November 22, 2022 — Like a lot of small business owners, you probably wish your customers knew how much you appreciate them right? Not that the “thank yous” you send out regularly after a job or project aren’t sincere, but there’s something about those extra gestures that speak to appreciation.
A lot of companies opt for end-of-year or holiday-time gift baskets but really any time of year is a good time to show some appreciation for your customers.
Good for Business
Your gestures of appreciation can mean a lot to a customer. And it can be good for business too, according to Bloomtools, an Australian-owned developer of websites and internet marketing tools for small to medium-sized businesses.
Or put another way, a lack of appreciation for your customers is bad for business.
According to a statistic cited by Bloomtools, 68 percent of people will stop doing business with you due to a “perceived indifference.”
“This means 7 out of every 10 of your customers will leave you because they perceive you don’t care,” writes Tracey Voyce in a blog on the Bloomtools website.
Ways To Show Appreciation
Even if you prefer your occasion-themed gifts, such as during the holiday season, that’s fine as well. However, also consider adding gestures at different times of the year or changing it up a little.
Here are a few more ideas – other than gift-giving – that you could use to show your customers appreciation any time of the year.
Send and/or post a thank you video
Shoot a short video with your phone and send it to your customer. You could post it on social media or send it via email.
“What a great way to thank your customers, by uploading a 30-second video with a personal thank you statement to Twitter or Facebook, and tagging the customer with it,” writes Small Business Trends founder and CEO Anita Campbell in a blog on the publication’s website.
Campbell, also owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, adds: “Doesn’t cost a thing except for your time.”
Start a loyalty program
Set up a loyalty program that would work best for your type of business.
“Nothing says ‘thank you’ to your small business’s best customers like a solid customer loyalty program,” writes Georgia McIntyre, manager of content marketing at Fundera, in a leadership advice blog on the Fundera website.
It could be a program based on the number of purchases or a points for dollars kind of system. For example, if you own an ice cream store or coffee shop, you could give customers a free scoop or small coffee on their 10th purchase or after 50 points.
If you’re not ready to set up a formal customer loyalty program – which could result in giving freebies to a lot of customers – McIntyre suggests focusing on the best customers, a more sporadic version.
For example, when you run a sale, offer a bigger discount to some of your long-term customers.
Or if you’re a service business, give free product upgrades to your longest, most loyal customers.
Give a discount
This is one of the best and easiest ways to show customers you appreciate their business, and it helps generate more loyalty.
“There is nothing customers love more than a discount, even a small one,” writes Michael Zhou, senior VP of Business Intelligence Development, in article for Small Business Daily. “Customer loyalty discounts show that you value your customers over your bottom line.”
Refer their business
If any of your customers also own a company, then make it a point to refer customers their way.
You can show your appreciation for their business by supporting their business, writes Laura Haulton in a blog for Boostability, an online marketing service provider.
“Go beyond simply choosing them over their competitors — you can recommend their products and services in your store, refer your customers to them, mention them on social media, or even reach out about collaborating on a future event,” she writes.
Send a handwritten note
Yes, it’s old school but customers still appreciate this personal gesture. And it’s a great option to say “thank you” if you’re on a limited budget, vs. the cost of a gift or an appreciation event.
If you have a few loyal customers you want to thank for their business, you could send notes to all of them at once. Or time notes with special occasions or projects. A handwritten note can feel more personalized than an email, making customers feel appreciated.
Host a customer appreciation event
Essentially, you’re throwing a little party for your customers. This can be a bit expensive, but remember you’re rewarded with more loyalty.
Keep in mind, an event is really only viable if your customers are focused in a community, neighborhood or a small town.
If you do opt for this gesture, there are several options. You could time it for a holiday, end-of-year appreciation or maybe a product launch event. It could be a casual thing, maybe a happy hour or a lunch-time event.