Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thank You! Part I - Recognizing Your Customers

Not expressing thanks to your customers is a missed golden opportunity. It is a proven growth and customer retention strategy, one that businesses are not in the habit of doing.

- a Lenox etiquette poll found that nearly five out of every 10 people don't always say thanks.

When should you say thank you? There is no written rule that indicates when and how you should thank you customers. Some of us say it during the holidays and others say it when we win new business. It would be ideal to thank them at natural points:

• Customer demonstrates loyalty (i.e. number of years, amount of money spent, etc.)
• Customer provides a reference/ new project
• Customer gives you feedback
• New customer

These are some of many natural points in which you can say thank you to your customers. As you do your business planning each year, be sure to add a line item in your budget for customer recognition and ways you would thank them. Another point to keep in mind is that some companies have a policy in place for receiving gifts (i.e. must be between $25 - $50 dollars, shared with the group, etc.). You may want to check with your customers prior to sending a gift to ensure it is within the policy.

NOTE: No matter how late you are, be sure to thank your customer. It is better to be late, than to say nothing at all.

Ways to say thank you (monetary vs. non-monetary):


Gift cards: They are a nice gesture and can be purchased in various denominations. You can also purchase them from various retailers that your customer may patronize.
Charitable giving: This is a unique way to thank a customer. If they have a charitable organization (i.e. American Heart Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, etc.) that you know of, make a contribution on their behalf. This is a personalized gift and it lets them know you support a cause they are passionate about.

Free samples of products: Depending on the nature of your business, you can offer free samples of existing and future products.

Discount: Offer a discount on the next point of sale.

Non- Monetary

Thank you note: This is the most traditional method of saying thank you. Nothing computer generated. Just a good old fashion hand-written note (personalized, sincere, short and specific) to show your gratitude. I have a stack of thank you cards that I use. You can keep them in your laptop bag, briefcase and write them when you have some down time.

Thank you letter: This is something that could be computer generated and is a little more formal. Be sure to personalize the letter and keep it specific.

Pick up the phone: When in doubt, pick up the phone and call the customer to say thank you. They would really appreciate you taking the time to pick up the phone and thank them for choosing your business/ service over your competitors. We schedule meetings throughout the week, so why not schedule a block of time to call your customers to thank them.

Newsletter recognition: All gifts don't need to be monetary. You can recognize your customers within your newsletters as well.

Give them leads: Again, no monetary value, but a great way to send potential business to your customers as a way of saying thank you.

Send an email: This is a way to thank multiple customers that may have been involved with a particular situation. This method is overused and not as personal, so use this method the least.

People like to feel appreciated and recognized. Saying thank you is a gift that keeps on giving. If it is not part of your business strategy, add it; it is an effective and winning business tactic.

Look for Thank you! Part II ... Recognizing Your Employees.


Reggie Waller is president of RWJ Consulting Group, LLC, which provides business and personal coaching, consulting and training services to individuals and businesses. For additional information call 267-254-6800 or visit

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