square_promo_day5The goal of most businesses is to have a customer become a repeat customer whether you run a camp, lodge or gift shop.

Here are twelve low-on-cost, high-on-appreciation ways to show your love for your customers.

  1. Handwritten thank you notes. When they sign up. Before they even arrive. After they have visited. After they’ve called. If you have their address, anytime is a good time. And the cards themselves do not need to be fancy or lengthy. Just sincere.
  2. Ask weekly on social media, “what’s one thing that we should change?” Pay attention to the responses. Thank them for sending a response. If you make that change, be sure to follow up with mentioning this person who suggested it.
  3. Teach them something new. Wine tasting night. How to roast coffee beans. When is a blueberry ready to pick. Friday night crafting. Holding regular events where you bring in experts to talk about aspects of your offerings or area is a great way for them to further appreciate your business, products and offerings. Far away customers? Create videos or live chats to take advantage at a distance.
  4. Send a treat. Do customers rave about your lodge cookies? Surprise them with two cookies in the mail a few months later. Surprise summer campers with a calendar that shows off all the places they love and also serves as a daily reminder on their wall that they want to return.
  5. Respond quickly. In person or via email, respond as fast as you can to a customer. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer yet. It’s crucial to let them know someone is on it.
  6. Offer a surprise upgrade. The element of surprise is a powerful thing. Thank customers with a free, spontaneous upgrade. Maybe you throw in a complimentary item or service. Maybe it’s a larger room. Maybe you email on their next visit they are entitled to a free “something.” Pick five customers at random or make a list of your most loyal.
  7. Throw a party. Maybe it’s impromptu, a scheduled weekly “tasting” of some kind. Maybe it’s a surprise birthday bash for your customers celebrating a birthday that month or an open house holiday event. These delight both employee and customer who can join the fun.
  8. Send Cards on unique holidays. so many businesses send holiday cards between October through December. But what if your farm sent a “Happy First Day of Spring” or your camp mailed everyone on “National S’more Day.” How about peace advocating non-profit sending a thoughtful card on Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday? Select a holiday that resonates for your business and send cards then to really stand out.
  9. Remember your anniversary. Another fun way to reach out via email or “snail mail” is sending a customer anniversary card (be sure you have a start date in your client database for easy reference) or a thank you note for Customer Appreciation week.
  10. Surprise “discount” for no reason. Maybe they’re the tenth person that morning so you knock off 10% at the register. One used book store, had their system rigged that one random person a day received their entire purchase free (I know because I got to be that lucky person once). I just did this last week for a local client – just a small thank you I took 15% off the invoice for a good client.
  11. Hooray, hooray! Create Google Alerts on your customers or follow on social media to see what they’re doing. Send your congratulations whenever possible (major birthday, a promotion, new addition to the family) and really show the level of personal attention your business is built on.
  12. Give a personal “wow” when you can. Plan a customer appreciation slush fund to handle impromptu customer service opportunities. Maybe you just got off the phone and they have the start of a bad cold – can you send a small care package or kleenex, cough drops and chicken soup? Maybe you had a small discussion about coaching your kid’s sport for the first time – find a book on Amazon on coaching youth sports and send to them. Give yourself leeway financially to do a little extra for customers.

One of my favorite wows was at a farmer’s market in Phoenix. As i was checking out, I was curious about one of the vegetables – turned out to be Japanese turnips. I didn’t like turnips but the woman explained they tasted like light radishes, almost like an apple. I was still not convinced and was ready to buy my other goods. She threw in a big bunch of turnips for free and said, you’re going to love them, you’ll be back. And I was.

Bottomline: All of these or none of these can work for your business – it truly depends on the intention behind the generosity and how much you’re giving from the heart.