Entrepreneurs realize their companies won't succeed if their top clients take their business elsewhere. Therefore, management teams need to keep their most important partners engaged and ensure they are pleased with the services they receive. However, it's not enough for companies to merely thank those who make regular purchases. Rather, they should take the initiative to show clients they are appreciated and their business does not go unnoticed.
Demonstrating client appreciation does more than allow entrepreneurs to strengthen their relationships with clients - it also serves as a business builder. Companies are eager to work with organizations that treat loyal clients well, meaning they may make the switch to a new company if it regularly takes the initiative to say 'thank you'.
Ask for Feedback
Everyone thinks their opinions are important, and purchasers may have excellent insights an entrepreneur may have not considered in the past. Asking clients what they think their providers should be doing to make services more efficient is a way for companies to get valuable input and show they are willing to make adjustments to benefit key accounts. This tells clients their purchases are so appreciated that a company is willing to go out of its way to offer new services or change its strategies.
But it's not enough for business owners to merely call up or request a meeting to find out how they can better serve clients. They should seriously consider acting upon the valuable feedback they receive, as it can provide useful insight from a perspective an entrepreneur may never have considered. Once a company has made big changes - or even minor adjustments - clients will take notice and recognize that an organization has gone out of its way to better serve them.
Everyone likes a discount or free item - offering loyal clients a coupon or special savings can serve to further a brand's reputation in the minds of long-time purchasers. With the economy still uncertain, additional discounts are even more appreciated and can generate even more positive feelings toward a business. However, clients shouldn't assume the savings they receive are available to everyone; rather, an entrepreneur should take the time to note the discount is only for those who have worked with a company for several years.
Today's economic environment makes clients even more appreciative when they receive discounts, but it can also make it more difficult for entrepreneurs to provide them. Some companies may be unable to justify handing out large savings, particularly if they've experienced setbacks in recent years. It may be more affordable for these organizations to send out branded gifts - especially if they already have them in stock - as a token of client appreciation.
Retain an Element of Surprise
Many businesses send out gifts or offer discounts during the holiday season, and while an entrepreneur may want to take part in the festivities, he or she should keep in mind it's possible the meaning behind the message could be lost in the crush of mail clients receive during these months. As such, it's important for business owners to take the initiative to show client appreciation throughout the year.
Receiving a discount or acknowledgement of a purchase may be more memorable in the middle of summer than the holiday season. Sending thank-you notes or coupons when they are least expected allows an entrepreneur's appreciation of his or her clients to stand out. The move can also put a business at the top of a buyer's mind the next time they need a product or service.
Make a Public Announcement
Most companies are eager for free publicity and love the chance to connect with new prospects, and an entrepreneur can show their appreciation for a client's business by providing them with this opportunity. Publicly thanking an organization for its years of business on a social media page or a company's own website can help it publicize its name and find new leads. But it also indicates an entrepreneur is so happy with the partnership he or she is willing to publicize the relationship and even recommend a client's services to other partners.
Personalize the Thank-You Note
Many entrepreneurs send client appreciation notes, thanking them for their continued business, but spending a little extra time on these letters may be beneficial. A note detailing why a client's purchases mean so much to an entrepreneur's enterprise or how the partnership has helped a company grow are always thoughtful and show a business owner is truly appreciative.
Taking the initiative to handwrite these notes may seem time consuming, but it's a small gesture that carries plenty of meaning. Handwritten thank-you letters indicate a company leader isn't relying on a prewritten template and has taken the time to draft a note detailing his or her experiences with a specific client. This makes the acknowledgement more personal and can make a client feel even more appreciated.