Strategy #6: Express Gratitude

Consumers always have a choice who they buy from. That’s why it’s important, no matter what size company you have, you find a way to stand out. One highly recommended way to retain your current customers and attract new ones is to look for creative ways to say thank you!

Besides delivering friendly greetings and impeccable in-store service, you can often draw customers with several noteworthy client appreciation strategies, far beyond a discount on their next purchase.

1. Don’t underestimate the power of a Birthday.

While you may hear about this strategy a lot, let me ask. When is the last time a company actually remembered your birthday year after year? This is such an easy tactic to implement.

When you are completing a customer’s purchase, emphasize that you value their business and let them know you would like to celebrate their birthday with a special gift. If the customer is receptive, ask them to fill out their birth month and day. Leave out the year, as some customers might prefer not to disclose that detail for security reasons.

Enter your customer’s information into your database, and send the customer a handwritten birthday card, including a mention of the free gift that awaits them at your online or offline store or location. Even a small, simple gift will convey your appreciation; don’t enclose fliers or coupons with the card. When your customer arrives to collect their gift, again express your appreciation for their business, and invite them to browse or check out your new offerings, while you wrap or retrieve their birthday gift. While you can’t guarantee they’ll make a purchase, you’ll make major strides in building customer loyalty.

Now that your birthday customer has visited your store, give them another reason to come back.

2. A “Sneak Peek” special event

Exclusive events for valued customers are a great opportunity to showcase your hottest new merchandise. If your store sells ladies’ clothing, create a fashion show featuring customers as your models. If you own a home décor or furniture shop, invite a local interior designer to provide attendees with design and decorating tips. Provide light refreshments, and offer special discounts that encourage customers to make a purchase.

3. Special customer advisory panel

While your customers enjoy your “Sneak Peek” event, ask them to provide regular feedback that helps you select future merchandise. For example, ask several customers to serve on an advisory panel, perhaps for a year at a time. During that period, request panel members’ feedback on products they’d like to see at the store; you might even provide them with a free sample of a product under consideration. You might think this is putting your customers out, but you may just find that they enjoy knowing that they’re contributing to your company’s success.

4. A well planned “Customer Appreciation” event

This strategy works well for many types of brick and mortar businesses but can also be done online. While some events last one day, others might go on for a week. Refreshments and discount coupons are customary; however, also consider free product samples and perhaps a small imprinted personalized item that customers will find useful. You’ll have the most impact if you offer something of real value to event attendees. Invite your manufacturers’ reps to demonstrate products that lend themselves to that form of promotion. In short, go the extra mile to establish a connection between your store, your products, and your customers.

5. Thank them for Referrals

Satisfied customer love to share their positive purchase experience with friends and family. Yet it is funny how few companies actually go above and beyond to thank them for referrals. As an extra incentive, consider offering your raving fans a preset amount of store credit for each referral customer who meets specific purchase criteria. As with any sales or promotional incentive, make sure you follow your applicable local, provincial, and/or federal statutes and laws.

Consider also sending them a small “thank you” gift or goody if the business they are providing is off high enough value. Who doesn’t love to receive a special something to their door!

Customer appreciation efforts begin with that first sale. But keeping them and attracting their friends and families, comes with every “wow” you can deliver afterwards

What creative idea can you think of to say thank you?

About the Author

Contributed by Cidnee Stephen, President of Strategies for Success in Calgary, AB. Strategies for Success provides marketing tools and systems for service based and technology firms. Find out more by clicking here!