With every new year comes a time of celebration and reflection on what was and what could be. We do this in both our personal and business lives. As a business owner, I take the time to celebrate the successes that I had over the past year and look forward to the new year with much anticipation. Celebrating my customers is easy to do during the holiday season, but how many of us take the time to celebrate them throughout the year?
What type of customer appreciation events are you hosting during the year? Do you save those celebrations for the holiday season? How do our customers know that we appreciate them all year long? These are questions that we should all be asking ourselves when planning for the upcoming year. I came up with a list of seven things to do to show your clients or employees how they can feel appreciated throughout the year.
1. If you sell something or are service driven, offer a customer incentive for those that have supported you time and time again. This could be done by giving a special discount to your client or offering a referral reward for sending new clients.
2. Say "thank you" in an unexpected way. Think outside the box! For example, the company Sweetwater Music always sends a bag of candy with your order, no matter the purchase. This is their unexpected way of saying "thank you" to their customers for ordering. These small gestures make a significant difference, so sit down with your team and think of your own way to thank your customers.
3. Keep your employees excited to come to work every day. Find ways to surprise your employees by leaving notes of encouragement or thanks on their desks or work boxes. Host monthly or quarterly luncheons. This does not have to be a large meal, something as small as sandwiches and chips goes a long way when trying to show your appreciation.
4. Host appreciation celebrations with your employees and customers. Maybe you reached that sales goal you wanted to obtain, or maybe this month is the anniversary of opening your business. Have a cake, cupcakes, cookies or something fun to celebrate your success!
5. Celebrate the family! Don't forget to celebrate your employees' families or your clients' families and friends. Host a friends and family day sale for your clients, or a picnic with games and other activities. The family members of your employee are just as important to their happiness at work as their work environment is. This will help you connect to your employees and their families while showing your appreciation for their support.
6. Let them have input. Both your clients and your employees want to feel like their opinions hold some value. Although you are the boss and you will ultimately make the decisions on what is best for your company, you may be missing out on some great ideas. Host a quarterly idea meeting or town hall forum.
7. Write personal thank you notes. While email marketing is great and gives you the opportunity to reach many people with one written note and the click of a button, it cannot replace a handwritten note. Take time every day to write at least one thank you note to an employee or customer. Read the newspaper every day and write a note of encouragement, gratitude or congratulations for something that you read about for someone you may or may not know.
Finding ways to make your clients and employees feel appreciated helps you continue to foster your relationships with them. When your relationships grow, referrals grow and employee loyalty grows. Did you know that when a donor gives money to a non-profit you should thank them seven times in seven different ways? This is so that they feel appreciated for their gift, no matter the size, and to show that it is truly making a difference. By incorporating the seven items listed above in your planning of this upcoming year, you will be celebrating your successes all year.