Embracing ways to show clients your appreciation is essential in recognizing them as more than just business accounts. They are individuals with real thoughts and emotions. This year, commit to demonstrating a deeper appreciation for your loyal clients, enhancing both your connections and their experiences with your brand.
The Significance of Customer Appreciation
In the world of business, where a great deal of effort is devoted to product development and other critical tasks, the role of customer appreciation cannot be overstated. This aspect, often overshadowed by other business activities, is crucial for sustaining and growing a customer base.
Data from the U.S. Small Business Administration reveals a startling reality: 68 percent of clients part ways with a business due to a perceived lack of care.
This figure dramatically overshadows the 14 percent who leave due to dissatisfaction with the product. These statistics underscore the paramount importance of customer appreciation in maintaining the health and vitality of a business.
It’s a clear indicator that customers place high value on emotional connections and feeling valued, often more so than on the products or services themselves. The benefits of high customer appreciation include:
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- Higher retention rates. As the previous data point shows, customers who feel appreciated are much more likely to become repeat customers. They have a positive association with your brand and will come to you with their future needs.
- Increase profits. It’s not just that these customers come back and do business with you again — they also spend more. Research shows loyal customers purchase products and services 90 percent more frequently, while spending 60 percent more with each transaction.
- Positive word of mouth. As you know from experience, customer acquisition can be expensive. There are multiple stages involved in moving people from awareness to purchase and the dollars quickly add up. But do you know what doesn’t cost a thing? Positive word of mouth. When your customers are satisfied with the value you offer and feel appreciated, they’re apt to tell their friends and generate organic referrals and leads for you.
- Benefit of the doubt. Finally, customers who feel appreciated are much more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt in situations where you fail to meet expectations. Whether it’s a late delivery, order screw-up or an interaction that’s uncharacteristic of your company, they’ll give you a second chance (as opposed to immediately going to your closest competitor).
The desire for appreciation is in our DNA. “As human beings, we long for connection. During that precious moment when someone sees us, praises us, or validates us, there’s a spontaneous connection that can arise — if we’re open to it,” psychologist John Amodeo explains. “Feeling appreciated strengthens the bond between people. It helps satisfy our longing for healthy attachment.”
While customers certainly seek and find more meaningful benefits in the relationships they have with family, friends and romantic interests, the appreciation that your business exudes goes a long way towards establishing a profitable and sustainable business connection.
4 Ways to Show Clients Your Appreciation
Every customer is different. Some people find meaning in tangible expressions of appreciation, while others simply want to hear you say a kind word.
Regardless of who your customers are and what they prefer, here are some practical steps you can take to show your clients that you appreciate their business in 2023.
1. Host an Event
There are plenty of subtle things you can do — and we’ll discuss those in further detail in the following points — but sometimes the best strategy is to do it big. In B2B companies, or small businesses that have a very specific and localized customer base, hosting a customer appreciation event is an awesome way to leave a lasting impression.
The key is to look at customer appreciation events in the same way that you would a dinner party you’re hosting in your own home. Guests are to be viewed as special friends, not customers you’re trying to close.
When asked about her New Year’s resolutions to be a better party host in 2023, For Your Party’s Rachel Anderson says, “Be better at following up with guests after the party and thank them for coming.” Anderson’s coworker Emily believes you should, “Put effort into the details, such as handwritten place cards or thank you notes to make guests feel special.”
Execution is the most important aspect of hosting a customer appreciation event — and success is found in the details. Be intentional about every little aspect and leave nothing to chance.
2. Personalize Your Services
Personalization of products and services is another way you can show your customers that you appreciate them. Not only do personalized features play to a customer’s likes, interests and needs — but the mere fact that you went through extra effort says a lot about your brand.
Personalization can happen in a number of ways. It could be something as simple as creating a custom color scheme that coincides with a client’s logo, or something as complex as tweaking software code to integrate a custom feature that doesn’t exist in the standard product offering.
3. Send Hand-Written Notes
“In today’s world, instant communication through emails, social media and text messages is commonplace, while receiving a handwritten card or letter in the mail is rare,” one customer engagement expert believes. “Even though technology has changed the way we communicate, receiving a handwritten, personalized note still touches our emotions in a way instant communication tools can only dream about.”
This year, make it a habit within your organization to send handwritten notes to customers. While a long, detailed note is sometimes useful, you don’t have to spend a ton of time on them. A simple note like this works well:
“Hey, Dave! I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your business. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work alongside you this year and I hope we’ll continue to do so for years to come. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.”
The process of writing this note, sticking it in an envelope, and dropping it off in the mailbox takes less than five minutes, but imagine how much more appreciation your customers would feel this year if you wrote one handwritten note per day.
4. Launch a Loyalty Program
While loyalty programs ultimately end up benefiting your business more than anything else, they also have the added advantage of making customers feel appreciated. As you look for unique ways to engage your top customers this year, consider launching some sort of loyalty program that rewards them for their repeat business.
What you don’t want to do is blindly launch a loyalty program. You’ll waste a ton of resources and do very little to move the needle on customer appreciation. Take your time and study what successful brands like Starbucks and Amazon do and you’ll learn a lot.
Ways to Show Clients Your Appreciation Strategies Checklist
Enhancing customer trust and loyalty is pivotal for business growth. Use this checklist to ensure your customer appreciation strategies are comprehensive and effective:
|Host Appreciation Events
|Personalize, focus on details.
|Tailor offerings to customer needs.
|Send Hand-Written Notes
|Express gratitude personally.
|Launch a Loyalty Program
|Reward repeat business.
|Engage in Regular Communication
|Seek feedback, maintain dialogue.
|Recognize Customer Milestones
|Celebrate key moments with personalized acknowledgments.
|Offer Exclusive Promotions
|Provide special deals for loyal customers.
|Prioritize Exceptional Service
|Ensure positive customer interactions.
Make Next Year the Year of the Customer
Reflecting on the history of your business, there are likely years that stand out as being more about the business’s needs than those of your customers. Conversely, there are probably times when customer needs were prioritized, leading to greater success and profitability.
This pattern underscores an important lesson: years focused on customers tend to be more fruitful. As you gear up for the upcoming year, commit to making it the ‘Year of the Customer’.
This involves more than just a change in mindset; it requires a tangible strategy for customer appreciation. Develop a plan that enables your team to engage with customers in a deeply personal way. This strategy should go beyond standard customer service practices, aiming to create meaningful, lasting connections.
t’s about recognizing and valuing the individual behind each transaction, transforming customers into loyal advocates for your brand. Such a strategy might involve personalized communications, tailored experiences, or special rewards that demonstrate genuine appreciation and understanding of your customers.
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