Getting a small business up and running is a pretty big feat. To do so, you probably needed help from a lot of people, including your family and friends, investors and lenders, and employees. But to keep your business afloat and continue meeting payroll, you need customers.
Without customers, you wouldn’t have a business. Customer purchases are necessary to pay for your expenses. To keep customers coming to your business, show them your appreciation. Recognize the importance of gratitude in running your business throughout the year.
Why is gratitude important?
There are endless product- and service-oriented businesses customers could shop at. Instead, they choose your business.
For a successful business, you need to be customer centric. This means showing customers you value them and care about their questions and concerns. And, being genuinely grateful for their patronage can strengthen relationships and increase sales.
Sometimes, business can get chaotic or you might have a bad day. You might not be in the mood to talk with customers, especially if there are a lot vying for your attention. Maybe you have a new customer who is excited about your product but won’t stop asking questions. Instead of getting frustrated, pause. Being grateful they’re even at your business can save you from being rude.
How to show your gratitude
Here are a few ways you can show customers your gratitude.
1. Take the time to talk to customers
Showing customers you’re grateful for them can be as simple as taking the time to talk with them. Customers want to know they’re being listened to whether they have a problem or just want to tell you about their experience.
Customers can tell when you are genuinely appreciative or not by what you say. When a customer leaves your business, remember the importance of gratitude with two simple words: “Thank you.” Wouldn’t it mean more if someone said, “Thank you, have a nice day!” instead of “Bye” or nothing at all?
You can also show customers you’re grateful for them by taking their ideas into consideration. Many businesses send out customer surveys so they can find out if customers are satisfied with current operations or not. Instead of sending out surveys and filing responses away, listen to what customers have to say.
2. Set up a loyalty program
A customer loyalty program rewards patrons who frequent your business. It not only encourages customers to spend, but it also shows you recognize their loyalty and are grateful. In exchange for their frequent patronage, you provide rewards that can range from discounts to free items.
Loyalty programs are year round. Members might use punch cards, pin codes, or even an app to accumulate points. Businesses decide how to set up their loyalty programs, but they generally work the same way. Customers earn points with each purchase or dollar spent. After earning a certain amount of points, they can obtain their reward.
To further show your gratitude, you could increase the rewards during the holiday season or give customers additional points randomly throughout the year. And, personalize the program for each customer.
3. Send holiday greeting cards
Another way you can show customers your gratitude is to let them know you’re thinking about them around the holidays. Businesses that send personalized cards strengthen their relationships with customers.
Cards delivered in the mail tend to resonate a more positive feeling than mass emails or general social media campaigns. Hand delivered cards symbolize friendship, thoughtfulness, and gratitude.
Your holiday greeting card should emphasize your gratitude for the customer’s loyalty throughout the year. And, it should wish them well during the holiday season. Be genuine and avoid treating them like just another number. Handwrite messages inside the card if you can. At the very least, you need to use your signature.
Your greeting card should not be a blatant marketing ploy to get them to come back to your business. Separate your card from any coupons you might send.
4. Showcase your customers
You can also show customers you are thankful for them by directing the spotlight on them. Post about your customers on social media. This is especially helpful if you’re a B2B business. You can congratulate businesses on exciting events or recognize them for their continued patronage.
Take pictures (with their permission, of course) of customers using your business’s products. Tag them and talk about what they do.
In honor of Small Business Saturday 2016, Patriot Software put seven of our small business customers in the spotlight during our “7 Days of Small Biz” event. During the week leading up to Small Business Saturday, we posted pictures of these seven businesses on our Instagram account and talked about their businesses. We encouraged our followers to share their favorite small businesses by tagging them in the comments section. Each person who tagged their favorite small business was entered for a chance to win a gift card.
By spotlighting our customers, we showed our support. And, we wanted to show our gratitude for their continued business with Patriot Software. The social media giveaway event also put these businesses on the radar of our social media followers and encouraged them to support their local businesses.
5. Host events
Hosting events doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is a great way to show customers your gratitude. You could get your event catered and host it at your business. Promote it on social media and your company website, through email marketing, or by posting flyers. The event could be during or after business hours.
For example, you could have a 10-year anniversary event. Invite customers to an evening of food, drinks, and fun to thank them for keeping your business going for 10 years.