Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Rolling Stone editors or publishers.
Happy customers are the fuel necessary to run any successful business. To help them is the main reason why many entrepreneurs continue doing what they’re doing. And when you build a loyal community of customers, you set yourself up with long-term support.
One way to build that loyal following is to show your appreciation for your customers on a regular basis. When customers can feel your gratitude, it helps them feel like their voices are being heard and like they aren’t just a number on a profit report. Gratitude can come in many forms, however, so to help you find the method that suits you best, the members of Rolling Stone Culture Council list their top strategies below.
Treat Them Like VIPs
Treat every customer like a VIP, providing them with an outstanding customer experience. Loyal customers enjoy unique benefits, like extended warranties, free shipping, extended return periods, birthday gift certificates, early access to new products and sales, private appointment hours and a thoughtful holiday gift to show you value them. – Lynn Rosenthal, Periscape
Give Meaningful Experiences
Skip the physical gifts and give meaningful experiences to clients. Everyone remembers learning something new, going to a new place or checking off a bucket list item. – Bridget Hilton, LSTN Sound Co.
Offer Loyalty Incentives
There’s nothing better than being rewarded for showing your support and interest in a company. What better way to return the favor than to offer a reason to come back? This can be done through accumulated bonus points, post-purchase discounts, free gifts, etc. This helps with customer retention but, most important of all, it keeps customers happy and coming back. – Tiffany Gaines, SS Global Entertainment
Celebrate Them on Social Media
Send a Handwritten Note
I believe that handwritten thank you notes and personal touches are becoming a lost art. Every week, I dedicate a few hours at the end of my workday on Friday to handwriting notes to people who have meant something to our company or assisted with our growth. We have millions of viewers and thousands of people indirectly involved, but even if I just write 15 notes a week, it makes a big impact. – Julie McQueen, CarbonTV
Invest in Solid Customer Service
Bells and whistles lose their appeal when the engine keeps breaking. Respect customers by showing them that you care about their time and their needs. It sounds simple, but I see a lot of companies tripping over themselves with customer perks and gifts when their customer contact info isn’t even up to date. – Amanda Reiman, Personal Plants
Say ‘Thank You’
It’s a very simple tactic, but we say “thank you” — a lot. We also remind our ShearShare community that they are building this mobile-first platform right alongside us and that their constant feedback allows us to develop innovative solutions to drive more revenue for their small businesses of one. It’s a boomerang approach that keeps on giving. – Courtney Caldwell, ShearShare, Inc.
Support Their Events
I founded my cannabis business on customer service, a concept that felt non-existent in 2008. It’s always been our standard practice to go beyond expectations to show appreciation for our customers’ business, every day. One of the ways we show our gratitude is to promote their events on our social platforms. Whether a community event, business anniversary, open house or whatever the event, we support it. – Sheila Dedenbach, Heavenly Sweet
Celebrate Client Wins
We love to celebrate client wins. When we help a client nail media coverage or publish a thought leadership post, we shout out the article on our company social media accounts. If we want to show extra appreciation, they get a feature in a newsletter or YouTube video. – Evan Nison, NisonCo
Add a Real, Personalized Touch
So much of customer acquisition is data, algorithms and automation. As consumer-facing businesses lean into these paths — which are important in scaling a business — a personal touch stands out even more. The CEO taking calls once a month or genuinely reaching out by phone to collect customer insights is a very meaningful way to engage. You don’t lose anything by being real. – Chris Murray, FoxNRTH Inc.
Invite Them to Events
I invite customers to private events as my guests. Also, when I am traveling, I’ll mention when I’ll be in their area and offer to do something unique. I’m an adventurer, so there will always be something cool to do. – Susan Johnston, New Media Film Festival®
Send Small Gifts of Appreciation
Sending small gifts and tokens of appreciation to clients is always a good idea for building loyalty. People like being recognized. Whether it’s for a birthday, wedding, special occasion or a plain thank you, a little gesture in the mail goes a long way. – Nicole Rodrigues, NRPR Group