Do your customers feel appreciated?
Do they know that you value them and their business? Or, do they feel like just another number on an account management spreadsheet?
I promise you, sooner or later, the answer to that question will determine whether that client leaves you for one of your competitors.
A customer who feels valued is more likely to recommend you to friends and coworkers.
A customer who feels valued is willing to pay higher prices for your products or services.
A customer who feels valued is willing to put up with mistakes that other clients wouldn’t tolerate—because they know that you will work to make things right.
Aside from being the right thing to do, communicating your gratitude to your clients and customers is a profitable strategy.
What is the most effective way to ensure that your customers are valued? There are plenty of specific tactics you can employ, but the most important step to take is integrating customer appreciation into your company culture.
When gratitude and appreciation are part of your culture, you don’t have to personally service every client to ensure a great experience. You don’t have to worry about a member of your team single-handedly inspiring your customers to dump you for the competition.
How can you incorporate gratitude into your company culture? Below are three strategies that have proven successful both in my businesses and in those of my clients:
Lead by example. Express gratitude yourself! Thank your clients and customers. Thank your employees. Let them know that you appreciate their hard work. Challenge yourself to treat your employees the way you want them to treat your customers. Gratitude is contagious!
Systemize it. You have systems in place to ensure that your clients pay their bills every month, right? You have systems in place to ensure that they receive their products and services. (At least I hope you do!!) So why not create a system to ensure that your team has communicated their gratitude on a regular basis? There are plenty of ways to do this – a quick phone call, a card in the mail, even a thoughtfully written email. (Just don’t make it seem like a “form” message.)
Emphasize it. Explain the importance of demonstrating gratitude to your employees. Discuss it every bit as frequently as you discuss the importance of up-selling or delivering products and services on time. Remind your employees that it is ultimately your customers that allow them to continue receiving a paycheck every two weeks!
Do your customers know how much you appreciate them? If not, get busy. It’s too important to ignore.