What would you be willing to do to keep your customers? Would you be willing to say a simple “thank you”?
What will not showing customer appreciation cost your business?
Customer service expert Shep Hyken highlights the results of a 2018 study that showed that businesses large and small lose $75 billion per year to poor customer service. It’s a staggering number, but it shows that many businesses are failing to create an experience that leads to increased customer loyalty.
It is, of course, important to create a good product and deliver that product on time in order to keep your customers happy. But beyond that, letting your customers know that you appreciate them is an important way to keep customers from switching to other businesses.
That report (originally published by New Voice Media) goes on to say that 66 percent of customers would be more loyal to a company that provides good service, 65 percent would be willing to recommend the company to others, and 48 percent would spend more money.
Letting your customers know that you appreciate them won’t take the place of a poor overall experience, but it does help develop an emotional connection to a company that can go a long way toward keeping them loyal.
But how do you let your customers know that you appreciate them?
Send a handwritten note
When was the last time you got a handwritten note about anything, other than perhaps a wedding invitation? It’s unexpected, and that’s why a handwritten note remains one of the most effective ways to capture someone’s attention.
One of Palo Alto Software’s (makers of Outpost) team members, Kateri Kosta, was surprised when she received an actual handwritten note from the online site where she buys her cat’s prescription food. The note mentioned her by name, said that they understood that she had choices about where she made her purchases, and said that the company appreciated her for being a loyal customer. And, it wasn’t written by a robot made to look like a handwritten note.
Could you send each of your customers a postcard if you just wrote one a day? One a week? The winter holidays are a traditional time for sending cards to friends and family. Why not send one to your customers too? Start now to write out cards for the coming year-end.
Have a little fun by creating your own quirky holiday to celebrate on a date of your choosing, or choose from some holidays people have already made up. For instance, January 21 is National Hug Day—that could just be the perfect day to give your customers “a hug” of appreciation through a handwritten note.
Start a loyalty program
The customers that buy from you regularly are likely to stick with you if they are getting a great deal and they feel appreciated.
A loyalty program that rewards long-time customers or repeat business means you win, and they get constant reminders of why they like your products.
Send a coffee card
If you can’t meet with a customer in person, send a coffee card with their next order. Who wouldn’t like to open their package and find a prepaid coffee card that they can use to treat themselves to a drink?
Send an actual card, or send a code through email. Either way, they’ll thank you for it.
Show social media love
Tag your customers and show your appreciation for them on their favorite social media platform. Share their names or their brands, and let everyone know how great their business is and how much you appreciate them.
Offer a spontaneous upgrade or bonus
Next time your customers order something from you, throw in a bonus or upgrade without them asking for it.
If you’re offering a discount on something, email your most loyal customers an even deeper discount. It’s pretty common to offer new customers nice discounts, but don’t neglect the ones that keep coming back.
Offer a tour or other “customer appreciation” event
If you have a brick-and-mortar building, chances are your customers don’t get to access the areas where the work really goes on. Why not host an event letting your customers take a tour? If your customer base isn’t local, invite people to become new customers by offering a free car wash, or donuts.
Even if your customers have you on auto-subscription and they don’t even think about their orders from you anymore, like Kateri did with her cat’s prescription diet, that occasional human connection with you, your team, and your business is important. In fact, the more automated your business is, the more likely your customers would appreciate knowing that an actual person, or happy team, is behind their favorite products.
You want to keep your customers, and in order to do that, you want to keep your customers happy. People might not always remember what they bought from you as time goes on, but they will remember the way you and your team made them feel. Make them feel important, and they’ll be more likely to stay with you.
Posted in Customer Service