One of the advantages of being a “small business” is that we are able to get to know our customers on a more personal basis and offer them a true appreciation for their business by making them feel important. The big boxed businesses do not seem to be able to provide that same personal touch or quality of customer service.
1) Remember their name (if you have a physical retail/service location). Sounds simple enough. It is amazing how shocking it seems when a person’s first name is used and the end result is always a smile. You have just made them feel important and appreciated for their business by taking the time to remember their first name. Learning about your customer’s likes, interests, and small pieces of their life allows for loyal and happy customers and also allows you to customize little thoughtful gifts ,letters, etc. just to say, “thanks.”
2) Hand-write a “thank you” letter. It only takes a few minutes and to have it hand written means that you have taken the time to show your appreciation for their business. It’s pretty easy to send out a computer generated template of a “thank you” letter – not to personal and does not have the same flair. Naturally the more customers you have the more difficult and time consuming but I think it would be worth the effort especially if you know your regulars.
3) Have a wall of fame. Take pictures or hang plaques up on the wall for your most loyal customers. Adding their title or company or something personal about each customer would make it even more about them and make them feel that without your support business would not be as successful.
4) Provide long-time customers with a surprise, one-time special service or product for free or at a reduced rate. The surprise element makes this special and from there on let them know in advance of exclusive sales that you may be offering and so forth.
5) Offer a loyalty program. Ensure that the customer is appreciated for their business as opposed to requiring them to spend an “x” amount of money to receive these freebies or deals.
One of the best ways and the simplest ways to show appreciation is to offer a sincere and genuine thank you. If it wasn’t for these fabulous customer’s there would be no job and no business. Period.
Do you have a customer appreciation or loyalty program at your own business? How do you show your customers some love? Belong to any programs that you’re a fan of? Feel free to share in the comments and inspire businesses to get on board!