Let’s start with a statistic that should really make you think. Studies show that 69% of customers that leave you (as a customer, donor, supporter, etc.) will do so because of “perceived indifference.” They will leave you because they simply don’t think you care. Seriously, think about that. Nearly 7 out of ten lost customers come down to the fact that you didn’t show them that you gave a crap about them.
This statistic both frightens and excites me.
On one hand, it means that my customers could leave me because I have just been careless and lazy. It means that if I am not careful, my competitors could swoop in and take my revenue…just by caring more! Am I doing enough to show customers (regularly) that I do sincerely appreciate their business? Are you? That can be scary.
On the other hand, it is an entirely fixable (and improvable) situation. If I am not doing enough to show them, I can fix it! It is totally within my power to do so. That’s a good thing. I don’t have to wait for some cosmic shift in the economy, or some other outside force to change. I can do it all by myself. I just need to care more!
On the third hand (is that even possible?) I see this as an opportunity. It means likely that most businesses are NOT caring enough about their current customers. That means I (and now you) can create systems that allow you to gain market share…through caring!
How cool is that?
So how do we do it? Let’s talk about some very concrete ways to make sure your customers know they are appreciated.
It’s funny. Sometimes the things that make a big difference in your customer’s eyes are the simplest. Send your customers a card on their birthday. Send them thank you cards for their business. Send them a holiday card. Send them a thanksgiving card. Most people open their mail standing over the trash can, because all we get are bills and junk mail. A heart felt thank you card really stands out.
The reason most people don’t send out cards regularly is they lack a system. Let’s face it; most of us have good intentions. But those intentions go out the window when we can’t find the right kind of card, or we can’t find a stamp, or we don’t have the person’s address. We need to schedule a specific time each day (or week) that we send out cards.
One of my favorite practices is to try to create a reason to send out at least one thank you card each day. Sometimes it will be for a purchase that a customer made. Sometimes it will be just because someone helped you. It’s a fantastic practice.
Two things will happen. First, your customers will NEVER think you don’t appreciate them. And second, you will have a better attitude about life. If you spend every day trying to find something to be thankful for—guess what—you will become more grateful. That’s not a bad side benefit for doing something to help you increase your business!
Quarterly Thank You Program
If you are like most businesses, you have 20% of your customers or clients that produce 80% of your sales. It’s not a universal rule, but it is surprising how often it is true. So those 20% are the clients you REALLY want to show that you care. So in addition to sending them a birthday card, a thanksgiving card and thank you cards, you want to reach out and “touch” them at least once a quarter.
So establish yourself a budget. How much are you willing to spend over the course of a year in order to say “thank you” to these top clients? Remember, these are your bread and butter. This is probably not the time to go cheap. This number will be different for every business, but in my experience, you don’t have to break the bank.
Now just for argument sake, let’s assume this number is $100 per year. You are willing to spend $100 over the course of a year to say thank you to these top clients. Now just divide that number by 4. So you have $25 per quarter to get some sort of gift to give to these clients. This is more than just a gesture. This promotional gift will not only show your appreciation for them. It will also showcase your logo and remind them each and every time they use the gift that you are a great company to work with!
Now just tailor the gifts to your audience. You are now touching these clients 4 more times a year with a great tangible piece of appreciation.
How does this work? Let’s give you an example. Let’s say you are an insurance agent that has a wide variety of customers. You have business professionals, farmers, families and more. This diverse group of customers gives you an idea of things you do and don’t want to give. So your quarterly gifts might look like this:
Quarter 1: Roadside Safety Flashlight. This makes sense because you are not only promoting your brand, but you are showing you care about your client on the road. http://us.starline.com/catalog/product/16757
Quarter 2: High End Travel Mug and Cooler Bag. This is a cool combo because your clients might be thinking of vacations or road trips for the warmer months. Great way to remind them that you are with them through the miles and smiles!
Quarter 3: BBQ Set. At this point they will be in barbecue season with tailgating just around the corner.
Quarter 4: Executive Calendar and Tumbler. These two gifts are sure to stand out in the office and the home.
Obviously these are just a few ideas to get you thinking. There are thousands and thousands of options. But these are some cool things that transcend generations and gender.
*Also, here’s a quick tip to make this easier for you. Get with your promotional products consultant and tell them your plans. Then see if you can order all of these at once. Ask to see if they will ship them about a month before you need them. This will allow you to budget a bit. And it will “poof” create a reminder system so you remember it’s time to say “thanks” again to your clients. When the boxes arrive it’s time to start!
There are lots of ways to thank your clients. These are just two. Feel free to get creative and have some fun thanking your customers. You will be glad you did!
This was an excerpt from the book Delivering Marketing Joy (Using Promo To Grow Your Business the Right Way). You can (and should) get your copy on Amazon!