Maybe you discovered it by watching SpongeBob SquarePants as a child. Or, you could have learned firsthand while scooping ice cream over the summer in an effort to set aside cash for college.
Regardless of your intel source, you’ve likely heard (or realized) that it’s important to prioritize your customers—even when it may feel like an inconvenience.
(Image source: myfunnymemes.com)
Despite the tried-and-true phase, “the customer comes first,” current clients can often become overlooked in the face of securing new business opportunities.
However, as Covid-19-related circumstances continue to affect the formation of new partnerships, it’s important to make sure that your relationships with your current customers stay solid. And, since there’s a likelihood that they’ll be cutting back on their spending (if they haven’t already), ensuring that your clients continue doing business with your company is paramount.
To help you strengthen your client relationships, below are 9 techniques that you can implement that will keep you at the top of your customers’ minds:
Why Is Customer Appreciation Important?
Before we discuss why customer appreciation is incredibly important, let’s start by defining it.
Customer appreciation is the act of continuously expressing gratitude to individuals who are currently engaging in partnerships with your company—and it goes beyond adding “Thank You” to your email signatures or signing off your Slack chats with a “TY.”
You may have to allocate a couple of extra minutes in your schedule to express appreciation towards your clients, but these grateful gestures can have a significant impact on your book of business. In fact, 81% of companies who deliver an excellent customer experience outperform their competition.
You don’t have to be grandiose when you practice client appreciation: even small, simplistic expressions can create a meaningful impression for your customers, and will also help you to establish a lasting, emotional connection that they won’t soon forget.
Keep in mind that 64% of customers don’t feel “well known” by their partners. So by incorporating gestures of appreciation in your outreach, they will feel recognized and build long-term loyalty as time progresses.
If you’re wondering how you can easily appreciate your clients, start by ensuring that your gestures of appreciation are specifically personalized for your recipients.
How Personalization Can Reinforce Relationships
Yes, dropping your customers’ names in email convos or remembering to ask about important events in their lives can help you reinforce these relationships. But you can build these connections a step further by practicing personalized gratitude.
So what’s personalized gratitude, exactly? Essentially, it’s expressing appreciation in a manner that is specifically tailored for the individual, group, or entity that you’re recognizing. This extra, customized touch will allow you to enhance your professional relationships and stay at the top of your clients’ minds, which will ultimately yield strong ROI for your organization.
If you’re questioning the power of personalization when it comes to business relationships, start by asking yourself: how many of your accounts were formed from your personal network?
Most likely, quite a few of them. Since 94% of people attribute business success to personal relationships, you’re definitely not alone.
However, to maintain these connections and expand your conversations with those that you don’t know so well, try incorporating acts of personalized gratitude.
9 Ideas for Practicing Personalized Gratitude with Your Customers
Two years ago, 72% of businesses claimed that improving their customer experience was their top priority.
Now, during a time when consistent and clear client communication is becoming increasingly necessary, this focus on customer interaction has become further emphasized as companies clamor to make sure that their customer experience is both seamless and stellar.
Here are 9 ways that you can implement personalized gratitude with your customers to help you strengthen these relationships while also ensuring that they feel valued:
1.) Write a Handwritten Note
It may be considered old fashioned, but a timeless technique to express your appreciation for clients’ business is through writing handwritten notes.
If you’re concerned about where to send them given current conditions, or if you find yourself strapped for time, typing up your messages and sending them via email will have a similar positive impact. In fact, new research has shown that recipients of emailed expressions of gratitude feel much more “ecstatic” than expected.
2.) Create Time for Face-to-Face Discussions
Adjusting to remote work can be difficult, especially for working parents. Although we’re now spending some more time communicating via text-driven outlets such as email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams, it’s still important to get facetime with your clients when possible—even if it’s over FaceTime.
Try putting yourself together and scheduling time for a virtual, face-to-face chat. They’re likely to applaud you for wearing anything other than a hoodie (even if it’s only for a half hour).
3.) Make a Donation on Their Behalf
Now more than ever, there are quite a few mission-driven organizations that could use support.
By discovering a cause that a key customer cares about and submitting a donation on their behalf, not only will you emphasize the importance of your relationship, but you’ll also be assisting a philanthropic institution.
4.) Provide Free Value
Since your clients are now spending more time at home, consider carving time out of your day in order to curate a deck, blog post, or content piece that pairs your product or service with their concerns or pain points.
Not only will they feel more informed (and quite possibly, more entertained depending on the creative liberties that you take), but you’ll demonstrate how much you value their business through this form of customization.
5.) Practice Recognition
A not-so-fun-fact? 68% of clients break off a partnership because they don’t believe that the business is grateful for their relationship.
However, the solution to avoiding customer churn might be simpler than you’d think: recognize your clients for their continued partnership with your company and single them out so that they feel valued.
Consider sharing a grateful gesture with them if they’ve been interacting with your product more often, have an upcoming birthday, or they’ve exceeded your expectations in your effort to single them out and make them feel special.
6.) Pivot the Price Point of Your Product or Service
If you’re capable of shifting the price point of your product or service for your most loyal clients, now’s definitely the time to do so.
Consider providing them with a temporary discount, a free trial, or adding something extra that’s free of charge.
Two examples of companies that have successfully executed this concept include Headspace, which has made its meditation services free for those who are currently unemployed due to Covid-19, and Box which has reduced its pricing through offering product discounts.
7.) Find Unique Ways to Provide Support
There are multiple customized ways to show your clients how much you care. And the best part? Some of them don’t require a budget.
A few free options to provide support to your customers include:
- Calling their company or their work out on social media platforms.
- Pairing up to tackle a project together, such as a co-written blog post, a podcast interview, or a targeted campaign.
- Opening up a new door for them through an introduction to one of your connections.
8.) Enact Surprise and Delight
Everyone loves receiving an unexpected expression of appreciation. And your clients are no different.
According to CrowdTwist, 67% of customers claim that surprise gestures are very important for loyalty programs.
So by sending them a Thnks a Latte treat or lunch from their favorite local spot to show your gratitude, not only will your unanticipated offerings captivate your customers, but personalizing any gestures that you decide to send will aid your effort to drive their support and assurance in your company.
9.) Go Above and Beyond
We all know that time is a valuable entity. Since we’re spending more of it at home, try allocating the amount that you’d normally take to travel and visit your clients in-person towards devising ways that you can go above and beyond in order to build these relationships further while at a safe social distance.
Consider creating and launching a customer appreciation program so that you can make sure that you’re strengthening your client relationships on a regular basis.
Maintaining Client Connectivity Despite Uncertain Circumstances
In the midst of a myriad of uncertainties, your client relationships can still remain firm. All it takes is practicing regular customer appreciation and adding a little personalized gratitude.
If you’re apprehensive about getting started, know that it’s as easy as saying Thnks.
Thnks makes it easier to incorporate personalized gratitude in order to grow, maintain, or develop your client relationships. In a matter of seconds, you can search for the perfect gesture, personalize a note, and send it off via SMS or email. Interested in learning more? Sign up for a demo!