Coolie cups, coffee mugs, USB drives – many companies give these products as gifts to their customers, each emblazoned with a company logo and, perhaps, the recipients’ name.  There’s no shortage of promotional product types you can give to your customers, but I contend that promotional products are simply not the best (nor most cost-effective) way to express appreciation.  Promotional products are great for trade shows, but to say “thank you” I like a more personal approach.

So, forget the coolie cups: If you want to say “thank you” to your customers, the following three ideas enable you to express your appreciation in a meaningful way that leads to more business, customer loyalty and greater revenues.

thank you

Make the call

The absolute best way to thank your customers is to make a personal phone call.  Simply pick up the phone, thank your customer for their business, tell them how much you enjoyed working on your last project, and then ask how you could make your product or service even better.

Do not turn your phone call into a sales pitch; rather, genuinely relay your gratitude and then listen to any suggestions your customers have.  You’ll not only come across as business that truly cares, you’ll glean valuable information you can use to make better business decisions.

Greeting cards

Greeting cards are another great way to thank your customers, but almost everyone sends greeting cards during the holidays.  Make your mark by sending greeting cards when other companies aren’t:  birthdays, anniversaries, special personal occasions and “just because.”

Do not try to sell customers with your greeting card. Include a personal, hand-written note that thanks your customers for their business and lets them know you’re there when they need you.  Most mailboxes are filled with bills and junk mail; an unexpected greeting card is a pleasant and memorable change of pace.

Personalized gift

If you absolutely must buy your customers “thank you” gifts, give them something personalized.  And by “personalized,” I don’t mean a coolie cup with their name on it.  Listen to your customers, check their Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and ask questions to find out what their interests are: their hobbies,  favorite restaurants, bands, sports teams, dreams and goals, etc.  Then, give them a gift that aligns with their interests.

Such personalized gifts demonstrate that you do indeed listen to your customers and care about their happiness, and can go a long way toward establishing customer loyalty.  Potential gifts include:

  • sports and concert tickets
  • restaurant gift card and/or VIP seating
  • a six pack of a microbrew they mentioned
  • a framed painting or picture
  • a signed baseball
  • other memorabilia
  • adventure trips (white water rafting, indoor rock climbing, for example)

Make sure you select a gift that is appropriate, meaningful and personal to your customers; and from a business standpoint, invest accordingly.  You might, for example, have major, big-dollar client who has a man-crush on Joe Morgan and the Big Red Machine. It’s easy to justify $100 on a baseball signed by Joe Morgan.

Thanking your customers is more than a simple expression of gratitude; it is a way to demonstrate your dedication to quality and customer satisfaction.  The more personalized your approach, the better your impression.  After all, which would you rather receive: a coolie cup, or a signed Joe Morgan baseball?