Being thankful to your customers is not only nice for your clients, but also good for business. In fact, according to research done by Kissmetrics, 98% of customers say that customer experience was among the top three factors in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.
If you are not grateful to your customers, then you're doing it wrong. After all, without your customers, you won't be running a business for long! That's why great customer service and an excellent customer experience are of critical importance.
People in the US often think of Thanksgiving and the holiday season in general as a time to say thanks to their customers. That's a good thing. But it's an even better practice to show your customers how grateful you are to them all year long.
Being thankful isn't just about holding a sale or sending a blanket note that is the same for every customer. Here are six simple ways you can personalize contact with customers and strengthen relationships through meaningful connection.
1. Send A Personal Email or Physical Thank You Note
Send your customers a short, personalized “thank you” note. Note that I'm not suggesting that you send an email blast or pre-printed note. I’m talking about a genuine, from the heart “thank you” that shows you know who they are and you appreciate their business.
Hand write your note if you're sending a card. And if you're sending an email, make a reference to something that shows you are writing it to an individual, not a mailing list.
2. Send a Gift Or Discount Card
Gifts that are personalized to your customer are wonderful. Gifts can make you stand out from the crowd, even with executives. However, don't make your gift a cheap piece of junk. If you can't afford something nice, then just send a card, as mentioned above.
Also, if you send a gift or discount card, write a sincere note to include in the package. Don't come off as "sending to the masses." Again, keep it personal.
3. Use The "Old Fashioned" Phone
The phone is a great way to connect with your customers. It humanizes you, putting a voice behind the email name or social media handle.
Tell your customers why you appreciate their business and them as human beings. Have a conversation that doesn't even touch on your new offerings or products. Instead, be there as a trusted advisor and friend.
4. Pay Attention
Listen to - and really hear - what your customers have to say. Respond in a personal and meaningful way, whatever channel you might use. Even if you have a script for your agents, allow them to move off script as it makes sense to keep the conversation helpful, relevant, and personal.
Note that really listening to what people have to say is a good practice for communicating with employees as well, and people in general. When you listen to others, you shouldn't be thinking about what you will say next or typing on your computer or phone while they're talking. Instead, take the time to focus in on the meaning of what you're being told and ask questions that show you are really listening and that you care. That's the best way to forge strong relationships.
5. Respect Your Customers
Provide an outstanding customer experience all year long. When they are confused, guide them through processes. When there are issues, hear their concerns and respond in a respectful way.
Be honest and forthright, following through with a promise to help and not promising something you can't deliver.
6. Remember We Are All People
Your customers are people. Treat them like human beings, not numbers. Moreover, remember that while self-service options are great, you should always have options for a more active, personal approach.
Your company is filled with people too. Show your customers that you can relate to customers in a non-robotic, natural way. And treat your employees like people, both because it's the right thing to do and because happy employees are more likely to make happy customers.
Even More Reasons To Be Thankful To Your Customers
The bottom line? Being thankful pays off in both brownie points with your customers and business profitability.
Do you have ideas for how to say thanks to your customers? What is your business doing to improve customer experience? Let me know via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me up at @HollyChessman.
Looking for more proof that being grateful to your customers is worth it? Take a look at this infographic from Kissmetrics and see the facts for yourself.
About the Author
Holly runs Holly Chessman Marketing, a premier marketing firm that provides strategic advice, digital services, and social media guidance and education. Named one of New England’s Top 40 Influencers in Content and Digital Marketing, Holly fully understands the power of online engagement. She is passionate about implementing marketing strategies that result in quick growth, rapid revenue and happy customers. Holly has worked for a variety of tech companies, as well as spearheaded her own marketing consulting firm. She is regularly quoted in a variety of major publications. Holly is also not afraid to embrace her nerdy side (as evidenced by her love of Neil Gaiman and her “talking” TARDIS).