They’ve seen you through thick and thin, placed sizable orders year after year, and stuck by you even when your competitors tempted them with bargain-basement prices. The customers in this special class are the rock-solid foundation that every small business counts on to survive. In order to reward and sustain their unwavering loyalty, you have to go above and beyond the call of duty.
So how should you treat your special customers? Don’t settle for generic postcards and once-a-year holiday gifts—you’ll need to add a personal touch to truly encapsulate the level of gratitude that these ultra-loyal clients deserve. Use these ideas to jump-start your brainstorming process.
Put it in writing. Nothing says “thanks” more effectively than a hand-penned thank-you note. After a loyal customer places an order, take the time to sit down and spell out exactly how much you appreciate their continued business. Terminally tongue-tied? There are tons of books and websites out there that can suggest elegant turns of phrase for all of your correspondence needs.
Send a ‘just-because’ gift. Holiday greetings and birthday cards? Those are both givens—if you’re not doing that much for your loyal customers, you should start now. But for your upper-tier clients, go a step further—send a thoughtful, unexpected gift once or twice a year. Something like a fruit basket, an extravagant floral arrangement, or a gift card is always appreciated. Make sure you enclose a handwritten note expressing your gratitude, as well.
Put your money where your mouth is. Thank-you notes and flowers are nice, but your most loyal customers will likely be even more appreciative of gestures that help them boost their bottom line. Hit your high-value client base with substantial discounts and hefty rewards programs. You’ll likely make up in volume what you lose in off-the-top earnings.
Hone in on their interests and hobbies. The personal touch means getting inside your customers’ heads, finding out what’s important to them, and seeking out gifts and rewards that reflect their interests. Whether your top clients are sports nuts or spa enthusiasts, take the trouble to pick out rewards that capitalize on their unique affinities. Any time that a client makes an off-hand comment about something they’re interested in, jot it down and file it with their account paperwork. You never know when you might need that kind of inside info!
How do you express gratitude to your top customers? Which loyal customer rewards have worked well for you in the past? Let us know in the comments.