In case you’ve missed the incessant jewelry commercials or red and pink candy aisle at the grocery store, Friday is Valentine’s Day.
But this holiday is not just a time to send your friends and loved ones some candy and flowers.
Valentine’s Day is a good reminder to show your customers some love too.
After all, you don’t want your clients to only hear from you be when they are receiving an invoice or getting a promotion to spend more money with you.
If you want to keep your customers around, it pays to show them that you care about them — not just as number or another client on a spreadsheet — but as an individual that matters. Besides, it’s cheaper and easier to keep your customers than to chase new ones.
Customer Appreciation: How to Show the Love
You don’t have to send them heart-shaped cookies or come up with cheesy Valentine’s Day message that loosely corresponds with your work. Heck, you don’t even have to tie your customer appreciation to the holiday.
Just let Valentine’s Day serve as a cue to carve out some time to build a customer appreciation plan.
Not sure what I mean? Here are a bunch of ideas that might help:
- Send a handwritten note. Let your clients know that you care. If you have a long list of clients, make it a practice to write one note a day or a five every week. Do this and you’ll get handwritten notes to all of your clients in no time.
- Pick up the phone. Instead of sending yet another email, pick up the phone and talk to your clients. You don’t have to have a reason to call — just check in to see how things are going. Ask questions and get to know them better. And, see if there’s anything you can do to serve them better.
- Give something extra for free. Do you have an extra service or product you can throw in “just because”? Giving something extra without being prompted can show you care and that you’re listening. Here are some good ideas on how to go the extra mile.
- Remember birthdays and important milestones. Show you care by paying attention to important celebrations in your customer’s life, such as birthdays, babies and work anniversaries. After all, everyone likes to be celebrated.
- Celebrate their successes. Did your client recently win an award or achieve an important milestone? If so, send them a congratulatory note or gift. If they were mentioned in the paper, send them the clipping or even go the extra step and have it framed.
- Fix problems quickly. If problems happen as they often do, empower your team to make it right and do that quickly. Fixing a mistake can be your best opportunity to take a bad situation and turn the customer into a raving fan.
- Anticipate their needs. Get really good at listening to your customers and getting regular feedback from them. If you can discover their pain points and better understand what would make their life easier or better, you might be able to develop and offer solutions before they realize they need them. Anticipating your customer’s needs and delivering on them makes for stellar customer service.
- Reward your most loyal customers. Do something extra special for your most valuable and loyal customers. For example, Dunn Brothers Coffee showed up at my office and surprised me with a growler of cold pressed coffee. Or, look at what Hotel 1000 in Seattle does — they offer special gifts, such as massages and pedicures, when a traveler has stayed with them a certain number of times. How can how thank and reward your most loyal customers?
- Promote their work. As long as it’s not a conflict to do so, use your client’s products and services and look for ways to promote them. For instance, you could give them a shout out on social media channels, share their content, showcase their work at your office and talk them up to your other customers. Be their biggest advocate.
- Support their causes. If your clients support a charity or participate in an annual fundraising effort, join in and help them. Maybe you can offer some pro bono work or make a donation in their name to show you care about them and their cause.
- Pay attention to preferences. Show that you are listening to your customers by paying attention to what they like. For example, our financial planner noticed that we always asked for water during our meetings and now he always has bottles sitting at his desk when we arrive. Small things like that make a difference.
- Use their name. Showing your customers some love doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. People love hearing the sound of their own name — so use it in conversations and respond to your customers by name on social media channels. That simple gesture can mean the world.
- Partner with an adjacent business. For example, a personal trainer or fitness center could offer a free session with a nutritionist. Or, a law firm that does estate planning could partner with a financial planner to offer a free consult. Not only is this a way for you to develop great cross-promotional relationships, but it also shows clients you’re want to help them beyond what you bring to the table.
- Give freebies of value. MailChimp is notorious for giving away great swag. It started with their super-soft, creative t-shirts and continues with their crocheted monkey hats. They give these items away for all sorts of reasons, but when they have random giveaways, people clamor for them.
Find something fun, valuable or unique to give away that your customers will actually want or use and talk about.
Notice that none of these tips said to offer a discount or using this effort to find ways to sell more of your products or services.
Making “an ask” when showing customer appreciation will completely sour the effort
Instead, just show your customers some love because you care and want to know you appreciate them. If you do, they will show it back by talking about you, telling their friends and ultimately continuing to be a loyal, valuable customer for your business.
How do you show your clients the love?