It’s estimated that over two thirds of customers will fail to return if they feel unappreciated. This is probably the number one reason businesses lose customers.
So when speaking at a professional services group members meeting this week I was surprised by their reaction to the idea of saying thank you. To them this felt uncomfortable.
But how you say thanks is less important. It’s the fact you do something – anything – to show you appreciate your customer choosing to do business with you over and above all the other people or businesses they could have chosen.
What do you do to say thanks to your loyal customers so they feel appreciated?
Here are 5 things you could be doing if you’re not already…
1. Simply saying thank you
The easiest way to do this is of course is a sincere thank you in person.
But depending on the nature of your business and the value and relationship with each individual customer you could follow up with a simple thank you message.
By this I mean a personalised physical thank you note. Some think in this web based age this is out dated; but how would your customers react to receiving a handwritten personal note in the post, rather than another bland email clogging up their inbox?
It might be more appropriate to say thank you to a whole team of people. I’ve yet to find a team who doesn’t appreciate a special treat they can share in the office over coffee.
If your relationship is an ongoing one find an ‘excuse’ to make a thank you gesture. An anniversary, perhaps; a proud moment; moving house; or even to mark a special date in your own calendar, such as achieving an award; launching a new service; etc.
Which brings us nicely onto the next item…
Give them privileged access to services, events, information or facilities which are only available to existing or your most valued customers, and not available to new customers. The more exclusive the better!
How does it make you feel when you see promotions offering special deals for new customers that aren’t available to you as an existing customer?
Make your loyal customers feel valued and special. Think of it like a members club, that delivers real benefits to members.
3. Remember them
Not only addressing your customers by name (although don’t under estimate the impact of this, especially when you aren’t expecting it). It’s also about remembering their preferences.
Do they have any particular likes and dislikes; special requirements, or preferences?
Do we know their important dates? How do they take their coffee? Remembering simple details will always be appreciated.
Record personal details and any special requirements so the service they receive is consistent whoever attends to them.
4. Ask for feedback
I know I’ve already mentioned this recently on this blog, but I’ll say it again…
Never take your regulars for granted; ask for their feedback and resolve any shortfalls quickly.
Problems or challenges are often your opportunity to shine and leave a positive lasting impression if dealt with positively. Now’s a chance to exceed expectations.
Face to face will always win over a questionnaire.
Ask customers what they like and what (if anything) disappoints; learn from this and continually improve. Customers appreciate you asking for their opinions as long as you follow through.
Keep them updated to demonstrate you’ve been listening. What better excuse to invite them back to show the changes you’ve implemented?
5. Show you care
Be attentive to your customers’ individual needs and specific circumstances. Listen, engage and take time to show your genuine interest in them.
Take every opportunity to give spontaneous and unexpected little extras that they won’t get from your competitors.
These may be totally unrelated to your products or services, but simply something you know they’d appreciate. They’ve mentioned something in passing they love, but can’t’ get hold of it; they have a problem in some other aspect of their life, but you happen to see something you think might help; you know it’s a loved one’s birthday and you happen to have something you think they’d enjoy…
Pay attention to detail, be consistent, do that little bit extra when needed, so your customers always feel appreciated.
I’d love to hear what do you do to say thanks to your loyal customers?