Odds are, you say “thank you” to people you encounter throughout your day, every day. Whether it’s an acknowledgement to someone for holding the door, or getting mail delivered by an in-office colleague or your postal carrier, it’s almost an automatic reaction. Think about it, though. When was the last time, you showed some real appreciation to your customers?
Showing appreciation to your clients should be a part of your marketing strategy. When your customers can feel your gratitude, it makes them feel like they are more than a number or a commission check.
Below are some suggestions on how you might show appreciation to your customers. I’m focusing on Southern California and Nevada for this month’s post, but watch for some ideas for Northern California in a similar post next month. Don’t stop reading though; some of these following suggestions are not region-specific, so they are worth considering wherever you do business.
Let’s start with an inexpensive idea: handwritten notes. A written message expressing your appreciation for your client’s recent renewal or request for quote can go a long way in nurturing a positive relationship with customers. Check out Broker Pop for available templates.
Deliver a birthday reward: Everyone has a birthday. Having it acknowledged by other than a spouse, co-workers, or a best friend is usually unexpected – and super-appreciated. Consider a handwritten card or note – or delivery, in-person of a gift. (It’s more meaningful if you are able to drop off or deliver the gift personally, as compared to using Amazon, Edible Arrangements, Harry & David, or a similar retailer for delivery.)
This is your opportunity to show your clients how well you know them. Consider a gift basket with wine, cheese, crackers, and the latest recording from your customer’s favorite artist. (Check out the best of 2021 recordings in this Rolling Stone list, or the latest releases in 2022 at Metacritic and Wikipedia.)
Or, if you don’t want to put together your own gift basket, you can always look for one at Costco or order one from DeLallo Gourmet Italian Foods, Wolferman’s, Julienne (San Marino), Tahoe Gifting Company (Incline Village, NV), or Harvest Meadow (Las Vegas). Try to find out in advance if your customers have any food-related allergies, so you give a gift they are sure to enjoy.
Experiences: Sports fans may appreciate tickets to see an LA Dodger, Los Angeles Angels, Las Vegas Aviator, or Reno Aces game. If that’s not in your budget, consider college sporting event tickets from UNLV, Nevada Wolf Pack (Reno), Cal State LA, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, Cal State Fullerton, Chapman University, USC, Loyola Marymount University, your alma mater, or another favorite school.
Comedy club or music venue tickets might be a welcome gift, too – and something your client might not buy on his/her/their own. Think Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, House of Blues (in multiple cities), Pacific Amphitheatre (OC), Hollywood Bowl, Laugh Factory or The Improv (multiple cities), The Groundlings, Ice House (Pasadena), or similar venues.
Don’t overlook the opportunity to save by buying directly through the club or through online sources like Goldstar (offering tickets in LA and Las Vegas) as well as Groupon. If you buy a package that includes multiple dates, you can split the gifts among several different clients.
There are many wineries across California that offer tours and tastings. Your oenophile clients will appreciate winery reservations or your gift of a wine or cooking class. If those are outside your budget, a bottle of a wine rated 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator is a definite winner.
Recognize clients as your “customer of the day”: You can give a shout-out to your clients via social media – offering a public thank you and helping drive traffic to their business website or storefront, if appropriate. Talk with your clients about whether they would be open to such recognition, or if they would prefer to remain unrecognized, at least publicly. This acknowledgement may not be appropriate for all of your business clients, and it could pose a risk if your competitors now know your customers – and decide to pursue them.
Make a thank-you video: I know, you’re thinking, “I’m not a videographer.” That’s okay. It’s never been easier to create a quality video using your cell phone. Whether you’re an iPhone or Android enthusiast, talk with your team about their ideas on putting together a thank you video expressing gratitude to your customers.
Take your client to lunch: Everyone has to eat. Why not pick up the tab on lunch at a place near your client’s place of work? It doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t even have to go out; you can bring in lunch from Panera, Corner Bakery, Subway, Jersey Mike’s, Firehouse Subs, or a local favorite. If your client says lunch is not an option, take a break and invite them to share coffee, tea, juice (orange or pomegranate), kombucha, kefir, Fuji® Natural Artesian Water, or another beverage. What’s important is sharing some time and connecting with them on a more personal level.
Share a local favorite: If you live in an area with a local food favorite, consider a dozen (or more) breakfast items from My Favorite Muffin, Truckee Bagel Company, or Desert Sun Bagel in Reno; Siegel’s Bagelmania, New York Bagel and Bakery, and The Bagel Café (in Las Vegas); Dough Exchange, Bagel Bistro, or Bagel Me (OC); Bagel Broker, Courage Bagels, Bagel Exchange, Hank’s (a Deli of Sorts), or Belle’s Bagels (all in LA County); or Spudnuts & Bagels, Bagel Café, and Honey B in Santa Barbara.
Chocolates are a good alternative for those without allergies (to nuts or chocolate). Consider places like See’s Candies (70+ stores in Nevada and Central and Southern California); Mignon (Pasadena and Glendale); Delon Chocolatier (Burbank); Mirelli Chocolatier (Glendale); Bean and Butter (Pasadena); Royce Chocolate (Arcadia); ChocoVivo, LetterPress Chocolate, and Milla Chocolates (all LA); Edelweiss Chocolates and Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland (both Beverly Hills); KC Chocolatier (Santa Monica); Chocolate Maya, Twenty-Four Blackbirds Chocolates, and Chocolats du Calibressan (all Santa Barbara); Sierra Nevada Chocolate, Tandem Chocolates, Bouchee Confections, and Kimmie Candy (all Reno); and Ethel M. Chocolates, Jean-Marie Auboine Chocolatier, and ROYCE (all Las Vegas).
Other food options include items from Trader Joe’s (40+ locations in Central and Southern California and Nevada); fruits and vegetables from Tri-County Produce (Santa Barbara); a pumpkin or other fruits and veggies from Lane Farms Produce Stand & Patch (Santa Barbara); Frankie’s Fruit Bar (Reno); fruits and other tasty treats from Fruitland Las Vegas, LA Wholesale Produce Market, or Sansoun Produce (East Hollywood). Yasukochi Family Farms, Growers Ranch, South Coast Farms, Smith Farms, Produce World, and TayDo Produce are top vendors in Orange County. Look for others on Yelp!
A late addition: Yes, I have already shared seven ways you can reward, recognize, and show appreciation to your clients. However, another can’t hurt, right? If your client has a favorite charity, consider making a donation on your customer’s behalf. Talk with the charity’s executive director, development manager, or fundraising staff about just how it can be done. You may be able to do it online, or you may want to cut a check and mail it in. You can ask the non-profit to send an acknowledgement to your client, or you can plan some sort of in-person delivery of notice of your generosity. You may also want to promote your gift via social media.
It’s your choice: Whether you go with a no-cost, low-cost, mid-range, or high-end way to express your appreciation, your gesture is certain to be appreciated by your customer because it will likely be unexpected. Embrace an attitude of gratitude. It will help you nurture your relationships, build better client connections, and set you up for smoother renewal and new offering discussions.
Editor’s Note: Neither Word & Brown nor the author is receiving any referral fee or a link credit from any of the businesses mentioned; these are just some ideas you might consider for your clients.