The 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.