Special deals and offers are often saved as a way for gathering new customers, but taking the same amount of time to thank or treat your existing customers can ensure you have long-term clients who stay happy with your services or products. Whatever your business, be it a restaurant or a factory, business to business or business to consumer, it is actually easier to keep long term customers happy than it is to be constantly looking for new customers. Furthermore, the end of the year is the perfect time to thank your regular customers for their business over the last twelve months.
Here are a few simple (and cheap) ways to say thank you to your customers:
A hand-written thank you card
If you have your customer’s address then a thank you card for their custom over the year can go a long way to show they are appreciated. Depending on the size of your organisation and the number of customers a personalised card, written by hand, could go even further. You could spend an afternoon writing them together with your team, each sending to the customers they have dealt with the most.
Emails can get get lost in the zillion discount deals people are sent over the holiday season, however, if you do send an email make sure it is a personal one and that it stands out in their inbox.
A special, secret discount
Giving regular customers a special discount for the new year can help show their custom is valued. A discount code that is only for them can make them feel special and also remind them of the work you do so they are more likely to return in the new year. Whether you are a restaurant offering a 10% discount on your New Year menu or a printing company offering buy one get one free on January printing, there will always be something you can offer to help bring their custom back.
A free gift
I used to run a deli-café and the holiday season was our busiest time of year. Many of our customers would pre-order their meats, mince pies and cheeses for their Christmas dinners and to show our appreciation we gave each regular customer a free pack of our ground coffee, saying ‘have a coffee on us this Christmas’. As a small independent business they certainly didn’t expect anything for free and were always very appreciative for their small gift. It didn't cost us much per customer to buy these packets of coffee but it meant a great deal to them. A free gift doesn’t have to cost lots but offering something to say thanks for their business can go a long way.
A party or networking event
Organise a party for regular customers to say thank you. This could just be some mulled wine and a mince pie and a chance to say thanks in person. The party could be organised during work time as a drop in or a bigger evening party. Offering a discount or goody bag could be another incentive for people to attend. Make sure you have all staff on board and prepped to talk with customers on the day and make the most of the opportunity to meet people in person.
It is amazing how far a personalised thank you can go so make sure you make things as personal to the customer as is possible in your organisation.