Ah, it’s Thanksgiving season—time to stuff yourself with turkey, watch football, start your holiday shopping and argue with your crazy uncle at the dinner table. For small business owners, it’s also the perfect time to show your customers and clients how much you appreciate their business all year long. Here are nine customer appreciation ideas that will help build customer loyalty.
- Throw a party. Host a thank-you dinner or lunch event for your top customers. November is a great time to get festive, before all the holiday parties start and people’s calendars fill up. Make it special with a creative Evite or even a fancy printed invitation. Hold an awards ceremony to spotlight customers with awards like Customer of the Year.
- Make your customer a star. Put your top customers in the spotlight—literally. Film a video interviewing them about their area of expertise. Post it on your site and share it on social media. You’ll make them look good, and that makes you look good.
- Give a shout-out. Highlight top customers with posts on social media. Thank them for their business and explain why they’re such great customers. For example, you could feature a “Customer of the Week” every Wednesday. Be sure to include a link to their website to drive customers there.
- Tap some VIPs. Look at your data to find out which customers spend the most in your store, salon, restaurant, etc. Make them VIPs and invite them to special events such as invitation-only sales, after-hours shopping events, or tasting menu dinners. You can even create a VIP version of your website with limited-edition products or special VIP swag.
- Remember their special days. Use a customer relationship management (CRM) app to track data about your customers. Then set up reminders to send a thank-you card or email on special dates. The anniversary of their first purchase, their birthday, their wedding anniversary, the day they started their business—all are possibilities. Include an offer good for a free gift or significant discount to spark a new purchase.
- Give a gift. For top customers, go beyond standard promotional products like imprinted T-shirts or coffee mugs. Take some time to think of gifts that are tailored to each recipient’s interests, industry or personality. For example, you could send a copy of a business book you know a customer’s curious about, but hasn’t read yet. How about tickets to a favorite sports team’s upcoming game? Be sure to enclose a handwritten note along with the gift thanking the customer for his or her business.
- Refer people to clients’ businesses. There’s no better way to thank a good customer than to refer others you know to their business. Be sure to get an OK from your referral, and then send both parties an email introducing the two.
- Listen. Ask some of your best customers if they’d like to be on an “advisory board.” You can pick their brains for feedback about new products you’re considering or ways to improve your customer service. Who wouldn’t feel flattered to be asked for their opinion—especially if it’s because they’re such important customers?
- Practice random acts of kindness. Not all thank-yous have to be thought out in advance. Once a week, pick a random client to reward with a freebie, discount, call, lunch invitation or thank-you note—just because.