You know how important it is to show your customers you appreciate them, but if you’re a small business you might not have the budget to launch a full-fledged customer rewards program. That’s not a problem; in fact, automated rewards programs lose the personal touch that really makes customers feel special. Instead of a turnkey solution, try the following five cheap yet meaningful ways to show customer appreciation without breaking the bank.
1. Make a phone call
This is without a doubt the best way to demonstrate customer appreciation: call your customers and personally thank them. If you’re a business owner, manager or salesperson, your phone call will be meaningful. Don’t give a sales pitch; instead, simply thank your customers and ask them for suggestions on how you can improve your company. Most will offer insight you can put to good use, and they’ll appreciate your call enough to buy from you again. Cost: Free
2. Email spotlight
You probably send out regular emails to your customers, so take the opportunity to spotlight a different customer each week or month. Tell your customer’s story – their background, what their problem was, how you helped them solve it, and how much you enjoyed working with them. Get some photos and a testimonial, and thank your customers in your newsletter. Spotlighting individual customers and sharing their story will lend a sense of solidarity between other customers and your brand, because they’ll relate to your spotlight customers’ stories. Cost: Free
3. Rewards cards
You don’t need an automated program to reward your customers; instead, simply print out business cards as rewards cards that can be marked every time customers make a purchase. After so many purchases, they can turn their rewards card in for a freebie or discount. Rewards cards foster customer loyalty, show your appreciation, and give something valuable to your best customers. Cost: $125 for 2,000 rewards cards
4. Personal gift
Engage in conversations with your best customers to learn more about their personalities, hobbies, goals and dreams. Learn what makes them tick, then give them personalized gifts that match their interests. Tickets to a concert or sporting event, gift certifications for a favorite restaurant, a signed football or a pocketknife for backpackers are all potential ideas. Note I didn’t include “personalized gifts,” those generic corporate gifts everyone gives. You want to make a splash your customers will remember and appreciate, something that shows you truly listen to your customers. Personal gifts don’t have to be expensive; I suggest starting with a budget of $25 to $50 per month and giving one gift monthly. Cost: $25 to $50 per month
If you’re a B2B company, the best way to show customer appreciation is to share business referrals. You undoubtedly have non-competing, complementary businesses that are customers in your industry, which makes for natural referral partners. Give your customers a few new customers of their own, and they’ll know you appreciate them. They’ll also be loyal customers for life. Cost: Free
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show your customers how much you appreciate them. In fact, the most meaningful gestures are free and low cost. What other ways have you thanked your customers? Let us know in the comments!