Appreciate those who give you money
Depending on your generation, the words ‘Thank you” may or may not be part of your regular language.
Sadly, with the advent of the digital age, these simple words, or the actions that reflect their meaning, have disappeared from our day to day habits. Very few people appreciate anything.
Even worse, the words, and appreciation, have disappeared from our business life.
What is ‘Thank You’?
It’s appreciation. A recognition that someone else understands you and wants to recognize the part you play in their life. They are grateful. Thankful.
Why be thankful?
Ask a random group of employees who writes their paycheck and the answer, 99% of the time, will be ‘someone in HR’ or accounting or payroll. But reality is much different.
Everyone in a company is paid by the customers! Without customers, there would be no paychecks, no company, and no job. Yet, companies, through their employees and systems, show little respect for this relationship. Employees feel put out for just having to work- what’s to appreciate?- and customers feel this.
Have you ever been in a store where employees are joking and laughing with each other, even on the phone, while taking money from a customer or client?
Customers and clients know when they have been disrespected and vote with their feet. You may never see them a second time. And unhappy customers will gladly relate their story to 27 of their friends. How will that help sales?
Why have an Appreciation System?
The best reason is because you truly appreciate customers and clients. But the second reason is just as powerful, even if not as morally upstanding- money. Clients who feel appreciated stay with you longer, spend more, and refer your business more often. All that translates directly to the bottom line.
How important are customers and clients to you?
The more you are a commodity, the less appreciation is expected. Gas stations show little appreciation and customers don’t really expect it. That why there is so little loyalty. If you competitor drops their price a few cents, your customers stop coming.
The bigger the average transaction value, however, the more customers and clients want to be recognized. Someone buying a Lamborghini has a different expectation from someone buying a KIA. A client buying a new 30’ boat has different expectations than a canoe buyers at Sears®. But each deserves, and will reward with loyalty, sign of appreciation.
When a client is surprised by appreciation, you have gained loyalty and trust. Today, this has become simple. Very few people ever expect appreciation any more. They have become hardened to the poor service that marks most business interactions. When they are surprised by appreciation, loyalty, trust and ‘word of mouth’ follow quickly. Don’t believe me? Try it!
Want more loyalty and trust?
Customers who are appreciated feel better, are more loyal, and actually more forgiving when an issue does arrive. Read that again. Instead of screaming, yelling, and writing negative reviews all over social media, people who have been shown appreciation are more liable to give you and the company the benefit of the doubt when there is a problem. How cool is that?
This is one reason a system of appreciation needs to be in place, not just a one-off ‘Thank You’.
How do you show appreciation?
It starts during the sales process. Depending on the method (in person, online, brick and mortar, service, etc) it should be part of the service. An appreciative employee with a handful of excellent scripts can be more powerful than a 50% off sale.
Ever shop at Zappos®? They are known for their customer service and appreciating their customers. It shows up with hassle free shopping, simple returns, and no grief when you call in with a concern, problem or question. They are so oriented (and empowered) to help, that a caller into their system had misdialed- but that didn’t stop the rep. The customer thought they were calling a pizza delivery. The Zappos rep took all the information, called the pizza place and ordered!
Appreciation follows after the sale. A personalized Thank You card is a simple, low cost, high impact, method to start. Not good at writing? Have a professional write 10 different Thank you notes you can copy. (Hint: Never start with “Thank you for…” and NEVER include a business card.)
Is it expensive to have an appreciation system?
It is an expense, but substantially cheaper than the marketing cost of acquiring a new client. And the Client Lifetime Value of an appreciated customer is much higher. Why? They will stay with you longer and buy more and more often than someone who is not appreciated.
How long should an appreciation system last?
Think of it as a relationship. Use a personal relationship as an example. If you plan on being in a long term relationship, how long should you show appreciation? A month? A year? If you want the relationship to become strong, here is some advice: you need to appreciate your partner. Very few people married for 30 years says ‘I stayed but I don’t feel appreciated’.
How do I implement an Appreciation System?
To make a system, you have to have steps that you take consistently.
Start by inventorying any goodies you might have. Written a book? A White Paper? Been a speaker? Have a video? Is there a small gift that would make people smile and want to return? Any of these might make a wonderful appreciation.
Don’t have anything like that? Start with simple Thank You cards that are hand sign/address/stamp. Good ones cost less than a buck and total cost, including mail, is less than $2.
How does appreciation lead to raving customers and clients?
So few people appreciate anything or anyone in today’s busy world. It almost seems a power play to ignore those who make our life easier. Imagine what our world would be without garbage collectors, bathroom cleaners at the airport, all the minimum wage workers whose work allows us to have coffee and a doughnut!
Companies, whose very existence requires my money, are even worse. So you are in a position to show ‘Surprise Appreciation’ every time someone shops. New customers will be surprised. Repeat customers will notice it’s a real attitude, not a one-time event.
You know that warm feeling you get when someone truly appreciates your work, skill, effort or attitude? That is the gift you give customers/clients when you show appreciation.
Have you ever been to Disneyland? The entire ‘cast’ (not employees) go out of their way to make it an experience to remember. Visitors return home to tell all their friends and neighbors. They become raving fans because they were appreciated and felt good.
You can tap into this same effect no matter what product or service you offer, whether online or offline, brick and mortar or not.
If your business wants to go viral, even on a local level, start working appreciation into every part of your sales process. Customers get so little positive feedback from anyone that you will become a local legend that will force people to tell others. And that will go directly to the bottom line.
Have more questions about Appreciation Systems or Marketing in general? Here are two resources you may find useful:
A great list of easy to understand marketing topics. More each week, too. If you don’t have a marketing degree, this is the next best thing. And there are no student loans to pay back!
- Would you like a free, 1 on 1 conversation with Mark? Every Friday, Mark has appointments to talk problems, trade ideas, and offer motivation and specific solutions to people in business just like you. It’s not a sales pitch, it’s part of a ‘Pay It Forward’ that Mark does to appreciate all those who made him the success he is today. You can sign up for a 50 minute phone call here:
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