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Saying Thanks-the Advantages of Acknowledging Your Customers

Saying Thanks-the Advantages of Acknowledging Your Customers

Sometimes the simplest act of expressing your appreciation can have a tremendous impact on your relationship with customers. As a consumer, I understand firsthand how much a seemingly small acknowledgement of my patronage and support for a business further ingrains my loyalty towards them. When we feel valued, appreciated, listened to, understood, accommodated and recognized, it strengthen the ties… whether it’s to an individual or to a brand.

I am surprised, however, at how many business owners neglect to incorporate Customer Relationship Marketing into their overall marketing strategy. Customer Relationship Marketing is described as recognizing the long term value of customer relationships and extending communication beyond intrusive advertising and sales promotional messages. It is a more enriching, personalized approach where the emphasis in on customer experience. This encompasses making efforts to meet customer needs, listening to their feedback and responding to their interests. When a business recognizes the true value of practicing Customer Relationship Marketing and takes the necessary steps to implement it, they’ll reap the rewards of a loyal following.

Instituting Customer Relationship Marketing can have a variety of long term benefits for your business. Studies have shown that several factors that occur once a relationship has been established with a customer. Here are some advantages:

Long-term customers tend to be less inclined to switch, and also tend to be less price sensitive. Experts say that customers who feel taken care of are less concerned about what they are paying.

Long-term customers may initiate free word of mouth promotions and referrals.

Customers that stay with you tend to be satisfied with the relationship and are less likely to switch to competitors, making it difficult for competitors to enter the market or gain market share.

Regular customers tend to buy more often and they are less expensive to maintain because of their familiarity with your business and the processes behind it.

Increased customer retention and loyalty makes the employees’ jobs easier and more satisfying. In turn, happy employees feed back into better customer satisfaction in a virtuous circle.

I think many business owners understand the implications of keeping customers happy, so to point out that customer satisfaction should be high on the priority list might seem obvious. But in addition to recognizing its importance, businesses need to put an action plan into place. If you are not designating the time and resources to carry out your intentions, then your plan may very well fall by the wayside.

You’ll need to determine: What will your Customer Relationship Marketing consist of? What percentage of your marketing budget are you designating towards implementing it? Who on your team will implement it? What will your “voice” or message be? What processes and procedures need to be put into place to support it? Take the time to iron all of these details out. Once you do, you’ll be on the path to enhanced rapport and connection with your customers.

A variety of features can comprise an effective Customer Relationship Marketing program. Thanking customers is just one aspect of the equation, albeit an important one. There are an infinite number of ways to express your customer appreciation. Here are 5, as an example:

Showcase a customer on Social MediaThis simple act of acknowledgement can do wonders. If you don’t want to single out one customer in particular, you can send out a general “thank you” message to all your customers. This is great to do around the holidays or random days throughout the year.

Give a GiftThis doesn’t have to be a huge investment, just a simple token of your appreciation. Offer a $5 gift card, a free appetizer, drink or entree, free product or service, tickets to a show or gourmet sweets. Depending on what your budget allows and the nature of your business, you can determine what you think your customers might enjoy.

Offer and Exclusive MembershipCustomers feel special when they are invited to be part of a club that entitles them to special privileges.

Send a Special InviteHost an exclusive invite-only party or gathering.

Offer a Special DiscountThis could be a one-time discount or continuous discount.

Happy customers become an advocate for your business and broadcasters of your message. They are a beacon of light that shines positively on your brand. There are a number of creative ways you can thank and reward customers and you’ll have to discover the methods that are most applicable and appropriate for your brand.

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