6 Ways to Show Gratitude to Your Clients that Cost Next to Nothing
December 22nd 2021
It’s customary in many industries for companies to give their customers gifts of some kind during the holiday season. For example, beauty salons often give clients small samples of beauty products in appreciation for their business. Accounting firms sometimes mail out annual calendars for the coming year. Salespeople have been known to hand out jars full of candy, which they commit to refilling during the next year. And many firms mail out holiday greetings to let their best customers know their business is appreciated.
These are all great ideas and customers certainly appreciate signs that they are valued, but don’t feel that you need to spend lots of money to express your gratitude. Especially in business-to-business (B2B) relationships, there are many ways you can show appreciation today that won’t cost a dime, but that can reap rewards for your client that can be worth more than a gift basket or nice bottle of wine.
Leave a 5-star review
Leaving a 5-star review on Yelp, Google, Amazon, or wherever your client or supplier is visible can provide a boost to their business. Since many potential customers turn to online reviews for a sense of whether a company is reputable, the addition of a 5-star review may ultimately help sway a potential customer their way.
For example, adding a 5-star review to a book on Amazon can help the author attract more attention and potentially sell more copies. The same with the caterer whose website you just redesigned, or the payroll provider your company uses. They would love to see a positive review on Yelp or Google.
Not only does a positive review like that help with Google search rankings, it also adds credibility and legitimacy to a business. Positive reviews are like gold, and they cost you nothing to provide.
Give them a shout-out on social media
Another way to show appreciation is to share a post on social media dedicated to saying nice things about a client or supplier.
You could take a photo of a product or memorable experience you had or witnessed, for example. Post it to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or Twitter, to spread the word that you were completely delighted with what your client provided in the way of goods or services.
Or create a post and mention how great the business is, and that you’re a fan. It can be as easy as that.
Refer them business
Of course, nothing beats sending other businesses new clients.
Whenever you spot an opportunity to refer clients to other clients, you demonstrate the value of doing business with you and your company. Some companies go so far as to create a list of recommended partners. For example, real estate agents keep lists of their go-to home stagers, gardeners, electricians, and inspectors, which they routinely share with potential clients. Commercial printers have lists of designers, copywriters, illustrators, and photographers they like working with.
Create your own list of preferred partners.
Enter an awards program
Ask for your client’s permission to enter your work together into an awards program or competition. Not only does this demonstrate how happy you are with the end result, but it creates an opportunity for the client to be recognized as well.
A graphic designer, for example, could enter a logo or brochure design into a marketing communications awards program. A public relations (PR) firm could enter a publicity campaign into a PR competition. And a painting or landscape contractor could enter photos of client buildings or grounds into programs that recognize top work in their industry.
Whether you win or not isn’t as important as demonstrating to your clients that you’re proud of the work you did, and signaling that they should be, too.
Send a personal note
Our heavy reliance on electronic communications means that snail mail is unexpected. Take a minute to handwrite a personal note of thanks, mentioning specific details of your work together with your client that you enjoyed or appreciated.
For example, if you’re a career coach, you could thank a client for the opportunity to assist them in finding a new career opportunity and for the chance to be part of their journey. If you’re a retailer, you could thank your clients for continuing to patronize your company during a pandemic year. Tell them you’re looking forward to serving them in the New Year as well.
The note doesn’t have to be more than a few sentences, but because no one else is sending out handwritten notes, yours will be noticed and appreciated. And all it costs is a first-class stamp.
Provide a complimentary service
If your business provides a range of products or services, consider giving away something small as a token of appreciation.
Although products cost cash, services will generally only cost your time, depending on what you provide. For example, photographers could send out a free print of a shot the client didn’t select as part of their photography package, as a holiday thank-you. Housecleaning services could clean an extra room in the house, or do a deep clean of the refrigerator at no extra charge during the holidays. And auto mechanics could top off all the fluids and check and fill the air in all the tires on client cars.
These extra steps don’t have to take a lot of time or cost much money, but going beyond what’s expected to express appreciation to your clients will be memorable.