Recently I spoke at a national conference, and a few days after I got home I got a surprise in the mail. A wonderful thank you letter from someone who attended my presentation. It was very much unexpected. I was grateful for the opportunity to speak at this conference and I certainly did not expect a total stranger to send me a hand written note thanking me for my presentation and telling me how much the information helped him. I was truly touched by the gesture. I was also remindedhow powerful this simple action can be in customer service.
Around this time of year, we like to tell our clients how much we appreciate them. In fact, many businesses have jumped the holiday card giving season by a full month and are now sending messages of thanks in tandem with Thanksgiving! I think this is great, but we should be thanking our customers year round.
It’s so easy to take loyal customers for granted. A purposeful approach to thanking customers year round helps to remind them that they are important to us always and especially when competitors are knocking on their door. It creates a dialogue and helps them to view you and your company as a valued partner, not just a vendor. Plus, it shows that you and your company are dedicated to customer appreciation and satisfaction.
So… showing appreciation is a great customer retention technique, and it feels really good too! Consider too that recent research suggests that is costs 5 times more to find a new customer than to retain an existing customer. So it feels good, is a great customer retention strategy, AND it makes financial sense to your organization. That’s a great triple play!
Here are a few ways to show your customers how much they mean to you and work THANK YOU into your organization:
- Pay attention to how many times you say ‘Thank you’ to your customers. Is it a hollow, robotic thank you, or is it genuine?
- Make it a point to give a heartfelt thank you (like a handwritten note, a special email or phone call) separate from conducting routine business or an order intake call.
- Don’t forget to thank your internal customers too. Back office folks, receptionists, and the people who clean your office are all potential advocates for your business.
- Keep track. Create a system for yourself so you don’t accidentally overlook someone. Note when you send a handwritten note or make a special call. You don’t want to forget someone, and you don’t want to do it so often that it begins to lack meaning.
I think you’d agree with me that the world could use a little more kindness. I’m going to make sure that in my corner of the world, the people who help make my business successful know how much I appreciate them. What are you going to do in your corner of the world?