Thanksgiving is this Thursday in the US and it’s a time for reflecting on who and what we are thankful for in our lives, and hopefully expressing that gratitude somehow, in some way.
We have similar events to thank our customers such as National Customer Service Week (first full week of October) and CX Day (first Tuesday of October). Companies also have their own ways of thanking customers such as conducting customer appreciation day events, giving discounts for future sales, rewarding loyal customers, and the like.
I’ve often wondered why we aren’t thankful for customers and show customer appreciation every day.
I believe it comes down to a couple of reasons.
First, we take customers for granted. We assume they will always be with us, but that’s not the case. Consider this statistic:
According to a study by the Rockefeller Group, 68 percent of customers will leave because they think you do not care about them.
Second, we get so caught up in that “wow” moment of delighting our customers, that we forget to simply meet their needs and expectations. It’s not difficult – listen and engage with your customers so you can give them what they want.
Thankful Companies = Successful Companies
A favorite quote of mine by Yogi Bhajan is “gratitude is the open door to abundance”.
When we live life with sincere gratitude and appreciation, we’re present to life and attract more of what we want. When we focus on what we lack, we create blockages and limitations.
Saying “thank you”, genuinely with empathy, feels good. It feels good not only to the person receiving the thanks, but also the person who’s offering the thanks.
There are studies that show gratitude leads to happiness, boosts employee morale and increases productivity.
Similarly, when a company shows appreciation to its customers, those customers will show their appreciation to the company.
Studies continue to show that customers are more devoted to a business that invests in customer appreciation. #CXChat
— Annette Franz, CCXP (@annettefranz) November 15, 2017
Clients who feel appreciated respond with their purse – they stay with you longer, spend more – and refer your business more often. Customer appreciation directly impacts the bottom line! #CXChat
— Sue Duris (@SueDuris) November 15, 2017
When you show appreciation to your customers and personalize that experience for them, they know you are investing in them. They get the value you provide and are willing to pay more and stick with you in order to have that experience. Because they stick with you and you continue to build the relationship with them and learn what they want, they become easier to service.
As customers become more comfortable with you and trust that you will deliver on what they want and give them a consistent experience, they will spend more with you. And, because they’re so comfortable with you, they’ll be your advocate and refer your business more often.
According to RJMetrics, top customers spend 5x more per order, make 4x more purchases, and spend 30x more than the average customer. So, it definitely pays to appreciate your customers because in the long run, they’ll be loyal to you.
Yet, customer appreciation is not a one-time thing. It’s a continuous activity that you must engage in consistently and frequently. So, show appreciation to your customers every chance you get.
What Can Companies Do To Improve Customer Appreciation?
Make Customer Appreciation A Mindset
Make customer appreciation a key tenet of your customer experience strategy. That might require a shift in your existing strategy and customer experience initiatives.
As is the case with all things customer experience, it is an organization-wide activity that should be championed and driven by the C-suite and embraced by every employee.
Insights you have identified from your voice of the customer program data is a good place to start. Determine what changes you can make and implement them.
Just like great customer experience begins with engaged employees, customer appreciation starts with employee appreciation.
In a recent survey conducted by Monster involving 2,000 workers and 500 employers in the UK, 54 percent of respondents said that not being thanked in the workplace left them feeling unappreciated and 41 percent said they felt demotivated as a result.
How do you expect to appreciate your customers if you can’t appreciate your employees?
Do such things as:
-ask employees for feedback and encourage opinions
-treat employees with respect and give them more autonomy and responsibility in their jobs
-have one-on-one sessions with employees to let them know they’re doing a great job
-come up with creative ways to recognize employees
-make it personal – recognize birthdays and other things in an employee’s personal life
-implement insights that you have found in your voice of the employee program data
Thank customers every time you communicate with them
In your invoicing and packaging, include a note thanking the customer for their business.
When you’re communicating with a customer to provide them information, resolving an issue, or any other reason, be sure to thank them for being a customer.
Actively listen to customers
You can show appreciation by actively listening to customers. Customer service reps who actively listen, are present with the customer, because they are placing the entire focus on the customer, and are able to hear cues of underlying emotions, so then they can respond and act in a way to enhance a great customer relationship or repair a broken one.
Walking in your customer’s shoes creates empathy in you and your customer, and that serves to ultimately strengthen your relationships with your customers.
Think outside the box and do something unexpected
Try these ideas to thank your customers:
-send a hand-written thank you note when they’re least expecting one
-give customers a shout-out on social media
-feature customers in your blog or invite them to create content that you feature on your blog
-provide exclusive access to content like a report or white paper or an exclusive learning opportunity
-add a surprise upgrade or perk to your most valuable customers
-send a gift card or special gift
-send corporate swag for the heck of it
-invite a customer to be a speaker at a conference or other corporate event
-recognize a customer’s birthday or milestone
-invite your best customers to a VIP event
-refer business to your customers
-call your customers out of the blue to see how they’re doing
The sky’s the limit here.
Are there other customer appreciation activities that you have implemented that work well? Share them in the comments.
I want to let you know that I appreciate you. You have a choice in the content you read. So, thank you very much for taking the time to read this blog post and this blog. It means a lot.