If you have ever been retweeted by someone you admired, you know how much a small, simple gesture can mean. If you are going to take the time to thank your customers for their loyalty, you might as well make it count.
Don’t have time for a three-course meal in the middle of the workday?
No worries. We asked nine entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:
“What’s a fun, entirely virtual way to reward loyal customers?”
Here’s what YEC community members had to say:
1. VIP Clubs
“We’ve helped clients set up VIP clubs for their best customers where the customers receive exclusive perks such as free shipping or special discounts. Model companies include Amazon (Prime) and Zappos (VIP members), which do a fantastic job of recognizing and incentivizing their best customers.” ~ Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes
2. Virtual Lunch
“If you can’t meet clients face to face, then video conferencing works. But it gets old — fast. A great way to reward your clients is to “do lunch” virtually. Call in a delivery order to their favorite restaurant and give them a special treat instead of a boring call.” ~ Steven Place, InvestingWithOptions.com
3. A Phone Call
“As simple as it sounds, customers are blown away when they receive a phone call from us thanking them for their loyalty. Even if each staff member just makes a few a day or a few a week, it goes a long way in making a human connection. ” ~ Shaun King, Upfront
“If your customers have been loyally paying you, then rewarding them with even a small discount can sometimes produce huge amounts of goodwill. Receiving something of real tangible value that they weren’t expecting is the easiest way to delight customers, and depending on your business model, this could also make you more money over the long term.” ~ Liam Martin, Staff.com
5. Amazon Gift Cards
“I’ve rewarded loyalty by emailing Amazon gift cards, and people love it. You can buy anything on Amazon so it’s a very useful gift, and you can include a thank you note.” ~ Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World
“If you run a B2B business, interview your customer and feature what they do. They’ll appreciate the extra marketing promotion.” ~ Wade Foster, Zapier
7. Final Four Brackets
“We’ve asked loyal customers to make final four picks and enter their picks into brackets where we give a cash prize to the winner. Our clients who are real sports enthusiasts enjoy the competition and appreciate the reward if they win.” ~ Enrico Palmerino, SmartBooks
8. Recognition on Your Website
“People love seeing their name or photo in print. Sometimes just bringing them to the forefront and letting the world see how great they are is more of a reward than anything of monetary value. For instance, highlight them in a blog post about how they’ve grown their business using your service.” ~ Sean Ogle, Location 180, LLC
“Customers are motivated by more than money. Introducing badges and recognizing customers for milestones they accomplish is a simple way to reward them virtually. Credit customers when they are doing a good job.” ~ Ben Rubenstein, Yodle
Thank You Photo via Shutterstock
I submit that a hand-written note with an Amazon gift card would go further than a digital one. Actually, most of these digital thank yous could be easily done with a more “real” touch that carries more weight in our all-digital world.
A short yet meaningful and personal thank you email still works too. Giving special discounts to loyal customer is another great way to tell them how appreciated they are. It’s also like hitting two birds with one stone. You’re saying thank you and at the same time selling your product. It’s a win-win situation for both the business owner and the customer.
Ooooh, of all of the above, I like the idea of a virtual lunch the best. I also like the phone call. It’s simple and sweet – just a human voice relaying appreciation and acknowledgement to another.
Quite often business owners think the relationship with the customer is over as soon as the money exchanges hands. But these simple suggestions you gave to show your appreciation to loyal customers, will not only encourage them to buy more from you more frequently (depending on what you sell), but also to speak favourably about you to others. Ain’t nothing like a word-of-mouth recommendation.
Great article! As a Virtual Assistant, I work with nearly all my clients ‘virtually’. I have a blog post on this topic on my website called “6 Ideas to Demonstrate Customer Appreciation”. The post can be found here: http://upscaleyourbusiness.com/6-ideas-to-demonstrate-customer-appreciation/.
Just read your article. I like the ideas you came up with, particularly the one about the company making a donation to their client’s favourite charity. That’s a really good one.