The average business will spend five times more when acquiring a new customer as opposed to retaining an old one.
It’s true that customer retention is more cost-effective than broadening your reach, and tapping into cold markets. One of the most effective ways to retain customer loyalty is by thanking your customers and letting them know that you appreciate their business as an individual consumer, not as a faceless number. The beginning and the end of a transaction are some of the most potent places where you can increase and encourage customer loyalty. By giving excellent service on the front end, you’ve piqued your customer’s interest and loyalty in your brand. But if you want to retain it, the most effective way to do so is to thank the customer after they’ve made the purchase. Companies and charities that have incorporated handwritten, personalized thank-you cards see an increase in revenue and additional yearly donations. It’s never too late to start including a personalized customer appreciation strategy into your marketing plans. Below, we’ll show you 7 unique ways to show your customers that you appreciate their business.
1. Handwritten Thank You Cards
We live in a sterile, impersonal age. While your competitors are sending impersonal email thank you notes or no thank you cards at all, you can differentiate yourself with hand-written appreciation cards. Handwritten cards are novelties and make people feel special. The principle of reciprocity is a powerful motivator for engaging your customers and getting them to take future action. If people feel noticed, they are more likely to continue interacting with your brand.
New company HEX has increased their customer loyalty with a campaign of 13,000 handwritten cards from employees. A recent experiment between troubled youths and their case managers aimed to improve contact between the two parties. In the trial, teenagers wrote weekly thank-you cards to their case managers supervisors. These cards prompted a 43% increase in weekly visits from case managers. When the test ended, the visits dropped back to their pre-thank you card campaign levels.
The charity Donors Chose experimented with handwritten thank you cards too. They sent half of their donors a thank you note after a first-time donation, while the other half didn’t receive any. 38% of donors who got a thank you card were more likely to donate to the organization again that year, increasing the charity’s yearly donation revenues.
Thank you cards not only demonstrate your appreciation in a personalized, original way, they also work to keep your brand or business at the forefront of your customers’ minds. Thank you cards are an unobtrusive and feel-good way to remind your customers about your brand.
2. Freebie Incentives
Of course, you’re running a business, and you need to make a profit. But what better way to increase customer loyalty than to offer a steeply discounted product to those who’ve already bought from you? When people think they are getting a good deal, they’ll inevitably come back for more. Customers reward brands that consistently provide incentives and discounted deals for quality products with their loyalty and increased patronage. Best of all, you can get creative with giveaways and rewards to recognize your loyal customers. Freebies and giveaways don’t have to be expensive. Company stickers, t-shirts, and hats with branded, witty remarks or images make great loyalty incentives. And if customers are wearing branded merchandise, you get the added benefit of having them advertise your company for you.
3. Feature Loyal Companies on Social Media
If you are in the B2B sphere, you can highlight your loyal clients on your content channels:
- Social media
This gives them coveted, increased exposure, and will increase their loyalty to your company. You can help them by driving traffic to their sites, and backlinks to improve their SEO.
For B2C companies, you can pick a customer and feature them on social media. You can do a ‘fan of the week’ theme or a personalized Q and A post that lets them feel appreciated and special. If you have brick-and-mortar stores, you can do the same thing with an in-person appreciation event.
Remember, not very many of your competitors are doing these types of loyalty campaigns, so you can quickly differentiate yourself with something like this.
4. Differentiation with Dinner
If you want to set yourself apart from your competitors, you can focus on relationship building, not just revenue building. Offer to take featured customers out to dinner so you can focus on building relationships with your clients. Here, you can get to know them on a personal level that you can’t replicate in an online setting. This is especially good for building loyalty and retention with B2B clients. Instead of focusing on business, you can steer the conversation to include the client’s hobbies, and what they personally enjoy and value. Doing this will make the client feel appreciated and like they are part of a family and not just a source of revenue.
5. Host Events
Consider hosting an event for your customers where you roll out the red carpet. This could be a luncheon or a catered breakfast. You can get creative with branded activities, raffles, and drawings.
6. Help Customers Learn Something New
If you run an online business, you can use your blog or webinars to host events where you show customers how to use your products. You can use your online platform to teach them something new related to your niche. Also, you can host educational events in your stores. If you run a cafe, you can offer a free drink along with a seminar on the history of tea and the best way to brew a particular blend. Customers will love the value you provide and reward you with increased loyalty.
7. Single Out One Lucky Customer for VIP Treatment
Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful marketing techniques you can utilize. Positive and negative words spread fast. Single out one customer for VIP treatment if you want to get your name out there quickly. Offer to get them a drink or carry their bags. Offer a discount, coupon, or free sample to showcase your appreciation. By making their visit a memorable experience, they will tell their friends and family about the stellar treatment they received from your company.
Competition for customer attention and loyalty has never been more fierce. While the business world may seem harsh, these higher consumer expectations are making purchasing processes easier and more pleasant for consumers across the board. But if you want your company to stand out, you can’t just compete on price and product quality. You have to bring something extra to the table to retain your customer base.
Showing your appreciation in unique, personalized ways is a proven way to keep customers coming back to you for more.
With the help of technology, it’s now more accessible and more affordable than ever for companies to demonstrate how much they appreciate their loyal fans. For more tips and tricks on how to offer excellent customer service and support, don’t forget to check out the AnswerFirst blog. We’re always on the lookout for new ways to increase customer loyalty in the digital age.