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Customer Appreciation Programs

Nothing says I care about you more than some gratitude.  I’m a big believer in the importance of written policies and procedures for all aspects of your business. Do you have a Customer Appreciation Policy?  Wondering if you really need one? The statistics are clear and undeniable– you will lose customers/clients if you don’t pay attention to them– up to 65% of contracts are not renewed because the client did not feel valued.  And you know that it is often more expensive to get a client than to maintain one.

People do business with people they know, they like and they trust.  A great way to build a relationship is to make sure that you are visible and interested in your client’s success. As your business grows, it becomes imperative that your team knows how to show appreciation to your customers/clients.

Here are 7 important things to have in your Customer Appreciation policy:

  1. Define the type of client you will target for special appreciation.  Keep in mind that you should reach out to all of your clients on a regular basis.  The policy manual can have different levels of appreciation. Is the selection of who to pay particular attention to based on size?  On revenue generated for your business? On longevity of the relationship?

  2. Types of appreciation. The sky’s the limit on the type of appreciation you can show:  gift cards, handwritten notes, invitation to meals, recognition on social media. How about nominating your client for industry or community awards?

  3. Employee/team responsibility.  Select a point person to be responsible for keeping on top of the types and timing of appreciation.  Decide who will be in charge of outreach. Should the President be the one showing the appreciation? The sales team?  The contract officer? It’s important to maintain/match business hierarchies but don’t forget the relationship structures and the importance of peer associations and affinities.

  4. Customer Appreciation spending policy.  Consider establishing an employee/contract officer discretionary fund.  Give the person who has the most contact with the client a pre-approved spending limit for meals, gifts and gift cards.

  5. Appreciation logistics:  beyond how you will show appreciation is the importance of public vs. private recognition.  Consider regularly showing appreciation for your clients/customers on their social media platforms.  Make it a point to like their facebook posts, comment on and share their LinkedIn articles and blogs.

  6. Asking for feedback is important to maintaining open lines of communication and that in turn is key to relationship building.  Contemplate the use of surveys, focus groups, round table meetings. Your clients/customers will more readily participate if they clearly understand that their feedback will be appreciated and more importantly used to improve your services.

  7. Addressing mistakes.  Your Customer Appreciation Policy Manual must include a section on what to do about mistakes.  It should be very clear and your team should understand the importance of addressing mistakes immediately and honestly.

There are lots of resources available and different ways you can show appreciation to your customers.  But first things first: Are gratitude and appreciation part of your company culture? Consistency, attention and intention are key to the success of your efforts.

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Check out this Customer Appreciation Policy Worksheet.

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Nancy Allen

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G. Nancy Allen is an international speaker, coach, consultant and expert on women’s business issues. Nancy has over 30 years of experience helping small business owners at all stages of growth. As President and CEO of WBDC Florida/Her Company Incorporated, Nancy manages and leads an incredible team of staff, sponsors, partners and women business leaders who are dedicated to certifying, connecting and championing women in business. Nancy has been recognized for her work on behalf of women in business through numerous prestigious awards: -Nancy was recently honored by the International Career and Business Alliance (ICABA) as one of South Florida’s 100 most accomplished Caribbean Americans. She is especially proud of this award because it highlights her heritage as well as her professional accomplishments. -Nancy is the recipient of the World Women Leadership Achievement Award from the World Women Leadership Congress -Nancy is also the proud recipient of the Association Marketing Award from Women in ECommerce. -Most recently Nancy was named Honorary Ambassador of Cascais, Portugal by the Ambassador’s Club of the Industry Sector of Cascais and the Estoril Coast. Nancy’s personal motto is Connections, Creativity and Courage in all endeavors. She holds a Master’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS, 1982). She was born in Haiti and raised in South Florida. Nancy is bi-lingual in English and French and is fluent in Spanish and Creole.




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