More and more businesses are establishing a “Customer Appreciation Month” to reward patrons for their business. Some of these include providing discounts off of purchases, free desserts or gift wrapping, customer only raffles or reward cards for purchases that can be used to select prizes on a company website.
While the intentions of these programs are great and many customers appreciate these types of offers, I have some other thoughts. I would prefer that frontline associates demonstrate appreciation every day, but with a bit of a twist.
For the most part, customers fall into three groups:
1. Prospective customers in the consideration phase who are just thinking about coming to your hotel, inquiring about your menu at your restaurant or asking for directions to your store.
2. First time customers who are on their first visit.
3. Customers who frequent your business on a regular basis; shopping there out of convenience or due to loyalty.
These days, frontline associates rarely say to any customer, “we really appreciate your business”. While saying the words “thank-you” with meaning are important, actually employing the word “appreciation” can go a long way in conveying that you value a customer’s business, beyond just thanking them for today’s transaction.
For prospective customers…
I would suggest saying something like ”it’s so nice that you are thinking about using our services or eating at our restaurant, we appreciate our customers and hope you will let us demonstrate that.”
For first time patrons…
Tell them how you appreciate their first purchase and let them know that all the company associates value and appreciate their business.
For regular customers…
Conveying appreciation for every sale does not get boring or mundane.
Giving a customer a discount, a free dessert or a month extension on their gym membership is a nice touch and customers do appreciate those gestures. Loyal and repeat customers like to be rewarded. However, those offers coupled with a targeted appreciation program based on customer types, will definitely differentiate your establishment from your competitors.
People understand that when you receive a gift, whether for your birthday, graduation, wedding, etc., it is appropriate to extend appreciation to those who went out their way to recognize the special occasion. Every time a customer purchases from your establishment, it’s a gift. Make sure you thank them sincerely and demonstrate customer appreciation in a thoughtful manner.
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