees need to be given the tools and freedom to make these decisions. Here’s how you can empower your support employees to surprise customers.