…+1 bonus to work on later!

What is the one thing that a business absolutely needs to be successful? Customers. Yes, of course, a business can be unsuccessful even with customers, but without the loyalty and dedication of your customers, your business or service could not exist.

Why then, do we not take the time to ensure that the most valuable asset to our business, knows how much they are valued? We all have too much on our plates, but let’s take a look at a few ideas to let your customers know that they are appreciated today, without requiring a lot of time, effort, or resources. Let’s get started!

1. Really Impress Just One Customer

Have you ever experienced incredible customer service? Whether it was completely over the top, or just one person going beyond their call of duty, the impact it can have on your day — let alone on your view of, and relationship with, that company — is huge.

This one requires a little imagination and a lot of courage, but think about how you could make one customer feel so special that they’d brag about their experience all over social media? The idea you come up with could solve a problem your customer is having or just plain make them feel amazing. Take a few minutes and really go above and beyond what your job requires with one customer today.

Tip: Whether your business is based on loyalty or referrals, impeccable service for even just one customer, can spread like wildfire — especially with the interconnectedness of all of your customers (and possible future customers) through today’s social media. Use this to your advantage. Go out of your way to really cater to, or impress, one customer, and watch it ripple throughout your social network! Need some inspiration? You gotta read this article.

2. Gift a Book

Gratitude - Brkich Design Group - Pittsburgh, PAWe all have books that have influenced us in one way or another. Why not give one as a gift to a customer? This small, but meaningful gesture allows your customers to see what you’re all about. It certainly puts you on display as a company that thinks of others and at the same time, it gives you something to talk about with that customer.

This happened to me from a sales representative at Freshbooks. They were interviewing their customers to learn a little bit more about our industry (a nice gesture in itself). A week after my interview, I received a package. It was a handwritten note, a t-shirt, and a business book. During our call, I had mentioned being obsessed with reading inspirational business books and he thought I’d appreciate a new book. Whoa. I, of course, told everyone I knew.

Tip: Be sure to keep our first tip in mind and jot a little thank you note in the front of the book. Your customer will know that it was meant just for them and for years to come they will always remember the origin of this gift.

3. Handwrite a Thank You Note

Sapling Press

Sapling & Sons carries great letterpress cards and unique gifts! You must check them out!

Do you remember the last time you received an old-fashioned hand-written thank you note? What about even the last time you got a piece of mail that wasn’t a bill? A nice, hand-written gesture can make anyone feel special!

It’s probably been a while since you wrote a note to your customers and other businesses would probably answer the same way. So, imagine how you’d stand out if you were the one business that was doing it? If you’re feeling really daring, add a book as mentioned in #2.

Tip: Make sure your note is personal for added impact. The little bit of extra time is worth it! Everyone loves receiving snail mail!

4. Surprise a Customer with a Free Upgrade

Have you ever been waiting for a flight, to hear your name called up to the ticket counter, and surprised with a free upgrade to first class? Only once have I had that experience. The loyalty I felt, just from that one encounter is huge. I never book with another airline anymore. Never.

Think about your business. Is there something that you already have, that is going to waste, (think: empty first-class seat) that you could provide for free to a random or loyal customer as a surprise? If not, is there anything fairly painless for you to give away that will make a huge impact on your customer’s end? A surprise is a great, easy way to treat a loyal customer or to turn a random customer into a loyal one.

Tip: Upgrades can be as quick as one-time free-shipping and as temporary as a month-long membership upgrade. Do what makes your customers feel rewarded for their loyalty, but also what makes sense for your business.

5. Deliver Excellent Customer Service Every Day

There have been so few times in my life that I have experienced truly excellent customer service, that I remember them individually. The number one encounter I remember was with a waitress at a local diner in South Carolina who had optimism and positivity like no one I have ever met. I woke up tired and bummed that I had to go back to work the next day, but the woman that waited on me had the bubbly happiness of an eight-year-old on their birthday. This woman was so enthusiastic and happy to help, that it was incredibly infectious.

Thinking about the interaction I had with her still brings a smile to my face. It took little to no extra effort on her behalf to allow me to have such an incredible experience, during such a routine exchange. Make sure that when customers look back on interactions with your company (even the routine daily ones) that they reflect in a positive light. Be someone’s hero in the face of adversity through excellent customer service and they will be sure to return to you to do business when things are going well.

Tip: A positive attitude is not enough, you have to know your stuff. In one survey, 40% of customers evaluating the service they received said it could be improved simply by increasing the business or product knowledge of the person helping them.

+1 to work on later:
Reward Your Most Loyal Customers

As a customer, what rewards programs do you belong to? One as vast and as large as Amazon Prime, with an annual fee that gives you unlimited viewing options on their movies and television shows and two-day free-shipping on thousands of products? Or one as minute and specific as a free grocery store rewards card that discounts your fuel at one particular gas station? If you are like me, you probably belong to both, and as a customer, you value each for what they are.

A rewards program does not have to be complex or high stakes for a customer to feel valued. Something as simple as a small discount on a customer’s birthday allows them to feel appreciated. Sometimes it IS just the thought that counts. Everyone knows that you are trying to run a profitable business, but they will always appreciate any time, effort, or resources, you spend on making them feel valued.

Tip: Know your business. Sometimes a referral discount or bonus is more effective for your customer base and business growth than a loyalty rewards program (think: tax attorney).

Not that there are not a lot of other ways to thank your customers, but hopefully this gave you a couple quick and easy, yet effective, ideas to get going! Remember, the time and resources spent on helping ensure your customer knows they are appreciated is always a good investment! Think about where you would be without them!