Your customers are your business's most important asset. You work day in and day out to solve their problems. And they reward you for your effort by buying your products and services.
But as you go to work for your customers, it can be easy to get in the bad habit of taking them for granted. As you get busy with promotional plans, meetings, hiring and managing talent, and endless budget updates, you can lose the connection with the people who you are doing it all for.
If you let that go on for too long, you leave an opening for another business to come along and grab their attention. No bueno.
Here's are seven ways to show your customers you care, so you can deepen the bond you have with each other over the long-term.
1. Make a big deal out of special occasions.
You can find almost any reason to celebrate. Holidays like a new year or Valentine's Day, birthdays, service anniversaries, completing specific milestones, or surviving a random Tuesday are all reasons to send some love your customers' way.
You could do that with a gift, a pop-up party, or even a heartfelt video that elevates the moment for your customer in a way they won't soon forget.
2. Express your appreciation.
Most customer appreciation days are disguised in the form of a discount, where a company really has the people they are appreciating spending more money with them. Ugh. That's like getting your significant other a new casserole dish for their birthday, so they can whip up a batch of that lasagna you love.
Instead, think of a no strings attached way to express your gratitude, such as holding a VIP reception for them, giving them samples or free product, or even sending them a hand-written personal note.
3. Stay in touch.
The simple act of talking to your customers on a regular basis can work wonders in letting them know you value the relationship. That could be done by sending "thinking of you" notes, calling them regularly to check in, or even through sending emails each week with helpful information on how to solve the problem they come to you for.
4. Make common inconveniences more convenient.
In your business, there may be times when even despite your best efforts, some aspects of the process of delivering products and services to your customers are less than ideal. But thoughtfulness can go a long way in showing your customers how much you care.
I loathe having to remove my shoes when going through airport security, especially if I'm not wearing socks. Tampa International Airport wasn't able to change the security rules, but I was delighted during those times when they provided disposable paper shoes that let travelers comply with the regulations, without having to walk barefoot on the dirty airport floor.
5. Make your customers the star.
A great way to reconnect with your customers is to turn the spotlight on them. Make them the hero by sharing their stories of triumph. In the last few marketing campaigns I ran at my old corporate job, we featured our customers as the models for our photo shoots, and as the talent in our training and promotional videos.
Seeing the excitement and pride on their faces throughout the process was priceless.
You could do this simply by featuring your customers' stories in case studies on your blog, featuring cool work they're doing on your podcast, or including photos or social media posts of theirs within your own feed.
6. Add some sizzle to the mundane.
Give your customers an unexpected surprise by making a normal forgettable experience, one your customers will want to tell all their friends about.
The W Hotel in Westwood did that for me. They had cameras in the elevators that acted as your own personal photo booth. As you road up and down, it'd snap photos of you and show them on one of the elevator walls. Every time I'd get on one of the elevators I couldn't resist serving up my best pose.
7. Empower your team to delight on the spot.
A few years back, a cashier at Whole Foods asked me "if I found everything ok," as she rung up my groceries. I casually mentioned I'd had to scrounge for spinach in the salad bar because they'd run out in the produce section.
She apologized that I had to go through such trouble to find what I needed, and gave me the spinach for free on the spot. I later found out every Whole Foods employee has a weekly discretionary budget to fix customer issues and make their day better. Empowering your team to look for ways to brighten your customers' day as they see fit will demonstrate you care.